Martin Fourcade was patient, confident and steady and it looked just a little too easy. Then came the fourth and final shooting bout.
Two misses in the final shooting bout by Fourcade blew the men's individual event Thursday wide open, and Johannes Thingnes Boe took advantage of an opportunity that doesn't come too often.
Boe captured the gold medal in the men's individual event at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The Norwegian biathlete finished in 48 minutes, 3.8 seconds and won despite having two penalties of his own.
The gold is Boe's first Olympic medal in his eighth event.
"It's very special," said Boe, who embraced his brother, Tarjei, while crying after realizing he was going to win gold. "I was crying. Second time I've cried in the last 10 years, maybe.
"The first time was after my first world championship title, so this means a lot for us athletes. We train very hard for this and when you get the achievement, an Olympic gold medal, it's emotional."
Slovenian biathlete Jakov Fak took home the silver, finishing just 5.5 seconds behind Boe, and Austrian Dominik Landertinger earned bronze.
Both Fak and Landertinger shot clean on their shooting bouts.
Fourcade showed his frustration with himself after missing his second shot after going 15 for 15 in the first three bouts and then later after crossing the finish line.
The Frenchman finished in 48 minutes, 46.2 seconds and shot 18 of 20. Those two penalties turned what looked like an easy gold medal into finishing off the podium.
In the sprint Sunday, Fourcade finished eighth place, which, for him, was a huge disappointment. He rebounded Monday with an impressive performance in the pursuit.
Now, this, a fifth-place finish in the individual. Fourcade entered PyeongChang as the biathlete everyone else was chasing, and through three events, he very well might have beat himself twice.
"Disappointed and sad about what I did," Fourcade said. "I can't say (why). I had no fear.
"I think it was a really difficult race for me today. I've been sick after the pursuit and I think my energy was so low and I could not concentrate on my shooting."
U.S. Biathlon remains without an Olympic medal, and the men's 20km individual may have been its best chances at reaching a podium at the PyeongChang Olympics.
Lowell Bailey is the defending world champion in the 20km individual but the 36-year-old's chances were shot in his first shooting bout.
Bailey missed two of his five shots in the prone position during his first bout, which, in biathlon, is usually more than enough to end any chances of winning a medal.
He finished in 51st place, closing at 52 minutes, 56.8 seconds and 16 of 20 on his shooting bouts.
Tim Burke was the highest-finishing American, coming in 41st place. He finished in 52 minutes, 5.7 seconds with four penalties.
Biathlon returns Saturday (6:15 a.m. EST) with the women's 12.5km mass start.