SOCHI, Russia (February 22, 2014) – Team USA's relay squad - Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine), Sean Doherty (Center Conway, NH) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, MN) – closed out the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games with a 16th in the men's 4x7.5-kilometer relay. Posting a time of 1:17:39.1 (3+12), the team finished 5:23.2 back from Russia (Volkov, Ustyugov, Malyshko, Shipulin) winning gold with a time of 1:12:15.9 (0+8). Germany (Lesser, Boehm, Peiffer, Schempp) took silver (1:12:19.4/0+2), and Austria (Sumann, Mesotitsch, Eder, Landertinger) won bronze (1:12:45.7/0+7). Extended results from the men’s relay can be found here.
Bailey had a strong start for Team USA, skiing the lead in the first loop and cleaning both stages. “I wanted to push the pace in the first loop, so things went well there,” said Bailey. “On the range, I didn’t try to push the shooting and I didn’t try to do anything but hit the targets. A lot of times in relays, you try to shoot faster because you have those extra rounds, but I just tried to take quality shots. I shot a little slower, but I was able to hit everything.”
Skiing the second leg, Currier ran into some challenges on the range. “I got into a good start and I was on pace for something good, but I really couldn’t keep it together for prone, which hurt our chances,” said Currier.
Doherty, the youngest-ever US Biathlon Olympian, made his Olympic debut tonight. “I think it was pretty good," said Doherty of his first race. "I took too many in prone, but it was a good race. It was high pace right from the get-go, and I think I held it together pretty well. It was fun. I tried to keep a level head with all the emotions and excitement running high here with my first Olympic start. It’s real exciting.”
Nordgren anchored the team. “This is the first time I’ve skied since Tuesday,” said Nordgren, who has been sick and in bed for the last four days. "I had an okay race, I kind of struggled a lot in standing with two extras, but it was an okay race. I’m happy with it considering how I feel." Reflecting on his first trip to the Games, Nordgren added, “Overall the Games have been an awesome experience. To be in this relay, it's something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid. To be here is a pretty surreal experience.”
Team USA's biathletes will march in tomorrow night’s Olympic Closing Ceremony in Sochi. Doherty will head back to the U.S. to compete in the 2014 IBU Junior World Championships in Presque Isle, Maine (2/28-3/3). The senior team will head to Pokljuka for the start of the final trimester of IBU World Cup competitions on March 6th.