A course 1700 meters above sea level with blistering cross winds was not enough to stop Norwegian biathlete Johannes Thingnes Boe. Boe would not be denied by the competition during his final race of the 2022 Winter Olympics, winning the 15km mass start gold with ease with a time of 35:44.4. He’ll walk away from the Games with four gold medals from the mixed relay, men’s relay, 10km sprint and 15km mass start. Boe has seven first-place World Cup finishes in the mass start event since the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and has been ranked first overall for the past three seasons.
His win in the mass start marked Norway’s 15th gold medal at the 2022 Games, the most gold medals a nation has ever won at a single Winter Olympics.
It was a successful Norwegian group effort in the 15km mass start with three of their athletes placing in the top six. However, none of them was Thingnes Boe’s older brother, Tarjei Boe. He finished the race in 12th, 2:47.4 behind his brother and was not able to add another medal to the bronze he earned in the 10km sprint.
France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet also missed the podium after making the top three in each event he competed in at the 2022 Games. He was in pursuit of his sixth medal at these Olympics and was on track to become the first athlete to win six medals at a single Winter Games. Maillet missed three targets in the last shooting stage and it cost him a podium finish ... and the record.
He was edged out by Norway’s Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen by 13.1 seconds. Christiansen finished the race 1:12.5 behind Boe and won bronze. Trying to make up for lost time on the course, Maillet ate into Christiansen’s time with two seconds for every kilometer, but ran out of snow before he could catch him. He crossed the line composed and full of comradery as he skied over to congratulate his competitor with a high five as Boe won the fifth Olympic gold medal of his career.
Maillet won three silver medals in the mixed relay, men’s relay and 10km sprint. He also won two golds in the pursuit and 20km individual.
Out of the top three, Martin Ponsiluoma of Sweden shot the most consistently. He only missed a total of two targets to claim his first silver medal, crossing the line at 38:54.7. Ponsiluoma missed one in the first prone stage and one in the final standing stage to secure second, utilizing the V1 stride technique up gradients that weeded out threats.
As “JT” Boe came into the stadium, he looked over his shoulder and did not see Ponsiluoma in his sights. Boe capped off the 2022 Winter Olympics biathlon program how he started it: winning gold.
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