JT Boe Skis to Sprint Gold, Leads Norwegian Podium Sweep

Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe, after missing s single shot in prone in foggy conditions, cleaned his standing stage and skied to victory, taking the men’s 10 km Sprint Gold medal this afternoon at the BMW IBU World Championships in Oberhof. Today’s win was the Norwegian’s third IBU WCH Sprint title, having previously won in 2015 and 2020, at Kontiolahti and Antholz, respectively. JT’s winning time of 23:21.7 put him 14.8 seconds ahead of his clean-shooting older brother Tarjei, who won the Silver medal. Teammate Sturla Holm Laegreid, with one penalty, win the Bronze medal, 39.9 seconds back, giving Norway a sweep of the podium.

Waiting Game “painful”

JT admitted that going one-two with his brother was about as good as it gets but waiting to see if his time held up was extremely hard. “It cannot (get any better).” It was the best race I could do in the fog here today. With Bib 1, when you cross the finish line, you just have to wait and see the others; it’s painful.”

Family double, “that’s crazy”

Regarding how hard he had to work on the tracks after the prone penalty, he added, “I pushed with all the power I had. I put it in the poles and tried to reach the finish line. In the end it was important because Tarjei was skiing his best performance as well. So having a double for the family…that’s crazy!”

Norwegian teammates Johannes Dale and Vetle Sjaastad Christian, both with one penalty finished fourth and sixth, 43.6 and 59.7 seconds back, giving Norway five of the top six spots. Ukrainian Dmytro Pidruchnyi, shooting clean limited the Norwegian domination in the sprint with his fifth place, 53.4 seconds back’ this coming less than two months after knee surgery.

Header iconBMW IBU World Championships Oberhof Men's 10 km Sprint

Foggy Oberhof

Today was typical Oberhof with heavy fog blanketing the area and the temperature just at freezing. The ever-changing winds kept the fog in place, and although it dissipated somewhat, shooting conditions were less than perfect. JT said the Norwegians like everyone else had to make some adjustments for the poor visibility. “It was quite interesting coming to the stadium with the fog. We could not see the stadium when we arrived, but we hoped for a race. We had to change some material on the rifles (the diopter) to see the targets.”

Starting with Bib number 1, the Yellow Bib went out aggressively as expected. He shot cautiously in the foggy conditions but missed the fourth shot. Laegreid shot faster and clean, going into the lead. Defending Sprint World Champion Ponsiluoma made his bid for the podium with the fastest prone time after five quick, perfect shots. Christiansen showed he was up for the challenge set by his teammates, cleaning his prone stage, 3.9 seconds off the lead. Tarjei also was perfect in prone, nine seconds back.

“Shoot in the middle”

JT recovered with a quick clean standing stage, although he split two bullets that closed the target. He explained, “I felt the pressure coming in the second lap after the first prone with a miss. I needed to take some seconds, especially when there was no fog in my standing shooting. I heard the fourth bullet was like a mistake in the sound but it went in and then I thought, ‘just shoot in the middle,’ and then I did the same one more time. I think I was quite lucky. That is the sport; the next time they may go out.” Laegreid missed a shot, but skiing quite well, only trailed his teammate by six seconds going into the last loop. With the wind blowing hard, Ponsiluoma’s challenge ended when he missed three shots. Christiansen missed once, but left with the third best time. Pidruchnyi followed with a clean stage, matching his prone shooting, only 2.8 seconds slower than Christiansen. Tarjei, shooting on lane 30 mowed down his targets, going 5-for-5, jumping into second position, 3.2 seconds behind his brother.

Sturla Slips Back

The last loop was all JT. He skied as fast as usual, gaining over 30 seconds on Laegreid by the time he reached the finish. Laegreid knew he was slipping back. “I knew I was losing time; it was a really dark message to get from the coaches, because you think something is wrong with you and you are just bad. I managed to cross the finish line even though I was very tired and did not have the power in the last loop that I wanted.” Still, winning a sprint medal was a big step. It is my first WCH sprint medal and my first WCH medal that is not Gold. Still, it feels like a Gold…I am so happy to stand here with a Bronze medal in the World Championship is really unbelievable.”

Second to Tarjei

Pidruchnyi had a great last loop, skiing faster than Christiansen, dropping the Norwegian from the top three. However, with 1400 meters to go, Tarjei was holding on to second, eight seconds behind JT. The elder Boe brother sprinted down the last long flat stretch, crossing in second place, quickly pumping his ski poles delightedly. Putting him second behind his brother and ahead of Sturla. “It has not been my best season but I was quite confident I would be fighting with these two guys when we came here. In my trainings lately, I felt I was able to match them; I knew I was in the right place. It was one of my best races with all the shooting conditions compared with my shape this year. When I put it together along with the wax team who made some incredible skis for us…it was the perfect race and a perfect podium.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Bjorn Reichert

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