Fourcade first to win 3 gold medals at Pyeongchang Olympics

Pyeongchang Olympics Biathlon_568866

Martin Fourcade, of France, skis during the 2×6-kilometer women’s + 2×7.5-kilometer men’s mixed relay biathlon at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) Martin Fourcade earned a third gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Games and solidified his legacy as the most successful Olympic champion in French history by anchoring his team to victory in the biathlon mixed relay.

The 29-year-old Fourcade became the first athlete to win three gold medals in Pyeongchang, lifting his career tally to five Olympic gold medals. That’s the most of any French athlete in Summer or Winter Olympics.

Fourcade was at his best, erasing a nearly 38-second deficit on the last leg of the relay by hitting all 10 shots to help the French team of Marie Dorin Habert, Anais Bescond and Simon Desthieux to the come-from-behind win.

The victory was a little less dramatic than this photo finish decision over Germany’s Simon Schempp in the mass start. This time Fourcade had enough of a lead to wave the French flag as he crossed the finish line for his team in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 34.3 seconds, more than 20 seconds ahead of second place Norway.

Italy won the bronze.

It was a blown opportunity for Germany.

Arnd Peiffer, a late replacement for Schempp as anchor, inherited a 37.9 second lead of Fourcade but struggled to hit his targets on the final two shoots and gave up the lead.

Germany, which had three gold medals in the biathlon coming into the event – including one by Peiffer – finished off the podium in fourth place.

Only Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (eight) has more Olympic gold medals in the biathlon than Fourcade.

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