The fog finally lifted on Tuesday in Oberhof, revealing the full stadium of fans who for the past two races had been cheering into the void. Perfect visibility on the range was a welcome improvement for the men’s World Championship 20 k Individual—biathlon’s longest competition—especially since each miss in the format results in a ruinous one-minute time penalty. The ski tracks softened under the full sun, creating slow and arduous conditions, but that did not seem to slow Johannes Thignes Boe (NOR).
Boe won the Individual by over a minute—despite two penalties—to complete his set of World Championship gold medals in each of biathlon’s seven disciplines. The defending World Champion, Boe’s Norwegian teammate Sturla Holm Laegreid, hit 19/20, missing only his last shot, to secure silver. Sebastian Samuelsson of Sweden also hit 19/20, missing once on his third stage, to claim his first podium in this discipline, just .4 behind Laegreid.
If these names sound familiar, it’s because today’s podium was a copy of Sunday’s Pursuit podium. While fans have become accustomed to seeing Boe and Laegreid in the gold and silver positions, it’s unusual to see a repeat podium in the Individual event. Shooting plays such an important role in the Individual that it’s difficult to predict results. But Boe’s course time was an outrageous 1:46 ahead of the next-fastest person, and only seven of 103 finishers skied within three minutes of his time! The 34th ranked course time was five minutes back. In other words, most of the athletes in this race would need to have five fewer misses than Boe in order to beat him. At the post-race press conference, when asked if he would like to win a FIS Cross-Country World Cup, as his former teammate Ole Einar Bjoerndalen famously did, Boe replied simply, “No.”
While the podium was a repeat, the other top-six Flower Ceremony finishers were collecting awards for the fist time at this World Championships. Last year’s World Cup Overall winner, Quentin Fillon Maillet of France, finished fourth, missing only his 20th shot, like Laegreid. Benedict Doll of Germany, who was 55th in the Sprint and moved up 40 places to 15th in the Pursuit, improved yet again to fifth. And 22-year-old Niklas Hartweg of Switzerland took his nation’s first flowers of the Championships in sixth, his third-best result ever.
North Americans are still holding out for top results at these Championships, but both Adam Runnalls (CAN) and Sean Doherty (USA) finished in the top 35 today, marking successful turnarounds following disappointing Sprints. Runnalls finished 30th with just two penalties, and Doherty was 35th with three. Twenty-two-year-old Logan Pletz (CAN), who made his World Cup debut in January of this year, had only two penalties and finished 64th, tying his personal best. Paul Schommer (USA) finished 77th with six misses, Vincent Bonacci (USA) was 80th with three, Trevor Kiers (CAN) was 86th with six, Christian Gow (CAN) was 89th with six, and Maxime Germain (USA) was 94th with seven.
IBU World Championships Men’s 20km RESULTS
Wednesday at 8:30AM Eastern Time: Women’s 15km Individual
Thursday at 9:10AM Eastern Time: Single-Mixed Relay
Watch live here.