The men’s 4x7.5km relay came down to the accuracy of the biathletes in the shooting range. Norway’s team of Sturla Holm Laegreid, Tarjei Boe, Johannes Thingnes Boe and Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen were favorites entering the relay and proved why, clinching gold with a time of 1:19:50.2, as ROC’s Eduard Latypov let the lead slip through his frozen fingers. France also took advantage of Latypov’s misfortune to win silver, 27.4 seconds later. Athletes from the Russian Olympic Committee finished in bronze-medal position, 45.3 seconds behind Norway.
At first, It seemed like Norway was not going to be in medal contention after the first leg took shape. Laegried of Norway started the relay with three missed targets while standing and consequently skied a 150m penalty loop, adding around 25 seconds to the time. They were out of the top five at the beginning of the third leg.
If anyone was going to bring the Norwegian team back into medal contention, it was going to be Johannes Thingnes. His brother, Tarjei, gave him a minute and 40 second deficit behind ROC’s Tsvetkov after missing two targets in the standing shooting. Similar to his brother, "JT" Boe missed two targets in the prone shooting but came back to shoot clean in his final standing stage. He made up for lost real estate on the course with tight turns and by shifting his weight on downhills to gain momentum. He put the Norwegians back on the map in fourth, 0:43 seconds behind ROC.
The ROC relay team of Said Karimulla Khalili, Alexander Loginov, Maxim Tsvetkov and Eduard Latypov looked like the clear gold medalists of the event at the end of the seventh shooting stage. They were able to maintain a consistent, steady lead of at least half a minute at each exchange, even with one miss on target from Khalili in the first leg and two from Loginov in the second. Tsvetkov was not the fastest skier on the course, but played to his strengths as a great shooter and went 10-for-10 in the third leg of the race.
Norway, France and Germany created the first chase group behind ROC in the fourth leg of the relay. They piled increasing levels of pressure onto Latypov when all four men met in the range for the final standing shooting stage.
Latypov anchored the relay for the ROC but was unable to continue his consistency from the prone shooting. He missed four shots on target in the standing, resulting in two penalty laps of 150m. The ROC’s race was turned upside down during the last shooting stage.
The Norwegians drew from deep experience and kept the faith in their anchor Christinsen to get the job done, leading to Johannes Thingnes Boe’s fourth medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics and his seventh Olympic career medal overall.
With France's silver medal, Quentin Fillon Maillet has now won a medal in every event he entered in at the 2022 Games, and is just one medal away from becoming the first athlete in the history of the Games to win six medals in a single Winter Olympics.
The final opportunity for men to win a medal in a biathlon event at the 2022 Winter Olympics is in the 15km mass start on Feb. 18 at 4 a.m. ET.