Americans 5th in World Cup Relay Ruhpolding Germany
Ruhpolding Germany, 15 January 2009. Today wasn’t just the best result since 1988, it was also a truly amazing day for four individuals who raced together in which turned out to be the best relay the U.S. had seen for a while. Lowell Bailey, Jay Hakkinen, Tim Burke and Jeremy Teela finished fifth today in the relay competition of Ruhpolding, Germany and could not really find words for today’s result afterwards.
Before the race the coaches were not sure what to expect. Per Nilsson did not want to settle for an estimate while second coach Patrick Coffey was already expecting a place between five or six. Yet, the team still laughed at him thinking that that might be too much to expect. But in the end it wasn't. It wasn't at all!
Lowell Bailey was the one to go on start position and he stayed clean in the first shooting. For the second one he needed one spare round but managed to finish at eight, 30 seconds behind the leading Norwegians. “I went through the whole race in my head and I stayed really focused. I actually wasn’t that nervous during my race. But afterwards while watching the others my heart beat so fast, it was amazing” said Bailey after the race.
Now being on eighth, Jay Hakkinen already was in a good position but although he needed four extra shots he managed to gain two places and hand over to Tim Burke ranking on sixth position. And Hakkinen was more than excited about the competition: “It was such a great race. We did that together. We did it as a team. I couldn’t be happier!”
Bringing the team in an even better position, Tim Burke stayed out of the penalty loop with only one miss in each shooting and thanks to the third best leg time he managed to send Jeremy Teela on the last loops ranking fourth. “It was really as Jay said. We put that together as a team. And that is worth more than any individual race we would finish ranking fifth!” said Burke.
Knowing that this could be the best result ever the team couldn’t stay calm on the track at all after Teela was on the course. There was shouting, there was cheering and after he finished his last shooting with only two misses no one could help dancing around. “Tell him that he will get the Italian, tell him he will be fourth!”shouted High Perfomance Director Bernd Eisenbichler in his walkie-talkie. But although Teela finished fifth in the end “after making a mistake in the last corner” the team was beyond speechless with the result. One 1.9 seconds behind the Italians, 22 behind the podium. It was a result noone expected but everyone dreamed of.
“The pressure was just so high being up front there”, Teela said. “I mean, the Germans are used to that kind of positions but it was the first time for me. I am so glad that I managed to stay calm and finish the race as I did.”
Having a small party in the wax cabin afterwards one could really see the team spirit that made today’s result happen and hopefully will continue on doing so...