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Anastasia Kuzmina, biathlon gold medalist at three Olympics, ends retirement

Biathlon - Winter Olympics Day 8

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 17: Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia celebrates winning the gold medal during the Women’s 12.5km Mass Start Biathlon on day eight of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Biathlon Centre on February 17, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

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Slovakian Anastasia Kuzmina, the only woman to win biathlon gold at three different Olympics, announced she is ending a four-plus-year retirement at age 39.

Kuzmina said her first competition back will be January’s European Championships, according to the International Biathlon Union (IBU). Slovakia hosts the championships in Osrblie.

“I have no idea what results I could achieve there, but I’m not just coming back to greet the fans,” Kuzmina said at a Tuesday press conference, according to the IBU. “It will be very, very difficult because I would like to bring joy to the people again and not disappoint them.”

Kuzmina, a mother of two, last competed in March 2019, ending that World Cup season with a circuit-leading five victories, plus winning her first world title.

At the Olympics, she won the sprint in 2010 and 2014 and the mass start in 2018 to become the first woman to win biathlon gold at three different Games.

Come the 2026 Winter Games, she will be more than two years older than any previous female Olympic biathlete, according to

Kuzmina was born in Russia and represented that country until being dropped from its World Cup roster in 2007.

She then married an Israeli-born former biathlete who had relocated to Slovakia. After having a son, she returned to biathlon in 2008 competing for Slovakia.

NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.