France’s Martin Fourcade displayed incredible precision at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre, double hitting the target five times out of five, to retain his title in the men’s biathlon 12.5km pursuit on Monday 12 February at Pyeongchang 2018.
Peiffer, who started the race with a four-second direct, which he at one point extended to nine seconds, missed the goal in his third trip to the shooting selection, while Fourcade’s perfect performance saw him open up a 30-second advantage.
He showed great nerve again in his final shoot, because he did four decades back at the same event, to provide himself an amazing lead.
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Bo, yet another of those favorites alongside Fourcade, finished fourth having began in 31st place, 1 minute and 13 minutes ago.
The eleven-time world champion, who completed the race with a French flag in hand, is the first man in history to defend his title.
Power from disappointment
Fourcade finished a disappointing eighth in the men’s 10km sprint a the former afternoon, and he admits he utilized the anger he felt after his performance to inspire himself this time.
“I can’t explain it.
It’s a profound feeling inside once I manage to turn anger into power, and it is something not simple to do,” explained the French biathlete on his comeback from the sprint.
“You need to be really angry on your own and to blame yourself in ways, and it worked out.
“When you fail you do not wish to fail another time in a row,” he continued.
“It was very painful because I wanted that Olympic gold (the sprint) more than anything else.”
“It was actually a strange feeling – I was not frustrated, I had been frustrated.
Yesterday I didn’t know why I missed three, I wanted his Olympic gold medal in the rush more than any gold medal.
Fourcade made just 1 mistake in the pursuit, missing at the first prone shoot but shooting clean then, including a high-pressure five-shot salvo along with Germany’s Arnd Peiffer that proved crucial.
“I think it was the essential time of this competition, because on the third shoot the end was really tricky and hard, the most difficult shot of today,” that the 29-year-old reflected.
“I took a little more time in my opponent to shoot my initial ammunition, then once I realised that I had shot clean, I knew I was the only one who’d determine who would be the Olympic champion.”
Silver medallist Sebastian Samuelsson had plenty of praise for Fourcade.
“I understood when he finished eighth yesterday, I knew today he would be very fighting for the gold medal.
He’s unbelievably great.”
In third place as the race reached its climax, the 20-year-old made a brave late break against experienced German Benedikt Doll and the bet paid off handsomely.
“He had some yards [on me] following the shooting and that I knew I’d really excellent skis now, so I knew if I could catch him at the top I’d have a fantastic opportunity,” additional Samuelsson.