Banner Opening Day for Team USA at Sochi World Cup
Russia (March 7, 2013) - Team USA posted three top-15 finishes on their
inaugural race on the 2014 Olympic course in Sochi, Russia. Tim Burke
(Paul Smiths, NY) continued an outstanding run this season with a fifth place
finish in the men's 20-kilometer individual on the opening day of the IBU World
Cup 8 in Sochi. With just one penalty, Burke posted a time of 50:31.6, 51
seconds back from World Cup leader Martin Fourcade (FRA), winning the event
with a time of 49:40.6 and one penalty. Andreas Birnbacher (GER) took second
with clean shooting and a time of 49:47.5, and Serhiy Semenov (UKR) finished
third posting 50:12.5 and no penalties.
fifth place finished marked Burke's fifth appearance among the Top-5 finishers
in World Cup racing this season. "This is clearly the toughest course that
I have ever raced," said Burke. "I was very happy to see today that I
can be among the best on this course when I am in good shape. Not only are the
uphills brutal here but the downhills feel like they belong on a GS course. It
was great to have a chance to feel out the course today, now I know what I need
to focus on for training this year. I feel like I am in my best shape of the
year now, so I am really looking forward to the remaining races."
Bailey (Lake Placid,
NY) tied for 47th place with Milanko Petrovic (SRB), posting a time of 54:42.5
(+4). Leif Nordgren (Marine, MN) was 62nd (56:20.8/+4), and Russell
Currier (Stockholm, ME) finished 80th (58:47.9/+5). Extended results from
today's 20k individual are available here.
women's 15k individual, Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT) and Annelies Cook (Saranac
Lake, NY) posted their best finishes of the 2012-13 season at eighth and 14th
place, respectively. Dunklee held the lead early in today's race, cleaning her
first three stages at the range, but one missed shot at the fourth stage gave
World Cup leader Tora Berger (NOR) an opening to advance. Dayra Domracheva
(BLR) came back for the win with a time of 45:45.2/+2, Olga Zaitseva (RUS) took
second with clean shooting and a time of 46:19.8, Berger posted one penalty and
finished third at 46:32. Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID) finished 42nd with
two penalties and a time of 51:44.6. Extended results from today's women's 15k
individual are available here.
Olympic course is a tough one with lots of climbing," said Dunklee.
"Luckily it plays to our team's strengths, and Annelies and myself had our
best results of the year. We are psyched! My strategy going into today was to
hold back a little bit on the first loops to give myself a chance to shoot well
in the early stages and to save my legs for the second half of the race," she
really excited about the result and the skiing today," said Cook. "I
was uncertain about how this day would go but I was very pleased to shoot clean
for three stages and that meant a lot to me. The course here is really hard
with big steep uphills, twisty downhills, and altitude. I tried to stay really
relaxed the first loop and even then, I wasn't totally sure I could keep going
that way. My skis were super awesome and they have been for the past ten races
and that helped me a lot, especially mentally. Our coaches were all over the
course with positive messages. In the last standing, I hit the first shot and
thought, 'Oh good- at least I won't dirty this last stage. Maybe I can clean,'
and then I missed. Not the right way to think, but that's what makes biathlon
such a challenge," added Cook.
in Sochi continues Saturday with the men's 10k sprint beginning at 7am (EST)
and the women's 7.5k sprint set to begin at 10am (EST). Both events will be
webcast live at www.biathlonworld.com.