Going into today's biathlon action, the big question was could Norway's Ole Einar Bjøerndalen become the most-medaled Winter Olympian in history?

The answer was no. He came as close as you can to a medal without winning one: the dreaded fourth place. 

Though Bjøerndalen started the race ahead of everyone else (in the pursuit, start times are based on finishes in another race, in this case the sprint), France's Martin Fourcade, whose sixth-place finish in the sprint was a disappointment, was nipping at his heels three minutes into the race. By the time Bjøerndalen missed a target in the second shoot, he had fallen out of the front of the pack and would never return.

Fourcade stayed dominant for most of the race, shooting clean through the first two shoots and missing just one target in the third. Going into the last shoot, he was well ahead, though not by enough that missing a target couldn't take the lead away. 

As soon as he hit all five targets he knew he was almost guaranteed the win, and take a few seconds for a premature celebration.

After the race, the gold medalist told NBC: "I knew that if I shoot clean, I will be Olympic champion," adding "I was most happiest guy in the world."

Getting the silver was the Czech Republic's Ondrej Moravec, helped greatly by his clean shooting. In third was another Frenchman, Jean Guillaume Beatrix. He, like Fourcade, missed one target. And 1.7 seconds behind him was Bjøerndalen, an impressive finish considering that he missed three targets.

As for the Americans, more disappointment. Tim Burke was 22nd, missing two targets. Lowell Bailey was 38th, missing three. And Leif Nordgren was lucky to get 53rd, missing seven targets. It's looking less and less likely that we'll have a men's biathlon medalist in these games, but you never know.

Complete standings can be found at Sochi's official site and more stats and analyses can be found at Real Biathlon

Most happiest guy in the world! (AP)

More Sochi Day 3 action in The Wire's live blog.