Beijing Pursuit Gold to Fillon Maillet

France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet overcame windy and snowy conditions, shooting clean in the last standing stage as well as in the other three stages to secure the Gold medal in this evening’s men’s 12.5 km pursuit at the Beijing Olympic Winter Games in 39:07.5. The Olympic Pursuit Gold medal was Fillon Maillet’s second of these Games after earlier winning the men’s 20 km individual. Today’s Gold medal was his fourth medal here following Sprint Silver yesterday and Mixed Relay Silver last Saturday; his four medals in a single OWG is a French all-time record. Norway’s Tarjei Boe with one penalty won the Silver medal, finishing 28.6 seconds back for the second individual Olympic medal of his career after Sprint Bronze yesterday. ROC’s Eduard Latypov, with one penalty won the Bronze medal, 35.3 seconds back. The Bronze medal was Latypov’s second at the Beijing OWG; he also won a Bronze medal in the mixed relay.

Header iconBeijing 2022 Men's Pursuit

Fillon Maillet: “Shoot clean and see what happens on the last loop”

The now four-time Beijing medalist felt he was prepared for the hard conditions today and stuck to his plan. “I worked hard this summer to be in this position with the wind and cold. It is incredible to do another medal in four races. I am so proud of myself today. Because it was so so hard on the skis…I knew Johannes was strong yesterday and maybe today. My plan was to focus on myself and make the best pursuit that I could, make a clean shooting and see what happens on the last loop. Finally, Johannes missed three and some others missed also. Tarjei stayed close, but I had enough for the win. That was perfect!”

Italy’s Lukas Hofer shot clean while finishing fourth, an Olympic personal best, 51.1 seconds back. Sprint Gold medalist Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway, with seven penalties, finished fifth, 2:13.7 back. Germany’s Roman Rees, with one penalty, finished sixth, an OWG personal best, 2:30.2 back.

Snow continues; wind picks up

The snow continued to fall and the temperature dropped a couple of degrees by the time the men’s pursuit started 1:45 after the women. JT was aggressive from the start adding a few seconds to his lead by the first prone stage. Despite a stronger wind than earlier, JT closed his first five targets with ease and Fillon Maillet matched, going out 41 seconds back. Latypov also cleaned, leaving third, 1:21 back with Samuelsson, Tarjei and Lukas Hofer within three seconds.

Two penalties

JT missed his first two shots in the second prone as the wind continued to blow quite hard, settled for a few seconds and closed the last three before going to the penalty loop. Fillon Maillet cleaned carefully, closing the gap to 12 seconds, while Latypov cleaned again to remain third, 35 seconds back, with Tarjei and Hofer fourth and fifth, 49 and 53 seconds back.

Fillon Maillet in Front

Despite Fillon Maillet closing the gap on the range, he lost time over the next 2.5 km as they approached the first standing stage. With the wind flags flapping hard, the Norwegian missed three times. His French rival responded with five fast perfect shots to put him 10 seconds up on the also clean-shooting Latypov with Hofer moving to third, also with a clean stage, 37 seconds back and Tarjei at 39 seconds. JT dropped to 55 seconds back.

Clean Shooting Secures Gold

Latypov closed the gap on his French rival down to 5.9 seconds by the 9 km split. By the last standing stage, they were separated by just two seconds, while Tarjei and Hofer battled side-by-side, with JT closing on them. Fillon Maillet shot fast and confidently to secure the victory, while his ROC rival hesitated in the wind, missing a shot. Tarjei and Hofer both cleaned in five shots, leaving 3 second behind Latypov as he exited the penalty loop. The Silver and Bronze medals would be determined in the last 2.5 km.

Silver for Tarjei

Fillon Maillet with a safe lead headed to the finish. Tarjei blew past Latypov quickly, pulling away as Hofer faded. The French star once again proved to be the “king of the four-stage competitions” taking his second individual Gold medal of these Games and his career. He crossed the finish line, punching the sky repeatedly and pounding his chest in victory. Tarjei crossed with the Silver medal to go with his Sprint Bronze with Latypov taking the Bronze medal.

Tarjei’s plan: one and one

Although he moved one step higher on the podium, Tarjei admitted that the Sprint Bronze was more meaningful, but today it took a plan to get on the podium. “It means 10 times more; it was my first one. You could multiply adding my brother on the podium with me. That was so emotional. Today I am a little surprised. I just thought one and one, one shooting, one opponent in front of me and the Silver is mine but it was a hard one. Everything was difficult. I felt good on the range but even if my shooting was great, all of the guys up front shoot so well. For standing, I came in and both Quentin and Latypov cleaned together with Hofer. There was a big gap from us down to the others. I just had a plan before the race, not focusing on the whole race but one loop and one shooting because it is too heavy to think about 20 shots in these conditions.

Thankful Latypov

Latypov was thankful that he held on for the Bronze medal and showed appreciation for the many who helped him get to this point after his bout with Covid-19. “For sure, on the last lap, I did not have so many powers left but I was trying to hold the gap and to work as good as possible in the end. I gave all of my powers at the finish and was very happy that everything worked out…I am very thankful to everyone who helped me and believed in me. We were preparing and did not stop. Many do know that Erik Lesser helped me with the equipment when I was in the quarantine; it's worth a lot and shows a real biathlon family. Many people helped me and it is really cool to know how it was and how it worked out in the end.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni

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