Meet the Newest US Biathlon 2014 Olympic Team Nominees
NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine (January 13, 2014) – US Biathlon’s International Competition Committee (ICC) is pleased to announce the following roster of athletes for nomination to the 2014 United States Olympic Team:
US Biathlon 2014 Olympic Team Nominations
Lowell Bailey, Lake Placid, NY (2006, 2010 Olympian)
Lanny Barnes, Durango, CO (2006, 2010 Olympian)
Tim Burke, Paul Smiths, NY (2006, 2010 Olympian)
Annelies Cook, Saranac Lake, NY
Russell Currier, Stockholm, Maine
Sean Doherty, Center Conway, NH
Hannah Dreissigacker, Morrisville, VT
Susan Dunklee, Barton, VT
Leif Nordgren, Marine, MN
Sara Studebaker, Boise, Idaho (2010 Olympian)
Up to two male and two female biathletes – Bailey, Burke and Dunklee - were eligible to earn early nominations to the Olympic Team during the 2012-13 season by gaining two top-15 finishes in World Cup or World Championship competition, or by having a top-30 overall World Cup ranking. Cook and Nordgren were nominated following the December World Cups. The following athletes are the remaining nominees for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team and were announced yesterday following the IBU Cup races in Riduan, Italy. All nominations are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
A three-time Olympian, Lanny Barnes, 32, hails from Durango, CO. Lanny, along with her twin sister Tracy, has been a member of the US Biathlon team since 2004. Growing up, Lanny and Tracy learned to shoot from their father, and have been hunting since the age of seven. The sisters didn’t get on skis, or even think about combining shooting and skiing, until they met a US Biathlon coach at a local competition. At the age of 18, the sisters made their first Junior World Championship team (2001), and Lanny medaled in the 2003 Junior World Championships (3rd place, individual).
A special backstory developed this weekend. During the final four team selection races for the 2014 Olympic Team, Lanny was sick and unable to compete in all but one. Tracy was nominated to the team but chose to decline her nomination, which resulted in Lanny being nominated to the team in her place. To learn more about Lanny, please visit her athlete profile.
"I can't even begin to describe what it means to me that Tracy made such a huge sacrifice for me," said Lanny. "It's hard to put into words what she did and what it means to me. We have been training together every day for the past 15 years, and I know how hard she has worked to make this team. I think that her selfless act encompasses what an Olympian truly is. Often times during the hype of the Games we forget what the Olympics are really about. They aren't about the medals and the fame and all of that. The Olympics are about inspiration, teamwork, excellence, and representation. I can think of no better example of the true Olympic spirit than what Tracy did this past weekend. It took a lot of courage and sacrifice to make such a powerful decision. Tracy selflessly gave me her spot, and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity. It's not every day that you are given a second chance like this. I thought my chance at the Olympics was over, but now I've got a second chance and will do everything I can to bring honor to her and our country in Russia."
“Olympic Trials are always an emotional ride and that's good because it is meant to test you on all levels," said Tracy. "The Trials are picking the team that will represent the U.S. in the greatest sporting event in the world. And as the old saying goes...'Only the strong will survive.' Most of the time, that is the case. On occasion the strong don't survive for whatever reason. And that is what I feel happened to Lanny. She's having a stellar season and she bound to do great things this year, but she fell ill during the trials and couldn't race. Because of that she didn't make the team. While most people would say..'that's biathlon, or that's life' - and they'd be absolutely correct in saying that - but what if that person who was hit with a little bit of bad luck got a second chance? What if someone believed in them enough to give them that chance? Well, that's what I did. Easy decision. Heavy situation.
I can think of no greater honor in the world than representing my country in the Olympics and it's something that I've worked towards for over 15 years (half of my life). But the Olympics are about more than just winning gold, or even competing...they are about friendship, cooperation, sacrifice, and a whole host of other things. Lanny is my best friend and my teammate. I see how hard she works on a daily basis, so I know first hand that she is deserving of a spot on the Olympic Team. If I can be the one to give her that opportunity, than that is an honor and a sacrifice that I am willing to make," added Tracy.
