Biathlon preview: Boe hungry for second individual gold in 15km mass start

Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway at the shooting range during the men´s biathlon relay

Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway at the shooting range during the men´s biathlon relay

“Redemption” and Johannes Thingnes Boe typically don’t go in the same sentence.

However, after the Norweigian’s 12km pursuit did not go according to plan with a fifth place finish, “redemption” was the only thing on his mind. With a whopping seven missed targets, Boe said it was a “tough race on the track” and it felt like a “big fight.”

“I lost two bullets out and saw the podium fly away. I started to think about the relay right after.”

Boe rallied to make a comeback in the men’s 4×7.5km relay and clinched team gold alongside Sturla Holm Laegreid, Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen and older brother Tarjei Boe. The team gold eased the pain of his fifth place finish in the pursuit, but he remained unfulfilled without another individual gold medal. He won individual gold in the 10km sprint ahead of France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet and Tarjei Boe.

As the World Cup’s top ranked biathlete since 2018, “JT” Boe was a favorite coming into the 2022 Winter Olympics. He is ranked first in the men’s sprint and second in the mass start. Whether or not his World Cup rankings will hold true for his performance in the mass start, his commanding presence as an incredibly fast skier makes him a threat in any race.

The 15km mass start begins with all athletes starting at the same time. 30 of the strongest athletes take part in the mass start. To take a spot in the mass start, athletes either have to be medalists from the individual, sprint or pursuit races or part of the top 15 biathletes from the overall World Cup rankings. The remaining sports go to athletes based on their scores from previous events they’ve competed in at the 2022 Games.

Biathletes will shoot two prone and two standing stages all with five targets. For every miss, they must ski a lap of the 150m penalty loop.

SEE MORE: Biathlon 101: Competition format

France’s top biathlete Maillet will enter the range as one of the top shooters of the competition. He won gold in the men’s 20km individual, missing two shots out of 20. Maillet won his second gold medal in the 12.5km pursuit where he shot clean. The Frenchman and Boe have met each other on the podium four times out of five. If anyone is to withhold Boe from another gold medal, it’s Maillet.

The 15km mass start is the last event in the men’s biathlon program at the 2022 Winter Olympics and starts on Feb. 18 at 4:00 a.m. ET.

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