Justine Braisaz-Bouchet is to miss the 2022-2023 season due to pregnancy ©Getty Images

Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, who won the women's mass start gold medal for France at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, will miss the upcoming winter season after announcing her pregnancy.

The 26-year-old is expecting a child with her husband and coach Julien Bouchet.

It means Braisaz-Bouchet will be unable to defend her mass start crystal globe, after winning a first Biathlon World Cup title in the season-ender in Oslo.

Braisaz-Bouchet, who is four months pregnant, made the announcement on the eve of the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival, where she had been due to compete prior to the pregnancy.

Braisaz-Bouchet still met with fans in Annecy, the day after posting the news on Instagram via a photo of herself on the shooting range with a significant bump.

"And now we just wait... Day 123," said the French biathlete on social media.

"Thanks to the French Ski Federation administration, Douane France and all my partners, who continue to support me.

"See you next year in the biathlon stadiums."

Braisaz-Bouchet is expected to give birth in late January and miss the entire season, factoring in recovery.

"I kept the secret," said Braisaz-Bouchet to the International Biathlon Union website.

"I kept the secret, actually until today. 

"I just wanted to wait, to enjoy the time with family.

"I trained a bit until now, but now will rest and enjoy the pregnancy, I will train at my leisure and enjoy my family. 

"It will be a different year.

"The organisers here asked if I wanted to take the microphone and announce it to the audience. 

"I said, ‘no, no, I will put it on Instagram' 

"It would be very hard for me to stand in front of all those people and say, 'I am pregnant'."

Braisaz-Bouchet won the 12.5 kilometres mass start at Beijing 2022, beating Norwegian greats Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Røiseland to the gold.

At Pyeongchang 2018, Braisaz-Bouchet won a bronze medal in the 4x6km relay.