France opened its gold account at Sochi 2014 when Martin Fourcade won the men’s biathlon pursuit. He finished in 33:48.6, 14.1 seconds ahead of Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic who claimed the silver.
Fourcade’s compatriot Jean Guillaume Beatrix provided France with a double presence on the podium, as he climbed from 14th place to finish on 34:12.8 and take bronze.
Fourcade, who doubled his total Olympic medal tally, following the silver he won in the mass start at Vancouver 2010, dominated the race from the mid-stage and even had the time to clench his first in triumph after a flawless final shooting component.
Fourcade was ecstatic at getting his first taste of Olympic gold, and said that the moment was made even more special by the presence of Beatrix next to him on the podium.
“I’m really pleased to be on the podium with my old childhood friend,” he beamed.
And he went on to add that the win in the pursuit had left him wanting more: “These Games are not over yet! I want to go out there and win other titles,” he added.
“My Olympic campaign is off to a good start, but there are still some exciting events to play for.”
The day ended in disappointment for Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who finished fourth and therefore missed out on a chance to set a new Winter Olympic medals record.
Despite showing good ski speed, the Norwegian missed targets in the second prone and both standing shootings to finish in 34:14.5, 1.7 seconds short of the podium.