Antholz 2020: The Mass Starts!

Well the women’s mass start was definitely worth waiting for! What a race to end the World Championships on the women’s side.

It started well for a lot of biathletes with 16 going clear on the first prone. Those who didn’t included Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Dorothea Wierer and Denise Herrmann!

It was Katherina Innerhofer who would lead out of the second prone with another perfect shoot along with Julia Simon. Monika Hojnisz- Starega was third with Wierer and Herrmann up to 4th and 5th after hitting 5/5. Roeiseland missed another target to fall to 22nd.

At the first stand it was Simon who shot the best getting all 5 targets down. Innerhofer missed 3 to put her out of contention, Wierer missed one but Hanna Oeberg hit all 5 to move into second place behind Simon. Behind them Roeiseland cleaned to move herself back up the field.

The final shoot was crucial as usual but not defining this time! The front three all missed! Wierer with one and Simon and Oeberg missing 2. That left Wierer out in front heading to the final lap. Roeiseland meantime cleaned again and found herself in second place 14 seconds behind Wierer.

Oeberg, Hojnisz-Starega and Simon all headed to the final lap together to fight for the bronze. Roeiseland put in a stunning final lap to catch and pass Wierer to take her 5th gold medal and 7th medal of the championships. Both were tired but Roeiseland just had a little extra in her legs. She made history by becomong the first woman to win seven medals at the same World Championship with her 5 gold and 2 bronze medals! Amazing!

Wierer took the silver and it was Oeberg who was the strongest of the others taking the bronze. It was redemption for Oeberg after finishing 4th several times and having a tough time in the women’s relay.

Hojnisz-Starega was 4th, Simon 5th and Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht 6th.

The men’s race was not as exciting as a finale but there was some great biathlon on show. It was a cat and mouse first loop with the French trio of Martin Fourcade, Emilien Jacquelin and Quentin Fillon Maillet taking the lead and trying to put pressure on Johannes Boe.

It didn’t work as all three missed a shot! It was Jakov Fak who left the range in the lead with Simon Desthieux and Benedikt Doll following. Boe hit all five and soon took over the lead on the tracks bringing his brother Tarjei and Johannes Dale with him.

All three Norwegians cleaned and behind them so did Jacquelin, Fillon Maillet and Desthieux. At the first standing shoot it was only Johannes and Desthieux who hit all 5. That left Boe with a nice lead followed by the fast skiing Fillon Maillet.

It was to be a perfect day for Johannes hitting all 5 again in the final shoot to cruise home for the gold medal! As the only man with 20/20 he was unbeatable. Fillon Maillet missed 1 but was comfortable in second. It was for bronze that we got the battle. Jacquelin cleaned his final shoot but Tarjei Boe took a penalty which meant he came off the loop just 7 seconds behind.

It was a tough final loop for Tarjei who caught and passed Jacquelin but he couldn’t hold on and was passed by the Frenchman before the finish line.

Desthieux finished 5th and Felix Leitner in 6th.

That concludes the World Championships in Antholz for 2020 and it has been a great event. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was spectacular and Dorothea Wierer fulfilled her dreams here too. For the men Johannes Boe became the first man to win 6 medals at the same Worlds and Martin Fourcade now has gold in each discipline after France finally won the relay!

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