Martin Fourcade won his fourth gold medal to become France’s most successful Olympian of all time. But only just.
As moments of sporting drama go, this was up there with the best of them.
The 29-year-old claimed gold in the 15km mass start biathlon – but only after an epic duel with Germany’s Simon Schempp.
Both men were given the same time of 35 minutes, 47.3 seconds, but Fourcade was the victor after a photo finish.
Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen came through for the bronze medal.
Story of the race
After a strong start, Fourcade dropped back following a poor shoot at the 3km mark.
Gradually, after falling as low as 23rd position, the Frenchman began to move through the field.
At the halfway point, it was the German duo Erik Lesser and Benedikt Doll out in front, with Fourcade chasing in third position.
It was at the 12km standing shoot that Fourcade made his charge for victory.
But he had company.
Schempp joined him as the pair opened up a sizeable gap over the field before tucking in behind his rival for the rest of the race.
With nothing to choose between them, both men sprinted for the line.
After a gruelling 15km, the pair desperately lunged, sprawling in a heap after the finish.
Fourcade angrily threw one of his ski poles away, thinking that he had missed out on gold.
But the photo showed Fourcade just got his boot across the line first – the tip of the ski does not count.
Memories of Sochi
The finish brought memories of Sochi 2014 flooding back for Fourcade.
Four years ago, the Frenchman missed out on a third gold of the Games as Emil Hegl Svendsen of Norway edged another photo finish.
That was an agonising ending for Fourcade. This one he will cherish forever.
“It’s incredible. I’m still waiting for them to tell me that I’m not the winner,” the Frenchman said following the race.
Fourcade admitted that he was having recalling his previous experience as he sprinted to the line:
“Four years ago in Sochi I was fighting for the gold with Emil (Hegle Svendsen) and I lost by three centimetres.”
“I thought about that during the whole last loop because I thought this would happen again.”