PyeongChang day 11 round-up: Fourcade lands third gold, spearheading France to mixed relay triumph

PyeongChang day 11 round-up: Fourcade lands third gold, spearheading France to mixed relay triumph

Biathlete Martin Fourcade claimed his third gold in PyeongChang after leading home the French team in the mixed relay event

Tom Hiscott

Coming into these Winter Olympics, Martin Fourcade had not finished outside of the top three in any of the World Cup races this season, making him one of the clearer favourites in the entire Games.

The Frenchman started the week off with a disappointing performance in the Sprint, where he finished outside the medals, but then in the Pursuit race which followed, he hauled in the athletes ahead of him to strike gold for the first time in PyeongChang. 

Another major disappointment followed, when Fourcade missed shots 19 and 20 to relinquish a certain gold in the Individual event, eventually falling out of the medals entirely, but he then followed this up with a dramatic victory in the Mass Start where he dipped for the line to defeat Simon Schempp by the smallest of margins. 

Fourcade hauls in Peiffer to grab third gold

In the mixed relay, 20 competing nations select two women and two men to compete over 6km and 7.5km courses respectively, with all four athletes taking part in one prone and one standing shoot. 

At the halfway stage of the race, the German duo of Vanessa Hinz and double-Olympic champion Laura Dahlmeier had moved into top spot ahead of the impressive Italians. Erik Lesser then had the best shoot of the top five teams to extend Germany's lead, with Arnd Peiffer taking over the final leg with more than 30 seconds advantage over his rivals. 

One of those rivals was Fourcade however, and after shooting clear at the prone targets, the Frenchman came up alongside the Sprint race champion ahead of the final shoot. With Peiffer carrying the pressure of his nation, he buckled, missing four shots, and having to incur a penalty loop. The languid Frenchman had no such rifle issues however, and after rattling off five targets in double-quick time, his final 2.5km lap was a mere procession.

The gallant French team leap for joy (image source: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Peiffer's errors had opened the door for the teams behind however, and following a storming third leg from Johannes Thingnes Boe, Norway were back in contention for the medals alongside the Italians. Leaving the range in close proximity, three into two would not go, and following a break from Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen, the battle for bronze would be between Peiffer and Dominik Windisch

Windisch and Peiffer were neck-and-neck for much of the final lap, leading to drama at the finish, with Windisch crossing the line ahead of his German rival following a controversial sprint. The German team put in an appeal at the end of the race, believing that Windisch had blocked Peiffer's sprint to the line, but the race jury decided the original result would stand as Peiffer didn't have to 'alter his speed'. 

The gold medals belonged to the French team though, and with women and men relay's still on the agenda, there is bound to much more controversy before the Biathletes leave South Korea

Hosts claim short track relay gold in mad dash finale

In a dramatic finale to the day's racing in the short track speed skating, South Korea added another gold to their medal tally, thanks to victory in the women's 3000m relay.

The frantic event, which sees skaters jostling for position ahead of the numerous changeovers, is always tight for track-space, almost guaranteeing thrills and spills. 

In the final, China led the way for much of the contest, with Canada and Korea battling for silver and bronze for the majority of the time following a slow start from the Italian team.

With four laps remaining, things were getting desperate for the Korean team, and after making one of their tag's at a different section of the track to their opponents, the skater moving to the side seemed to impede the Canadian, who in turn took out the active skater from Italy.

That left Korea and China racing for gold, and thanks to a surge on the outside, the host nation just had enough to cross the line first in a near-photo finish. 

Korea cross the line just ahead of their rivals following a pulsating final (image source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The race jury still had to review the race however, and following a few minutes deliberation, penalties were handed out to both the Canadian and Chinese teams.

The decision meant that Korea remained in gold medal position, with Italy bumped up to silver, and bronze then awarded to the winner of the 'B' final, the Netherlands, who had produced a world record time to win the minor race ahead of Hungary. 

Canada had plenty of success elsewhere on day 11, with the duo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir consolidating their overnight lead to take gold in the Ice Dance pair event just ahead of France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron

Cassie Sharpe added to the Canadian gold rush in the women's ski halfpipe competition, while in the large hill Nordic Combined event, Johannes Rydzek led home a German 1-2-3.