Norway sets Winter Games record with 15th gold medal as Boe wins men's 15km biathlon
Canada's Christian Gow finishes 13th after shooting clean through initial 3 stops
Johannes Thingnes Boe's brilliant skiing more than made up for some errant shooting in difficult conditions to win gold in the men's 15km mass start, setting a new record with Norway's 15th gold of the Beijing Games.
Christian Gow finished as the highest-placing Canadian in 13th after shooting perfectly through the first three stops. His brother, Scott Gow, finished 25th while Jules Burnotte cracked the top 20, placing in 18th.
With Boe blowing kisses to the TV cameras as he crossed the line, the Norwegians have now taken more gold medals at a single Games than any other nation, breaking the previous record of 14 that they shared with Germany and Canada.
Boe's brilliance held the winter sports-mad nation enthralled, and Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere was one of the first to congratulate him and team mates Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Roieseland, who took silver and bronze, respectively, in the women's race.
Martin Ponsiluoma of Sweden finished 40.3 seconds after Boe to take the silver, with fellow Norwegian Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen picking up the bronze medal 1:12.5 after his countryman.
"The final sprint lap felt so good — I was crying during half of it — and it was just really emotional. It feels really huge," an emotional Ponsiluoma said.
France's Quentin Fillon Maillet missed his chance to take a sixth medal and become the most successful athlete at a single Winter Games, finishing fourth after five costly misses in a whistling, freezing wind that made shooting difficult.
After a tense opening with the athletes tightly packed, Boe wasn't bothered by an early miss, flying around his penalty loop and then retaking the lead as the front runners entered the second shoot, and a perfect five-shot salvo sent him back out in lead.
Germany's Philipp Nawrath kept the pressure on Boe, entering the first standing shoot a few seconds behind, but he missed three of his five shots to drop out of contention as Sweden's Ponsiluoma took on the role of the main challenger.
Despite three misses, Christiansen surged late, passing Maillet and trying to join in the chase for Boe, but with his fifth Olympic gold medal and a record in his sights, Boe was never going to be caught and Norway's status as a winter sports super-power was confirmed.
"It feels great. The Olympics have been the goal for this season for a long time, but that it would go this well, I could not imagine," Boe said following his fourth win of the Beijing Games.
The Norwegian star admitted to having to dig deep for one last effort.
"I was tired after long Games, but it has been my best day so far. It was above all expectations — it has been a dream Olympics," he said.
With files from Ben Steiner, CBC Sports