The exhausting 15km biathlon came down to a split-second and a photo finish, resulting in some great images

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Toby Melville/Reuters

  • Biathlon is one of the more grueling sports of the Winter Olympics and the men’s 15km mass start came down to a photo finish.
  • France’s Martin Fourcade was awarded the gold medal by mere millimeters.
  • The finish produced some great images.

Biathlon is one of the more grueling sports of the Winter Olympics, combing the endurance of cross-country skiing with the ability to control nerves and precision while shooting rifles at a small target.

It is a unique sport that has its roots in hunting and militaries of northern European countries.

On Sunday, the men’s 15 kilometer mass start came down to centimeters and a photo finish and it also showed just how exhausting the sport can be.

After nearly 40 minutes of grueling action, Martin Fourcade of France (in bib No. 2) and Simon Schempp of Germany stretched for the finish line.

Winter Olympics

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Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Winter Olympics

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Adam Pretty/Getty Images

After all the skiing and shooting, it came down to a photo finish and the gold was awarded to Fourcade (via Seven Network in Australia).

Winter Olympics

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Seven

In what is a common sight at the end of cross-country and biathlon events, Fourcade and Schempp just collapsed in the snow after crossing the finish line.

Winter Olympics

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Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Winter Olympics

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Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Winter Olympics

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Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

Fourcade, who was the flag bearer for France during the opening ceremony, did find enough energy later on to do a leap for joy during the victory ceremony.

Winter Olympics

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Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images