Live News

France Shocks Norway to Claim Mixed Relay Gold at Biathlon World Championships

France Shocks Norway to Claim Mixed Relay Gold at Biathlon World Championships

Oberhof, Germany (February 9, 2024): France defied the odds and snatched a thrilling victory in the opening race of the 2024 Biathlon World Championships, overcoming pre-race favorites Norway to capture gold in the 4x6km Mixed Relay.

It was a dramatic day at the DKB Skistadion, with heavy snow showers and swirling winds adding to the drama of a tightly contested race. 25 nations battled it out, and at the third exchange, only 40 seconds separated the top five teams.

Norway, boasting a formidable lineup, seemed destined for gold. However, the final leg brought unexpected twists and turns. France’s Justine Braisaz-Bouchet faltered in the prone shooting, incurring a penalty loop and dropping to fifth place. Germany’s Franziska Preuss seized the opportunity, building a seemingly insurmountable 39-second lead.

But the fickle winds of Oberhof had other plans. In the standing shooting, fortune reversed. Preuss faltered, entering the penalty loop herself. Braisaz-Bouchet, with nerves of steel, cleaned the range flawlessly, reclaiming the lead and setting the stage for a thrilling finish.

On the final anchor leg, Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Bø, a two-time Olympic champion, chased desperately, closing the gap on France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet. The crowd roared as the two biathlon giants battled it out, but Fillon Maillet held his nerve, crossing the finish line a mere 1.1 seconds ahead of Bø to secure France’s historic victory.

“It was an incredible race,” exclaimed Fillon Maillet, visibly overcome with emotion. “Justine kept us in the game, and I knew I had to push to the limit. This gold medal is for the whole team, for France, and for everyone who believed in us.”

Norway’s silver medal, their fourth consecutive podium finish in the Mixed Relay World Championships, felt bittersweet. “We had a good race, but France were just a bit stronger today,” Bø acknowledged. “Congratulations to them, they deserve the win.”

Sweden, led by Hanna Oeberg’s strong performance, claimed the bronze medal, edging out Switzerland by a razor-thin margin of 1.2 seconds.

France’s victory marks a significant achievement, breaking Norway’s dominance in the Mixed Relay. The last time a non-Norwegian team won the World Championship title in this event was in 2010. This win also sets the stage for what promises to be an exciting and unpredictable Biathlon World Championships, with several nations now in contention for the coveted gold medals.

Key Takeaways:

  • France upsets Norway to win Mixed Relay gold in a thrilling finish.
  • Justine Braisaz-Bouchet and Quentin Fillon Maillet deliver stellar performances for France.
  • Norway claims silver, Sweden bronze, Switzerland narrowly misses the podium.
  • France’s victory opens up the competition for the remaining Biathlon World Championship titles.

Additional Notes:

  • The race was held under challenging weather conditions, with heavy snow and strong winds.
  • Several athletes struggled with the shooting, adding to the drama and unpredictability of the race.
  • France’s victory is a major upset and could be a turning point in the sport of biathlon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *