Julia Simon and J.T. Boe Defend Pursuit Titles; Wright 12th for USA

Clare EganFebruary 12, 2024

FasterSkier’s Coverage of the Biathlon World Championships is made possible through the generous support of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center: New England’s finest snowmaking, world class race venues and touring trails, healthy food in abundance, comfortable accommodations at Craftsbury:  Sports, Sustainability, Stewardship.


After finishing second in Saturday’s Sprint, Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) moved up into first in Sunday’s Pursuit, defending his 2023 title .

On a rainy Sunday afternoon in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, 30,000 fans packed the Vysocina Arena for the women’s and men’s Pursuit competitions of the 2024 Biathlon World Championships. The weather has been dismal for the first five days of the event, meaning a lot of soggy boots, sink laundry, and rifle cleaning for the athletes, and long, cold, days for team staff and event organizers. But it has not dampened the spirits of the biathlon fans who continue to make the atmosphere bright.

French teammates Justine Braisaz-Bouchet (foreground) and Julia Simon shoot head-to-head in the Pursuit. (Photo: NordicFocus)
Women’s 10 k Pursuit

Simon defends world title, Vittozzi moves up from seventh to silver, and Braisaz-Bouchet keeps her podium streak alive.

In the women’s Pursuit, Julia Simon of France defended her 2023 World Championship Pursuit title as well as her Sprint victory from Friday. Last year, Simon started the Pursuit wearing bib 10 and overcame a deficit of more than one minute to take the gold, but today’s defense of Friday’s Sprint gold was also impressive. Only four women in the past ten years have won both the Sprint and Pursuit at the World Championships or Olympics: Marie Dorin-Habert (FRA) in 2015, Laura Dahlmeier (GER) in 2018, Tiril Eckhoff (NOR) in 2021, and Marte Olsbu-Roeiseland (NOR) in 2022.

Lisa Vittozzi (ITA) fights to the finish line, moving up from seventh to silver ahead of bib 2 Justine Braisaz-Bouchet (FRA). (Photo: NordicFocus)

Simon started with a negligible five second advantage over teammate Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, who is the fastest skier in the field but a slower and less-accurate shooter than Simon. A gap of nearly 40 seconds separated those two leaders from the third starter, Lou Jeanmonnot (FRA), but then six women all started within about 30 seconds. Simon and Braisaz-Bouchet matched one another’s shooting (0,1) on the first two stages to hold their lead over the chasers. But then on the third stage, Simon cleaned while Braisaz Bouchet missed two, opening the door for bib 7, Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi, to move into second with her 15/15 shooting through stage three of the race.

Sophie Chauveau (FRA) finished fourth in the Sprint and Pursuit. (Photo: NordicFocus)

In the final stage, Simon closed with the same perfect shooting we’ve now seen in three of three races at World Championships, nailing all five targets in 21.5 seconds—somewhat tame for Simon but still the fastest in the 60-person field. Behind her, Vittozzi missed her only shot of the day, creating an opening for Braisaz-Bouchet and bib 4, Sophie Chauveau. But luckily for Vittozzi, both of them missed one as well. Chauveau left the range a few seconds ahead of Braisaz-Bouchet, and for a moment it looked like the 24-year old might take her first World Championship medal after finishing a bittersweet fourth in the Sprint. But Braisaz-Bouchet out-skied Chauveau on the final lap to take the bronze, leaving Chauveau in fourth again. To put things in perspective, Chauveau won her first medal (a bronze) in January of this year, and her two fourth places so far at World’s are her next-best results.

Deedra Irwin was the top American in the Pursuit, finishing 46th with four misses. (Photo: NordicFocus)

From the US, Deedra Irwin started in bib 39 and fell back to place 46 with four misses. Tara Geraghty-Moats started in bib 58 but was lapped after the second shooting in her first-ever Pursuit.

Women’s 10 k Pursuit FULL RESULTS


Sturla Holm Laegreid’s (NOR) clean standing shooting earned him the silver medal in the Pursuit. (Photo: NordicFocus)
Men’s 12.5 k Pursuit

J.T. Boe shuffles the sprint podium to defend World title while the USA’s Wright and Doherty finish 12th and 26th.

In the men’s 12.5 k Pursuit, the Norwegian podium sweep from Saturday’s Sprint grew to a monstrous top-five sweep. Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) overcame three prone misses with flawless standing shooting to win his eighth individual World title—his 34th World Championship medal. (If you include Olympic results, Sunday’s victory was Boe’s 11th title and 42nd medal.) After winning Saturday’s Sprint with his signature perfect shooting, Sturla Holm Laegreid (NOR) uncharacteristically missed two in the first stage of the Pursuit but then hit the rest of his targets to fight back for the silver medal. Vetle Christiansen (NOR) led the race early on when he cleared all his prone targets and J.T. Boe and Laegreid both missed. But then two misses on his final stage set him back. He left the range a few seconds ahead of Laegreid but was caught in the final lap.

Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen (NOR) finished third in both the Sprint and Pursuit. (Photo: NordicFocus)

The fight for the top-six flowers was marked by some surprising shooting melt-downs. Having hit all his targets through the third stage, Tarjei Boe came into the final shoot tied for second with his younger brother Johannes, just nine seconds behind race leader Christiansen and a full 30 seconds ahead of the chasing group. But he missed a heart-wrenching four out of five targets and fell to fifth. Meanwhile, his teammate Johannes Dale moved up into fourth by clearing his final five, recovering from a messy three misses on the third stage. Behind Dale and T. Boe, Sebastian Samuelsson (SWE) kept his wits about him and shot 17/20 to complete the flower ceremony in sixth.

Campbell Wright (USA) was the top American in the Pursuit finishing 12th with two misses. (Photo: NordicFocus)

For the US, Campbell Wright in bib 11 missed one shot each in the prone stages but then cleared all 10/10 standing targets, finishing 12th. His 11th-place finish in the Sprint was a personal-best and this 12th place ties his previous personal-best. With these two results, Wright is almost guaranteed a start spot in next weekend’s 30-person Mass Start featuring the top 30 athletes of the Championships.

Sean Doherty (USA) happy in the finish area after moving up 18 places from 44th to 26th. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Sean Doherty was one of the biggest climbers of the day, moving from 44th to 26th with just a single miss in the first standing stage. Jake Brown started 38th and finished 37th with four misses, skiing the fastest of the three Americans in the race, 1:11 off the pace set by J.T. Boe.

Men’s 12.5 k Pursuit FULL RESULTS

Up Next

Tuesday 13 Feb 11:10 Women’s 15 k Individual
Wednesday 14 Feb 11:20 Men’s 20 k Individual

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Sturla Holm Laegreid, Johannes Thingnes Boe, and Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, (l-r) shuffled their podium sweep from Saturday’s Sprint in Sunday’s Pursuit. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Clare Egan

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