Familiarity proves to be golden for Frenchman

Over a year ago France’s Vincent Jay claimed gold at a 10km biathlon sprint World Cup event at Whistler Olympic Par; on Sunday he was back in the winner’s circle.

Jay finished ahead of a strong field of competitors with a final time of 24:07.8. He skied well and his shooting was exceptional.

Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, of Kingston, Ont., had a historic race and finished sixth overall, the highest ever for a Canadian in an Olympic biathlon event.

Le Guellec finished 49.8 seconds back of Jay and was the leader after the first round of shooting. Unfortunately he would miss a shot on his standing stage costing him a chance to compete for a medal.

Norway’s Emil Hegle Svedsen captured the silver medal after he scored a perfect round on the second stage of shooting. His final time was 24:20.0.

Jakov Fak of Croatia finished third with a time of 24:21.8.

Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, one of the most decorated Olympians of all time, came into the event looking for his tenth medal. However, the 36-year-old athlete made four crucial misses and finished in the 17th place with a time of 25:48.9.

Though no medal was claimed for Canada, the time of Le Guellec would ensure that he has a relatively good start in the pursuit event. The start time is determined by how far back competitors finish behind the leader, so in Le Guellec’s case he will start 49.8 seconds behind Frenchman Jay.

The race began amidst rain and the weather changed number of times. After half of the 88 competitors left the gate a heavy snowfall played a factor in the shooting accuracy of athletes.

The snow then let up and competitors with later start times seemed to be skiing in mud as the track had slowed down significantly in the sunshine.