KONTIOLAHTI, Finland (February 11, 2012) – Team USA posted one of their best days in history at today’s E.ON IBU World Cup in Kontiolahti, Finland. The U.S. men dominated the 10K Sprint with Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) finishing 5th(25:08.0/0+1), Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) 6th(25:13.5/0+0), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) 13th(25:36.4/0+1), and Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) finishing 16th(25:46.3/1+0). Martin Fourcade (FRA) won today’s Sprint with a time of 24:58.2 (0+1), Russia’s Timofey Lapshin was 2nd(24:29/0+0), and Benjamin Weger (SUI) was 3rd(24:59.8/0+0).
Team USA’s men were second only to Russia today in the IBU Nation's Cup Points - a measure of each team's top three competitors - for the season. The U.S. men are now in 8th, just 49 points behind 7th place Czech team, and only 84 points behind the 6th place Austrians. In world rankings, Bailey is 12th, Burke 23rd, Hakkinen 33rd, and Currier is 49th.
“It was a great day for Team USA,” said Bailey. “You'll have to check the record books, but I believe this has got to be the best day in US Biathlon history. We had great skis and the conditions were cold but fair. I was able to ski a consistent race and I was pretty happy with my last lap. Would be nice to have found 10 seconds out there somewhere but so it goes. I came down with a minor head cold when I arrived in Finland so I have been lying low most of the week. But thankfully, it seems like it wasn't too much of a factor today. Tomorrow should be a blast considering our whole team is starting up towards the front of the field!”
“Today was obviously a great day for the team,” said Burke. “I think this really shows the quality of our National team program when we have the entire team under the top-16. I was very happy with my performance today but am incredibly frustrated with my rifle malfunction in standing. My empty shell from prone simply would not eject before standing. After trying over and over again to get it out, I had to call for help and pry it out with a screwdriver before I could start shooting. At least the times stayed very close so I will not be starting too far behind tomorrow.”
Extended results from the Men’s 10K Sprint are available here
Sara Studebaker(Boise, ID) led Team USA’s women today in the 7.5K Sprint, posting 24:27.1 with clean shooting for her top finish of the season. Studebaker was 1:19.7 back from World Cup leader Magdalena Neuner (GER) winning today’s Sprint with a time of 23:07 (1+0). Kaisa Makarainen (FIN) took 2nd(23:19.7/1+0), and Darya Domracheva (BLR) was 3rd(23:24.5/2+0). Annelies Cook(Saranac Lake, NY) finished 39th(25:29.0/0+1) and Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT) was 65th(26:48.6/4+1).
Extended results from the Women’s 7.5K Sprint are available here
“Today was the best day ever for our men's team - we never had four in the top-16 before,” said Max Cobb, U.S. Biathlon CEO. “And even then it was not a perfect day for everyone - Tim needed a range official to help him repair is rifle and lost maybe 20 seconds, moving him out to the top 10. Lowell and Russell going 5 and 6 is just terrific, and Russell clean again, how wonderful. They will be out their with the leaders in the Pursuit from the start. Tim and Jay are both starting in less than 50 seconds back from the leaders. That's only two penalty loops.”
“Sara Studebaker had a great performance and finished 15th too, her best of the year and just one place behind her career-best. Just like last season she is getting stronger with every passing week,” added Cobb. “I am very proud of the progress the whole team has made this season - it is a testament to years of really good training with the coaches and super organization - both in the every day training, and recovery and in the hard work needed to put fast skis under their feet! There is a very inspiring atmosphere in our team - great work by all involved! Every day is a new challenge in biathlon but with these two days and last week's success we can see that there is some really positive momentum building.”
World Cup competition continues from Kontiolahti tomorrow with the men’s 12.5K Pursuit at 12:15 (CET) and the women’s 10K Pursuit at 13:00 (CET). Both events will be webcast live at http://www5.biathlonworld.com/en/.