March 14, 2020 / 2:54 PM / 23 days ago

Biathlon - Fourcade hangs skis and rifle after glittering career

Biathlon - IBU Biathlon World Cup - Men 12.5 km Pursuit Competition - Kontiolahti, Finland, March 14, 2020 Martin Fourcade of France celebrates victory and the end of his career. Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari via REUTERS

(Reuters) - France’s most decorated Olympian Martin Fourcade ended his glittering career with his 83rd World Cup biathlon victory in a 12.5-km pursuit event in Kontiolahti, Finland, on Saturday.

Fourcade, a five-time Olympic champion and 13-time world champion, missed out on a record-extending eighth overall World Cup victory as Norway’s Johannes Boe finished the last race of the season in fourth place to claim the title for two points.

The 31-year-old Fourcade was at his best for his final race as he led a French treble ahead of Quentin Fillon Maillet and Emilien Jacquelin.

Only Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen has won more Olympic gold medals (eight), world titles (20) or World Cup victories (94) than Fourcade.

“From Vancouver to Oslo, facing Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Emil Svendsen, Anton Shipulin, Simon Schempp, Johannes Boe and all my other rivals - too numerous to mention all of them - I have fulfilled my dreams and experienced the most beautiful emotions,” Fourcade said in a statement when he announced his surprise retirement on Friday.

“I fought and I won. I suffered, too. I fell and got up. Above all, I grew up.”

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Tony Lawrence

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