Americans find the targets in Oberhof
Oberhof Germany, 10 January 2008. Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) could have been happier, but not much. Hitting nine out of ten targets in world class time, Hakkinen finished 17th in the ultra competitive Oberhof World Cup Sprint, with a time of 26:55.8, one second behind 15th place and just ten seconds out of tenth. The result moves Hakkinen into 26th place in the overall World Cup ranking and qualifies him for the Mass Start competition on Sunday. Just six seconds back was teammate Tim Burke (Lake Placid, NY) 22nd in 27:01.8 followed by Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) 39th in 27:26.8. All had just one penalty on the day. Jeremy Teela (Heber, UT) had two misses in prone and but cleaned his standing and finished 46th out of 113 competitors in 27:42.4.
"The Oberhof sprint is the toughest on the World Cup," said High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler. "The boys handled the transitions in the course really well and this showed in their good times on the second loop, It was impressive to see all of them manage the long uphill approach to the range and shoot clean standing."
Running through the performance of the team Head Coach Per Nilsson was clearly pleased with the results of his boys. "Jay promised himself he would master his concentration on the range and he did a great job - clean [no penalties] and the 4th fastest time in standing, prone was a little low and his miss was at 6 o'clock." Commenting on Tim Burke who was ill in December he said "Tim's not 100% yet but he is coming - he knows he'll b ready for World Championships." Lowell Bailey was satisfied with his performance on his least favorite World Cup course and Teela's standing shooting "was really outstanding," said Nilsson.
"The team spirit was pretty low after the relay where we struggled with our equipment and missed too many targets but today we started to see what we can do when things go our way," said Eisenbichler. "The form is coming better and better."
Hakkinen's top 30 World Cup ranking earns him a place in the Mass Start competition at 10:00 AM Eastern Time Sunday. Watch streaming video of the race live at www.usbiathlon.org. The next stop on the World Cup tour is Ruhpolding Germany where the men will start in the relay on Thursday at 11:40 AM Eastern Time.