Frenchman Emilien Jacquelin has dominated the men’s 12.5km pursuit as the back-to-back reigning champion of the last two IBU World Championships. He won the men’s 12.5km pursuit for the first time in 2020 in Antholz, Itay, and has not given up the top spot since. This year's Winter Olympics will be Jacquelin’s second time competing at the Games; he was the youngest French male biathlete to compete in 2018 at 22.
Jacquelin has become the most successful biathlete at the past two World Championships, and beat Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe by 0.4 seconds to win his first World Championship title in Antholz. He was able to find success and accomplish the major feat against one of the best athletes in the world after practicing with his idol and French teammate Martin Fourcade.
In the pursuit discipline, athletes start based on the order they finish in during the sprint event. Jacquelin has never ranked first in the sprint, but makes up for time on the course with his confident skiing abilities. His best performance in the men’s 10km sprint was when he placed third at the 2021 World Championships in Pokljuka, Slovenia. Jacquelin is a conservative, yet extremely accurate shooter and skis with a high tempo to put pressure on other athletes on the course. He has 90% accuracy in the standing shooting stage.
Prior to the 12.5km pursuit, Jacquelin finished a disappointing 72nd in the men’s 20km individual event on Tuesday and has not yet earned an individual Olympic medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics. He was able to make a statement in the mixed 4x6km relay on an experienced French team of Anais Chevalier-Bouchet, Julia Simon, and Quentin Fillon Maillet. They went on to win silver in the event behind Norway.
Jacquelin looks to clinch his first Olympic individual medal in the men's 12.5km pursuit. The event takes place on Feb. 12 at 5:45 a.m. ET after the women's 10km pursuit at 4:00 a.m. ET.