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Beijing 2022 Olympics: disappointment in the relay for the Biathlon Bleues

After the sprint and the pursuit, which had turned into a debacle, the French biathletes did not manage to raise their heads. On Wednesday February 16, Les Bleues missed out on their relay (4×6 km) at the Beijing Olympics, finishing in 6and square. Sweden won ahead of the Russian Olympic Committee and Germany.

The Tricolores knew, however, that this event was their best chance to shine, they who have monopolized the podiums on the World Cup since the start of the season – two victories and two third places. They also probably had this fact in mind: since the introduction of the event to the program of the Albertville Winter Games in 1992 – in a 3×7.5 km format – and the title of Anne Briand, Véronique Claudel and Corinne Niogret, the French only missed the “box” three times. Four now.

Beijing 2022 Olympics: At the end of a crazy relay in biathlon, the French in silver, the Norwegians in gold

The biathlon is a precision mechanic that the slightest disturbing element can come to stop. However, the conditions were relatively favorable. Wednesday, the Sun shone, the wind blew little. Above all, the mercury was close to – 15 ° C. Rather mild in view of the freezing cold that has fallen in recent days on the mountains of Zhangjiakou, the competition site located some 200 kilometers north of Beijing, and which had forced the organizers to advance the men’s relay by several hours, the day before.

” Balls ! »

One of the keys to the relay is to avoid the penalty ring. Each biathlete passes twice on the shooting range – one lying down and one standing – and has, in addition to the usual five balls, the possibility of three jokers, called “pickaxes” to clear the targets. Each target that has not fallen after these eight balls is sanctioned with a turn of 150 meters. It is therefore imperative to be solid behind the rifle.

This Wednesday, the machine jammed. Anaïs Bescond launched the debates with the mission of keeping Les Bleues in contact with the best. With a single pickaxe, the doyenne of the Tricolores passed the baton to Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet in fifth position and a dozen seconds behind the race leader. This is where things got tricky. Under the impetus of its second torchbearer Mona Brorsson, Sweden, Olympic vice-champion in 2018, launched the offensive.

Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet, she missed her lying shot: a penalty round. “It pisses me off a bit. There are three beautiful balls and I can’t put the last onewill sum up the individual Olympic vice-champion at the finish. I’m reliving a bit what I experienced on the mixed relay. »

Beijing 2022 Olympics: The biathlete and the “psychology” of the last bullet

Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, third torchbearer, starts in eighth position, with a disbursement of 1 minute 46 seconds. Fast on skis, solid behind the rifle (two pickaxes), she managed to reduce the gap to 1 min 16. At the start of the last torchbearer, Julia Simon, hopes, although a little crazy, were still allowed: she had achieved an impressive performance in the mixed relay on February 5, and made a crazy comeback in the pursuit (started in 21and position, she had finished 8and of the race).

But after a perfect lying shot, the French misses her standing shot and has to take a penalty lap. The chances of a podium are definitely buried. ” Balls ! »will launch Anaïs Bescond on arrival.

The “Norge” at the foot of the podium

The other surprise of the day came from Norway. Deprived of Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, victim of discomfort during the chase, the “Norge” suffered from the failure of Tiril Eckhoff, second torchbearer, paralyzed on her standing shot (two penalty rounds).

Their leader, Marte Olsbu Roiesland, was not enough to put them back in the race for the medal: they had to settle for 4and place, 13 seconds from the podium. For the first time since the start of the fortnight, the current leader of the World Cup will not step on the box.

Beijing 2022 Olympics: Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, the new “cannibal”

Despite this new white day on the Blue side, biathlon remains the sure bet of the French delegation at the Beijing Olympics: six medals (two in gold, four in silver) in nine races, i.e. nearly half of the fourteen “charms collected by France, all disciplines combined, since the start of the fortnight. The girls will still have the mass start (group start) of February 19 to contribute to this impressive record.

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