Eight skiers started in front of Domracheva based on the finish of the biathlon sprint held earlier in these Games and she left the starting line 32 seconds behind sprint winner Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia.
Domracheva missed just one of 20 targets on the shooting range, however, and pulled away during the 10 kilometers of skiing for a dominating 37-second victory over Tora Berger of Norway. Teja Gregorin of Slovenia finished third, 42 seconds behind the winner .
Until Domracheva's victory, the only gold medal for Belarus in the Winter Games had come from Aleksei Grishin in Vancouver four years ago. He won the freestyle skiing aerials event.
Kuzmina won the biathlon sprint for the second straight Olympics, but again she was unable to take advantage of her lead starting position in the pursuit. Kuzmina, who finished second in the pursuit race in Vancouver behind Magdalena Neuner of Germany, could do no better than sixth this time.
Kuzmina missed two targets, causing her to ski an extra 300 meters. Only three of the 59 competitors who began the race could turn in a perfect shooting performance.