Norway lead the medal table with two golds, a silver and a bronze.
After early qualifying for some events took place on Thursday, and a spectacular
opening ceremony on Friday,
the first five gold medals of the Games were up for grabs on Saturday.
Bjoerndalen finished ahead of Austria's Dominik Landertinger and Czech biathlete Jaroslav Soukup to claim the seventh Olympic gold medal of his career.
"This victory has been a four-year job and it has been many years since I won (an individual gold medal), but life is too short to give up," said Bjoerndalen.
"I think this is one of my most important victories."
The Norwegian will get the chance to break Daehlie's record in the men's pursuit on Monday, but he played down comparisons between the pair.
"It's difficult to compare us at this time because Bjorn was some years ago and now we have a lot more disciplines," he said.
Bjoerndalen equals Olympic record
"Bjorn did not have as many chances to win, so for me Bjorn is and always will be the biggest athlete ever in Norway."
Frenchman Martin Fourcade, the 2012 sprint world champion and 2013 silver medallist, came sixth, while Norwegian Emil Hegle Svendsen, the reigning world champion, finished ninth. Britain's Lee Jackson was back in 67th place.
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