Nathan Smith, Canadian biathlete, finishes 15th in men's 10km World Cup sprint
Johannes Thingnes Boe leads Norwegian sweep of podium
Calgary's Nathan Smith was the lone Canadian to crack the top-20 in Friday's World Cup biathlon, finishing 15th in a field of 102 in the men's 10-kilometre sprint in Ruhpolding, Germany.
The 30-year-old finished in a time of 22 minutes 57.4 seconds, one minute behind winner Johannes Thingnes Boe, who led a Norwegian sweep of the podium in 21:57.5.
"I started off really strong with a clean prone, which put me in second spot going into my standing," Smith said. "I knew I was in medal contention and I let those thoughts become a distraction.
"My skiing was good enough for a medal today, but 10/10 [shooting] is a requirement when conditions are perfect."
In late December, Smith recorded the second-best mass start finish of his career by placing 12th at a World Cup event in Pokljuka, Slovenia.
On Friday, Boe defeated older brother Tarjei Boe, who clocked 22:00.5, followed by Emil Hegle Svendsen (22:05.1). All three Norwegians shot cleanly.
"I was a little tired. But I also had the same feeling in Ruhpolding's sprint last year, when I won," Johannes Thingnes Boe told reporters. "I think it was good to start early; I tried to focus on every curve and turn. Our skis were too fast on the downhill."
Martin Fourcade of France finished fourth and leads the discipline standings after four races with 197 points, ahead of Tarjei Boe (146) and Svendsen (145).
Fourcade also leads the overall World Cup standings after nine competitions with 427 points, 73 more than Svendsen. Norway's Ole Einar Bjorndalen, who missed the sprint because of illness, is third with 337.
Other Canadian results Friday:
- Christian Gow, 34th (23:29.5)
- Scott Gow, 47th (23:45.6)
- Macx Davies, 55th (23:51.0)
- Scott Perras, 72nd (24:25)
Home favourite Franziska Hildebrand edged Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic by 0.3 seconds to win the women's 7.5-km sprint in 19:46.5.
"It's incredible, simply amazing to win here at home of all places," the German biathlete said.
Kaisa Makarainen of Finland was third, 2.3 behind. All three shot cleanly.
Dahlmeier Laura of Germany missed one target and finished fourth, ahead of Olga Podchufarova of Russia.
Julia Ransom of Kelowna, B.C., was the top Canadian in 49th spot with a time of 21:48.6. Sarah Beaudry, of Prince George, B.C., was 55th in 22:09.5 while Zina Kocher of Red Deer, Alta., was 76th in 22:57.2.
After four races, Hildebrand leads the discipline standings with 192 points, four ahead of Soukalova, who leads the overall World Cup standings on 413, 39 ahead of Mari Dorin Habert of France.
The World Cup was moved to Ruhpolding from Oberhof due to a lack of snow.
With files from The Associated Press