French biathlon great Martin Fourcade announces retirement

Paris (AFP) –


Five-time Olympic champion Martin Fourcade has announced that after Saturday's biathlon race in Finland he will hang up his skis and rifle.

The 31-year-old from the Pyrenees is a household name in France after winning two gold medals at Sochi in the 2014 Winter Games and three at Pyeongchang in South Korea four years later, where he was his nation's flag-bearer for the opening ceremony.

He is the only athlete in the sport to have won the World Cup overall title seven times, while he also claimed 13 world championship gold medals.

"Thanks for the journey. Time to say goodbye," Fourcade said in a message on Twitter.

Fourcade is locked in a battle with Norway's defending champion Johannes Thingnes Boe for the overall World Cup title heading into Saturday's final race at Kontiolahti.

The season should have run until 20-22 March in Oslo but that event was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.