Johannes Boe took the pursuit at the 2023 Biathlon World Championships without much resistance .
Together with the mixed relay and sprint, the Norwegian has three of three golds in Oberhof – and this is against the backdrop of dominance in the season. Ahead of the individual and mass start, single-mixed and classic relay – the calendar allows you to aim at the historical seven out of seven.
Johannes is definitely capable of both the load itself (he went through this schedule at the last three World Championships), and the task – such dominance in biathlon, perhaps, has not yet been.
1. For the younger Bo, this is the first gold in pursuit at the main starts, although he took the sprint at the championships in 2015 and 2019, and also at the Olympics a year ago.
But each time, something prevented him from defending his leadership: 8 years ago in Kontiolahti, young Johannes generally fell behind the top 30, in Östersund 4 years ago he crumbled at the last frontier (silver), in Beijing he was the leader alone, but unsuccessfully got into a rush (5 th at the finish).
And in Oberhof, on the fourth attempt, everything worked out. Celebrating the giant lead at the finish line, Bo Jr. stopped to the line and took this pose: a sniper! 20 accurate shots out of 20.
2. This season, Johannes is invulnerable: he did not win only three races out of 16, and he did not appear on the podium only according to the results of the one that opened the season.
Is it because of sagging competition? Does not look like it. At least one opponent is phenomenal.
Sturla Lagrede is strong and consistent with only three races in the season without a medal and not a single finish below 6th place. In any other year, it would have been either a World Cup lead or a close fight for a trophy. Now – not at all, the gap from Johannes is 200+ points, and the future owner of the Globe is understandable (if there is no force majeure).
Lagrede is the best of earthlings by a giant margin. Well, Johannes is alone in his universe: “This is a solo concert,” Martin Fourcade succinctly described the situation.
In addition, the new scoring system rewards the best in a special way. If before this season the winners received 60 – 54 – 48 points, now they are 90 – 75 – 60. At the time of the World Cup, the overall standings are frozen, the IBU introduced this rule in 2022: Bo’s victories in Oberhof do not bring points to the piggy bank, but, by itself themselves, go down in history.
3. According to key career metrics, Johannes is in the top 3 with Bjoerndalen and Fourcade.
Already ahead of Marten in gold (15 vs. 13), but getting Ole (20) in Oberhof will definitely not work. In terms of the total number of awards, Bo is ready to overtake Marten in the coming days (27 to 28), but to attack Bjoerndalen (45), you need to keep the level until the end of the 2020s.
An important caveat: the athlete Bjoerndalen did not find such an extensive program at the World Championships as it is now, but he took it with longevity: between the first and last medal – 20 years. Johannes has only 8. The only question is how long the younger Bo plans to continue – he will turn 30 in May.
It is important for Johannes to pull up the statistics of personal titles, where he is still well behind: 6 gold, it is possible to get ahead of Rafael Poiret (7) in Oberhof. And Bjoerndalen and Fourcade – with 11 personal titles – are unattainable until at least 2024.
4. Bo threatens a couple more records.
For his own – in terms of victories for the season: already 13, he set the bar at 16 4 years ago. There are plenty of opportunities: 2 more personal races at the Worlds, and then 7 in March.
Moreover, Bo Jr. is not going to miss the final segment of the season. A year ago, having given out an extravaganza at the Games (4 gold, 1 bronze), he finished the season ahead of schedule and did not complicate the way for Quentin Fillon-Maillet to the World Cup.
Now Johannes is driven by this hunger.
And then, with good luck, you can storm Bjoerndalen’s record for victories: the King has 95 (plus one in cross-country skiing). Johannes has everything to pass over 70 by the end of March – and then there will be a couple of great seasons between the Norwegians (and Fourcade is about halfway).
And again, everything depends on the intentions of Bo Jr.: how much longer will he, a family man and a homebody , last in sports?
5. And finally, about the World Cup. If Johannes takes the trophy in March, he will be on a par with Poiret and Frank Ulrich – 4 Globes each.
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