KONTIOLAHTI, Finland (February 12, 2012) - With continued strong performances in Kontiolahti, Team USA closed the E.ON IBU World Cup today with three Top-15 finishes in the Men’s 12.5K Pursuit. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) led the team with an 11th place finish (35:21.3/1+0+0+3), Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) crossed the finish in 12th (35:23.6/2+0+2+2), Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) was 14th (35:36.7/0+0+0+2), and Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) finished 23rd (36:28.8/1+1+2+2).
Norway’s Ole Elnar Bjoerndalen won today’s Pursuit posting a time of 33:43.8 (2+0+0+0), World Cup leader Martin Fourcade (FRA) was 2nd (33:57.6/0+1+0+2), and Dmitry Malyshko (RUS) took 3rd with 34:06.5/1+0+1+0. Extended results from the Men’s Pursuit are available here.
“Today's race went OK but of course we were all hoping for more after such a great day yesterday, said Burke. “Personally, I felt really drained out there today after racing the previous two days. I made it all the way up to 5th but struggled in the last stage. No excuses though, I had an opportunity to go for the podium but was not able to pull it together. The shooting conditions were definitely pretty tricky today and it looked like most athletes spent some time in the penalty loop.”
“It's funny how expectations can change so fast,” added Burke. “Last year we would have been thrilled to have three guys in the top-15, but today we were definitely a little disappointed. Our coaches help us keep that in perspective, but of course we are all anxious to crack the podium.”
“This week our team had some great results and got a lot of respect and confidence going towards the World Championships. It was interesting that Tim, Lowell, and I left the last shooting all together in the top-15, which was not planned but certainly demonstrated we are at a new level now as a program,” said Hakkinen.
Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID) finished 36th in the Women’s 10K Pursuit today. With a time of 39:13.4 (1+1+2+2), Studebaker was 6:50.4 minutes back from Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen, posting a time of 32:23.0 (0+1+0+0) for gold. World Cup leader Magdalena Neuner (GER) finished 2nd (32:58.9/0+1+1+2) and Darya Domracheva (BLR) was 3rd at 33:00.0 (2+0+2+0).
Extended results from the Women's Pursuit are available here.
Following today’s World Cup, Team USA’s biathletes have the current world rankings: Men - Lowell Bailey 13th, Tim Burke 22nd, Jay Hakkinen 33rd, Russell Currier 47th; Women - Susan Dunklee(Barton, VT) 48th, Sara Studebaker 55th, Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY) 76th.
Team USA will now continue training and preparation for the 2012 IBU World Cup, March 1-11 in Ruhpolding, Germany.