Biathlete Celebrates Early, Nearly Blows Gold

Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen had the 15km mass start biathlon locked up—until he raised his arms and nearly got caught by France's Martin Fourcade, lunging just beside him. How close was Svendsen to accomplishing one of the biggest Olympic boners of all time? Real freaking close:

Biathlete Celebrates Early, Nearly Blows Gold

The two had identical finishing times, but the photo finish shows Svendsen got his toes across the line first. That's the part that matters—IBU rules state that the winner is the skier with "the first part of the first foot crossing the finish line."

Svendsen tried to downplay the tight finish, saying "I actually had pretty good control even though it looked very, very close. It looked closer than it was for me."

It wouldn't have come down to this had Fourcade not missed a target and been forced to ski a 150-meter penalty loop. But the Frenchman already has two golds at these games, so maybe shooting himself in the foot didn't hurt too badly.

From Getty Images, a pair of shots of the finish:

Biathlete Celebrates Early, Nearly Blows Gold

Biathlete Celebrates Early, Nearly Blows Gold