Martin Fourcade's career numbers are so overwhelming that it becomes almost difficult to know where to start. At 31, probably worn out by 13 years of pushing on skis and passing his eye through the sight of his rifle, standing or on the ground. It is probably too early to measure the real imprint of the surname Fourcade on the rich history of biathlon. Barely retired, it is certain that he sits at the top, alongside his first rival Ole Einar Bjørndalen.
A golden career at the Olympic Games
Fourcade has won everywhere. But above all, he won where adversity was the hardest, the greatest wait and the most beautiful victory: at the Olympic Games. In three editions, the Catalan has won five Olympic gold medals (with two in silver), making him the most medaled French athlete at the Games, summer and winter combined. The sentence is enough in itself: no Frenchman has won more than Fourcade at the Olympic Games. With all the preparation, the expectation and the competition that this generates, the exploit is capital. Especially since he straddled Sochi (2014, two medals) and Pyeongchang (2018, three medals), Vancouver (2010) having served as a test (with a silver medal anyway). He is the only French athlete, along with Jean-Claude Killy, to have won three titles in the same edition.
If there was only one year to remember in the lavish career of Martin Fourcade, it could be 2018. The year of Bjørndalen's retirement, Fourcade made history. In just one year, he broke the last remaining barriers with this Olympic hat-trick, including a memorable spatula victory over Simon Schempp at the mass start, and a seventh consecutive big crystal globe.
Attacking Norwegians at the World Cup
Because this seventh coronation in a row at the World Cup – a stranglehold begun in 2012 – came to crown its regularity. In 2018, Fourcade became the only one to win seven large crystal globes, one more than Bjørndalen and four more than the third, Raphaël Poirée. In total, in the World Cup, Fourcade thus won seven times the general classification (2012-2018), 26 small globes of discipline (against 19 for Bjørndalen and 6 for Johannes Bøe for example), for a total of 184 podiums (97 individual and relay victories, 54 second places and 33 third places). Among his 97 World Cup victories, Fourcade was best in pursuit and sprint (29 victories in pursuit, 23 in sprint and 15 in individual, mass start and relay).
There is however a statistic where Fourcade will not be first at the dawn to close the chapter of his career: the victories in World cup. With its total of 97, it is still far from the 136 bouquets of Bjørndalen. With 48 victories at 26, Johannes Bøe arrives on his heels even if he is still at a good distance from the French. Stuck between the Norwegians, who have offered him his best fights during the past decade.
2018, the halt
Another failure should give him some regrets if we quibble: he never won in sprint and relay at the Olympic Games. This year, he won the men's relay at the Antholz Worlds, the last one he missed at the World Championships. All his career, Fourcade knew how to deal with and often get away from it, he who is also record holder of the number of victories at the World Championships with Bjørndalen (11).
His persistent physical deformity, intertwined with mental weariness, created a sporting and statistical halt in his career from 2018. Accustomed to winning at least three World Cup victories each year since 2009, Fourcade has harvested only two small bouquets during the 2018-2019 season. The season just ended saw him regain his career standards with 6 wins, aided by the absence of Johannes Bøe in two stages. Martin Fourcade will conclude his rich career this weekend with the pursuit of Kontiolahti (Finland) for the last race of his career. Will it end in beauty?
Fourcade's career in figures:
The number of Olympic titles of Martin Fourcade, the most medaled French athlete in the history of the Games, summer and winter combined.
The number of large crystal globes obtained by Fourcade, the only record holder before the 6 of Bjørndalen. He is obviously the only one to have won them consecutively, between 2012 and 2018.
His total number of World Cup victories, individual and relay included. Fourcade won 82 in individual and 15 in men's and mixed relay.
With 11 successes at the World Championships, Fourcade holds the number of victories tied with Ole Einar Bjørndalen.