SOCHI, Russia -- Martin Fourcade won his second biathlon gold medal of the Sochi Olympics on Thursday, overcoming one penalty minute to win the men’s 20-kilometer individual race.
The Frenchman, who also won the 12.5K pursuit on Monday, finished in 49 minutes, 31.7 seconds after missing one target in his second shooting.
“It was a tough race,” said Fourcade, who is the 2013 world champion in the discipline. “I knew I could still win despite that mistake. It was a tight victory.”
Erik Lesser of Germany shot cleanly throughout and came 12.2 seconds behind to take silver for his first individual medal at a major championship. Yevgeny Garanichev of Russia earned bronze, finishing 34.5 off the lead after faulting once in his final shooting.
The 2010 gold medalist, Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway, shot clean in the first two rounds but missed his 12th target and finished seventh, 58.6 seconds behind Fourcade.
Norwegian teammate and sprint gold medalist Ole Einer Bjoerndalen, who is after his record 13th Winter Olympic medal, missed one target in each shooting, leaving him with four penalty minutes.
Bjoerndalen finished 3:50.2 off the lead in 34th.
Fourcade, who has won four World Cup events this season and leads the overall standings ahead of Svendsen, started the Olympics disappointingly. He finished well out of contention for a medal in the sprint event before bouncing back in impressive style two days later in the pursuit.
His second gold is Fourcade’s third Olympic medal; he also won silver in the mass start event four years ago in Vancouver. The Frenchman also holds five world titles.
Lesser was part of the German relay team that won bronze in the men’s relay at last year’s world championships. His silver is his country’s first biathlon medal in Sochi. The German men failed to win any medal in Vancouver four years ago.
Garanichev earned the host nation its first medal in men’s biathlon, and second overall after Olga Vilukhina won silver in the women’s 7.5K sprint.
Austria came close to its second biathlon medal the Sochi Games but Simon Eder was edged by Garanichev for third place, trailing the Russian by 3.3 seconds, while sprint silver medalist Dominik Landertinger came another 4.7 seconds back in fifth.