Calgary’s Scott Gow set a Canadian record with a fifth-place finish in the men’s 20-kilometre individual biathlon on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old Gow missed just one of his 20 targets and finished the event in a time of 49 minutes, 53 seconds, more than a minute behind gold medallist Quentin Fillon Maillet of France.
“Almost a perfect race. Nineteen out of 20 (shots) is really awesome. I’m happy with how I managed the range and the wind conditions. Like I said almost perfect,” he said.
Gow’s performance tied Canada’s best Olympic result in a men’s biathlon event – Jean-Philippe Le Guellec was fifth in the men’s 10-kilometre sprint a the Sochi Games in 2014. Canada has not won a medal in biathlon since Myriam Bedard’s two golds in 1994.
Fillon Maillet won decisively and added a gold medal to the silver he won in the mixed relay over the weekend.
Fillon Maillet has dominated the biathlon world lately. He’s had 10 World Cup podium finishes this season – half being wins, making him the overall leader. Now he’s also an Olympic champion. He missed two of 20 targets and finished the course in 48:47.4.
Anton Smolski of Belarus shot clean – hitting all 20 of his targets – and came in 14.8 seconds behind the Frenchman.
The wind stayed calm throughout the race, making the shooting results less chaotic and more consistent.
It was Gow’s second race on the Olympic course. He was part of the Canadian team that finished 14th in the mixed relay that was held in bitterly cold conditions on Saturday at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre.
“The very first race was very cold and windy, and today is almost the opposite: it’s very nice, not a lot of wind, much more comfortable racing. Two races now on this course, I think I have a really good understanding of how to race it, how it feels, and I can only get better going forward to the next races,” Gow said.
Defending individual Olympic champion Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway also missed two targets and took the bronze medal, 31.1 seconds behind Fillon Maillet. He had out-sprinted the Frenchman in the mixed relay Saturday to secure the gold.
Boe and Russian skier Maxim Tsvetkov raced most of the course together, heading out with bib Nos. 1 and 2, but Tsvetkov missed his very last shot and finished 34.9 seconds behind Fillon Maillet.
Competitors raced 20 kilometres in five ski loops, shooting twice in the prone position and twice standing between each lap. In all other biathlon events, they ski a 150-meter loop for each missed shot, which takes about 20 seconds. But in the individual race, one minute is added for each miss, making shooting accuracy especially important.
The Canadian will compete in the 15 km mass start on Friday.
With files from the Canadian Press.
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