Fillon Maillet Captures 20 km Individual Gold

France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet, falling back to ninth position after the second prone stage, recovered with a fast clean last standing stage to capture the Olympic Men’s 20 km Individual Gold medal in 48:47.4. Fillon Maillet who won his first-ever Olympic medal in Saturday’s mixed relay had two penalties today in claiming his first-ever individual Olympic medal. The victory, his sixth of the current season was also his career-first win in the 20 km individual. Belarusian Anton Smolski shot clean, winning the Silver medal, 14.8 seconds back. Smolski’s medal marked a career-best ever result as well as his first Olympic medal. Defending Olympic 20 km Champion Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway, with two penalties won the Bronze medal, 31.1 seconds back. The Bronze medal was the fifth in the Norwegian’s career. He also won a Gold medal in last Saturday’s mixed relay.

Header iconMen's 20 km Individual Beijing 22

Fillon Maillet, “dream of an Olympics like this”

Just after the finish, Fillon Maillet was a bit overwhelmed with his Gold medal effort. “Maybe it looked easy but it was so hard today. With two misses in the shooting, I never expected the victory, maybe the podium... I'm starting to feel the emotions of the victory. It was amazing…Four years ago it was so hard for me at the Olympic Games. I wanted to dream of an Olympics like this. We started very well with the mixed relay (Silver medal), and today (I raced) in a good way for the victory.”

Dream to Reality

He later added, “It was a big dream for me and now it is reality. It is a big moment; my big goal of the season… I am confident in my shooting and skiing. I trust me; that is the key to the Gold today.”


A truly humble Champion, Fillon Maillet was very appreciative of everyone who helped him on this long road to success. “It was so good. A lot of work, a lot of energy (went into) this. Thank you to my family, my friends, my partner, my teammates. For all their work and all the people who helped me on my way to becoming Olympic Champion.”

Maksim Tsvetkov of ROC finished fourth, with one penalty, 34.9 seconds back. Canada’s Scott Gow, with one penalty finished fifth, the second-best result of his career, 1:05.6 back. Germany’s Benedikt Doll, with two penalties, finished sixth, 1:07.1 back.

Tsvetkov Leads Early

Another bright afternoon for today’s competition; it remained not so cold at -5C but the pesky wind picked up during zeroing, with the wind flags blowing from left to right to complicate shooting for the 92-man field. Beyond the wind, the challenging tracks with the snow that is fast in places but extremely slow in the shadows and the 1600+ meter altitude made this always tough competition even tougher. Starting with number 2, the defending Olympic Champion JT started fast on the first loop into the first prone stage, missing his second shot, and putting him immediately at a disadvantage. Tarjei cleaned but was 18 seconds slower than the first starter Maxim Tsvetkov, who was quickly overtaken by Fillon Maillet who cleaned with a steady but not rushed cadence. Loginov one-upped his rivals with a fast five shots to move into first position.

Closing the Gap

By the first standing stage, JT had closed down the 30-second start gap between him and Tsvetkov, shooting together, both cleaned, but the Norwegian was much faster to close all five targets. Tarjei did the same very quickly to move into second. Fillon Maillet came to standing with an 18-second lead, but missed a shot, dropping him to 36 seconds back. Smolski after a perfect prone, did the same in standing to move into second position while Loginov missed once falling 39 seconds back, eventually falling out of medal contention.

Aggressive clean shooting

The second prone stage was again perfect for JT, who shot very aggressively, but remained in second, 28 seconds behind Tsvetkov. Tarjei went to 15-for-15 to move into second, 14 seconds ahead of his brother. Fillon Maillet added another one-minute penalty, falling to ninth position over 1:16 back. Smolski was again perfect, moving to just seven seconds behind JT, in fourth position.

JT knew his fast clean stage would put him back in the medal race. “With clean fast shooting on the second, I managed to strike back again at once. With nine out of ten, you are still in a good position going into the third loop. From there on, I was really focused to hit five in the prone and put myself in a golden situation…The head gets weaker with each shot in the individual. You have to keep calm and not overpower on the tracks because you will kill yourself on the shooting range.”

Smolski Challenges

The defending champion came to the last standing before Tsvetkov, and missed a shot. However, after holding his last shot, the ROC athlete did the same. That gave Tsvetkov just an 11-second lead with four kilometers to go. Everything changed when Fillon Maillet shot like only he can under pressure, clean and fast jumping out to a 20 second lead. Surprising Scott Gow after a miss in the second prone closed his last five targets, moving into the top six. Smolski made the competition extremely interesting by cleaning the last standing stage and leaving two seconds faster than Fillon Maillet.

Fillon Maillet Pulls Away; Takes Gold medal

With 1100 meters to go, JT had overtaken Tsvetkov and was pulling away, but Fillon Maillet was gaining even more ground, adding a couple of seconds in the first 900 meters after the last standing stage. JT crossed the line 3.8 seconds faster than his ROC rival. Fillon Maillet was skiing with his young teammate Fabien Claude, pushing each other. By the 18.9 km split, Fillon Maillet’s lead was up to 29 seconds. He continued to push, securing the Gold medal, his first individual Olympic medal, 31.1 seconds faster than JT. Smolski lost his top spot, falling a couple of seconds behind Fillon Maillet by the 16.9 km split and 12 seconds back with 1100 meters to go, pushing JT to the Bronze spot.

Happiness is a Bronze medal

The Norwegian was happy with his Bronze medal. “I am really satisfied. The mixed relay was a fantastic race for me. It will be one of the races I will remember because it was so unlikely for me to finish first like that. Today’s medal, is what we come for so I am very happy.”

Smolski’s last target closes “a joyful note flashed in my eyes”

Smolski knew the key to a medal was a plan that included good pacing and clean shooting. “From the first meters I tried not to speed up, but to go more smoothly and it worked out well…I understood that only clean shooting would give me the opportunity to battle for high positions, and when I came to the last shooting, I simply didn’t think about anything and worked as best I could. After all of the targets were closed, a joyful note flashed in my eyes and in my thoughts, and I knew I had to give everything I had… The last lap was very difficult for me. I still can't understand what happened…Alexander Loginov helped me to keep the speed on the last lap, and without him, I probably would have gone slower.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni

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