Gangwon 2024: Three golds and a silver for Antonin Guy... the heir to Fourcade?

After the fifth day of competition, it seems clear that the great start of the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games is Antonin Guy, a 17-year-old biathlon athlete who has won three gold and one silver medal, something that has never happened in the past.

He is celebrating three weeks before his 18th birthday on 16 February and three weeks before that because he has everything a great biathlon athlete should have: a great shooting percentage, fast skiing and the perfect mental balance to decide when to go faster and when to save his strength for the shooting. Guy began his amazing performance on Saturday in the 12.5 km individual competition (20 shots, five prone, five standing, five prone, five standing) and a penalty of 45 seconds for each miss. He missed three (one, one, zero, one) and despite the 2:15 minute penalty he took his first win in a time of 41:45.02, a clear 45.2 seconds ahead of Norway's Storm Veitsle, who also missed three. 

He has no experience, neither in the Biathlon World Cup nor in the IBU World Cup, but he has shown such a level that it's impossible not to compare him with the most amazing biathlete in French history, Martin Fourcade.  The five-time Olympic champion and 13-time world champion has the same virtues as the young Guy: legs for skiing, control of pulsation and temperance for shooting, and intelligence to control the race.

Antonin Guy and Alice Dusserre, on the podium after winning the single mixed relay. BIATHLON_FRA
Antonin Guy and Alice Dusserre, on the podium after winning the single mixed relay. BIATHLON_FRA

The next day, he was selected to compete in the mixed individual relay with his compatriot Alice Dusserre. The latest biathlon event was as exciting as ever, with four stages and four shooting zones, a total of 7.5 km for the men and 6.0 km for the women.  They were always in first place with the best range percentage (Dusserre missed two shots and the new biathlon start failed three), with three loading options in each zone, before running into a small round penalty. 

The French pair stopped the chrono in 44:08.02 after a calm final leg, almost a minute ahead of Germany (44:58.2) and Norway (44:58.5). With two gold medals, Antonin Guy has now equalled Germany's Franziska Preuss and Niklas Homberg at Innsbruck 2010, Norway's Sivert Guttorm Bakken at Lillehammer 2016 and Russia's Alena Mokhova at Lausanne 2020. 

The Frenchman was not satisfied and wanted to make history. On Tuesday, he was the main favourite in the men's 7.5km sprint and he controlled the event (two shooting zones, prone and standing, with a penalty round for each miss). He made 9/10 for a clear win in 20:57.7, ahead of Norway's Tov Roeysland (21:29.5).

He was already the best of all time, but he still had a chance to win a fourth gold medal in the Mixed Team Relay final. Would he do it? He had no chance, because after the legs of Dusserre, Louise Roguet and Flavio Guy, Antonin Guy started in third place, 2.28 minutes behind Italy and 1.10 behind the Czech Republic. 

Although it was almost impossible for him to win the gold medal, he fought and overcame the Czechs to take the silver medal far away from Italy, although he managed to reduce the final gap to 1.13 minutes. 

The new biathlon world star, who will turn 18 next February, will leave Gangwon as the main name of the Winter Youth Olympic Games with three gold and one silver medal. It appears we'll be seeing him at an IBU World Cup event this season.