Watch out Martin Fourcade, Johannes Thingnes Boe is gunning for your biathlon crown!
Johannes Thingnes Boe is an Olympic gold medallist, he's married, he's had millions of likes on social media and he's what?
Yes. He's still only 25 years old.
2018 was a big year for Norway's latest prodigy who's come good.
Three Olympic medals, including a maiden gold at PyeongChang in the 20km individual in February and a wedding in the summer, made 2018 a memorable year for the new biathlon phenom .
2019 doesn't look bad either.
Boe is currently first in the IBU World Cup standings after 10 events on 542 points, 130 points ahead of nearest rival, Russian Alexander Loginov.
This year was billed as the battle between Norway's biathlon superstar Thingnes-Boe and French medal factory Martin Fourcade, but the 11-time world champion is just sitting in 3rd place on 342 points.
No stopping Boe
Thingnes Boe shows no signs of slowing down.
In the 12.5km pursuit in Oberhof, Germany, he took a seventh World Cup victory in the last 10 races.
Last season Fourcade asserted his dominance by winning his 7th overall World Cup title in a row, then at PyeongChang 2018, three gold medals made him the most successful French Olympian in history.
The only person who could come close to Fourcade in the 2017/18 season was the Norwegian.
He snatched nine World Cup victories and conceded overall defeat only at the end of the season, but made a real statement by beating the Frenchman in the individual 20km in South Korea.
A new Norwegian king of biathlon?
It was clear from an early stage that Johannes Thingnes Boe was destined to do great things.
When it comes to winter sports, Norway does not lack inspiration.
But to be the best in the world, Boe first had to become the best in his own house, competing against his older brother Tarjei.
30-year-old Tarjei Boe won gold in the Vancouver 2010 4 x 7.5km team relay and the brothers joined forces to take silver in PyeongChang in the same event.
Tarjei took the last big World Cup Crystal Globe before Fourcade's incredible run of seven straight titles.
That was back in the 2010-2011 season, and even then Tarjei was aware of another great threat, as reported on olympic.org:
"There is another biathlete who is better: my younger brother Johannes. I will greatly fear him if he joins the World Cup circuit!" - Tarjei Boe in 2011
The brothers Boe have gotten used to sharing the podium together and Tarjei has gotten used to looking up to his younger brother.
A top spot finish for Johannes in the 7.5km sprint at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Liberec in 2011 gave a glimpse at what was to come.
The Junior World Championships 2012 in Kontiolahti confirmed that Norway had a new star on a meteoric rise: first in the 10km sprint, first in the 12.5km pursuit and first in the relay completed an impressive hat-trick.
Then he almost repeated that feat the following year in Obertilliach, coming second in the 10k sprint to make it two gold medals and a silver.
In 2013 Boe actually beat Martin Fourcade at the Blink Festival, it may have been on rollerskiis at a summer event, but it was another future marker.
Recovery from a broken collarbone in 2014 showed Boe's mettle as he battled back to fitness to take part in the World Cup circuit, his performances earning him a spot on the Norwegian Sochi 2014 team at just 20 years of age.
"It was a dream that became a reality" - Johannes Thingnes Boe
8th was his highest finish in the mass start at the 2014 Winter Games but valuable lessons were learned, he came away disciplined by defeat.
Speed and precision are what the biathlon is all about and the 25-year-old's standout skiing was always what set him apart.
His shooting, however, needed work.
Inaccuracy and imprecision were costing Boe and he needed something to change.
That change had a name: Siegfried Mazet.
The French shooting coach came in to the Norway setup and found what was missing in Johannes' shooting technique and routine almost immediately.
Suddenly the rising star had a shooting game to match his powerful, fluent skiing, hitting five targets faster and with greater frequency.
King of the Games
Top of the world for now, Boe realises that the World Cup finishing line is far off in the distance.
Before the beginning of the season the head of French biathlon, Stéphane Bouthiaux predicted a rivalry between Boe and Fourcade, "greater than that between Raphaël Poirée and Ole Einar Bjørndalen in the 2000s".
The Norwegian has had a dream start to the season, but watch out for a Fourcade fightback.
Meanwhile Johannes Thingnes Boe has a different focus, and dreams that go far beyond biathlon domination:
"I want to become the king of the Olympic Games" - Johnannes Thingnes Boe
Here's the 2018/19 IBU World Cup calendar:
- Pokljuka, Slovenia 2/12/2018-9/12/2018
- Hochfilzen, Austria 13/12/2018-16/12/2018
- Nove Mesto, Czech Republic 20/12/2018-23/12/2018
- Oberhof, Germany 10/1/2019-13/1/2019
- Ruhpolding, Germany 16/1/2019-20/1/2019
- Antholz-Anterselva, Italy 24/1/2019-27/1/2019
- Canmore, Canada 7/2/2019-10/2/2019
- Salt Lake City, USA 14/2/2019-17/2/2019
- Oestersund, Sweden (IBU World Championships Biathlon) 7/3/2019-17/3/2019
- Oslo Holmenkollen, Norway 21/3/2019-24/3/2019