Quick-fire Bailey storms to individual biathlon gold

Biathlon - IBU World Championships - Men's 15km Individual - Hochfilzen, Austria - 16/2/17 - Lowell Bailey from the U.S.in action. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Biathlon - IBU World Championships - Men's 15km Individual - Hochfilzen, Austria - 16/2/17 - Ondrej Moravec of Czech Republic, Lowell Bailey from the U.S. and Martin Fourcade of France react. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Biathlon - IBU World Championships - Men's 15km Individual - Hochfilzen, Austria - 16/2/17 - Lowell Bailey from the U.S.in action. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

HOCHFILZEN, AUSTRIA (Reuters) - American Lowell Bailey pulled off one of the biggest upsets in biathlon history as he took the gold medal following a thrilling spurt to the finish to the men's 20km individual race at the World Championships on Thursday.

Lowell was a perfect 20 for 20 shooting before making a helter-skelter dash for the finish line, finally crossing it 3.3 seconds faster than Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic and 21.2 seconds ahead of France's Martin Fourcade.

Barely allowing his pulse to settle at the ranges, the 35-year-old American rattled off his shots with pinpoint accuracy, giving him the perfect platform for a golden victory.

Moravec was also perfect in his shooting, but with the Austrian crowd roaring him on, Lowell powered through the final kilometer to grab the gold.

The 28-year-old Fourcade, who was trying to add to the gold medal he won in the men's pursuit event, put in a superb skiing performance but was left to rue two misses that cost him two minutes in penalties.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor in Stockholm; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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