In your face all other Winter Olympic Sports! The Men’s Mass Start today once again showed why biathlon is the best sport ever! It was an exciting race from start to finish – and WOW what a finish!
Martin Fourcade must have had a horrible sense of deja vu from the same race in Sochi 4 years ago. He was in the lead in that race too and was beaten on the line by millimetres by Emil Svendsen. Today in PyeongChang it was Simon Schemmp who sprinted with Fourcade to the line. This time however Fourcade snatched the gold medal by a toenail!
It all started off pretty calmly with an easy first lap for everyone. At the first shooting Fourcade missed one and Johannes Boe missed three throwing the race wide open.
It was Korea who took the lead after the first prone with Timofey Lapshin leaving the range first getting a cheer from the home crowd. His lead didn’t last long though as clean shooting from 14 of the biathletes left a big group at the front.
At the second prone it was Benedikt Doll who shot fast and clean to take the lead. He was followed by teammates Erik Lesser and Simon Schempp. Fourcade had already made up for his penalty loop and was back up beside the leaders.
At the third shoot Schempp, Lesser and Fourcade cleaned and were locked together all the way to the final shoot. The nerves were apparent as Lesser missed 2 and Fourcade and Schempp both missed 1. They came out of the penalty loop together and it would be a ski race for glory.
Behind them Svendsen cleaned and he was joined by Doll and Lesser to fight it out for bronze.
Schempp stuck with Fourcade all the way to the line. They both lunged at the end but it Fourcade who just got it. If Schemmp had started sprinting a little earlier it could have been different but Fourcade was not going to let history repeat itself and lose another gold medal by such a tiny margin.
The bronze went to Svendsen who proved stronger than the two Germans. He is a master of the Mass Start and it was great to see him on the podium for what will very likely be his last Olympics.
Lesser was 4th, Doll 5th and Julian Eberhard came home 6th. No one shot 20/20 today but Jesper Nelin got his personal best in 9th hitting 18/20.
Today’s race was a fantastic advert for biathlon. It was amazing! The men now have the Mixed Relay and the Men’s Relay left to race.
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