Born and raised in the small town of Stockholm, Maine, Russell Currier, 27, will be making his first trip the Olympic Games. At age 12 the Maine Winter Sports Center introduced him to cross-country skiing, and on his 14th birthday he attended his first biathlon practice. His breakout season in 2011-12 featured two sixth-place sprint finishes on the IBU World Cup circuit. To read more about Russell, please visit his athlete page.
"I took the hard road to qualifying this year,” said Currier. “If there was ever the slightest chance of making it, then it was a chance worth taking."
The youngest member of the 2014 US Olympic biathlon team, Sean Doherty, 18, is in his first season on the senior national team. The Center Conway, NH, native had a breakout season in 2013 winning a gold and two silver medals in the IBU Junior World Championships, the first US Biathlon athlete to triple podium at any World Championship event. Sean was also a member of the 2012 U.S. Youth Olympic Games squad competing in Innsbruck, Austria, where he won a bronze as a member of the mixed relay team.
“Right now I am just feeling incredibly honored to be nominated to the team, said Doherty. “I am looking forward to training and competing in Antholtz, and being part of Team USA!”
A graduate of Dartmouth College, Hannah Dreissigacker, 27, took up biathlon in 2009 after graduation. This is her second season as a member of the US Biathlon national team. She has competed in several biathlon World Cups in 2013, as well as World Championships. Hannah is from Morrisville, VT, but spends most of this year based out of Keene, NY and training for biathlon in Lake Placid, NY. She is a member of the Craftsbury Green Racing Team, based in Craftsbury, VT - a team of elite athletes pursuing national team and Olympic aspirations, while keeping with an environmentally conscious lifestyle. For more information about Hannah, please visit her athlete profile.
“If you had asked me when I was five what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would have said that I wanted to go to the Olympics,” said Dreissigacker. “In recent years I've just been trying to think about having fun, enjoying the process, and trying to be the best that I can be, instead of focusing on big goals like the Olympics. But I am so excited to be going to the Olympics, and to have enjoyed the process as well. I'm so proud to represent my family, friends, hometown, local ski club, state and country!”
Sara Studebaker, 29, is making her second trip to the Olympics, following her Olympic debut at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. A Boise, Idaho native, she currently lives and trains at both the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York and in Anchorage, Alaska. Sara graduated from Dartmouth College in June 2007, and moved to Lake Placid, NY, to begin training as a member of the US Biathlon Team. In the 2010-2011 season, she finished a personal-best 14th in the Presque Isle, Maine World Cup and ended the season ranked 34th in the world. In the 2011-2012 season, Sara had another top finish with a 15th place in the World Cup sprint in Kontiolahti, Finland. Sara has been a member of the US World Championship Team for the past three years. To find out more about Sara, please visit her athlete profile.
“I am so excited to be representing Team USA in Sochi,” said Studebaker. “I'm especially looking forward to sharing this experience with such a great team. It is an honor to be a part of this group of biathletes.”
Bill Burke of Cape Elizabeth Maine was elected Chairman of the Board of US Biathlon in December. The best-selling author will be attending the first week of the Olympic Games in Sochi. "I want to congratulate the athletes on being nominated to the Olympic Team. Every one of them has shown a dedication to excellence and a love of the sport that has led them to this outstanding accomplishment," said Burke. "I can't wait to cheer them on in person at the Olympics and to celebrate their achievements with their families."
US Biathlon President and CEO Max Cobb will also be at the Games serving as the Technical Delegate for the biathlon events. "I am very pleased with the progress the athletes on the team have made. It's the result of their focused training with some of the world's best coaches and high performance staff," said Cobb. "There is one more World Cup in Antholz, Italy before the Olympic Games and we are looking forward to seeing the team in action there. Our top ranked athletes, Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey, have both had podium-level performances, and the Olympic rookies have had very compelling performances that indicate personal-bests lie ahead for them this season. The range of age and experience on the team is impressive, from Tim Burke who won a World Championship silver last season to Sean Doherty, an 18-year-old who won a gold and two silvers at the Youth World Championships to Susan Dunklee who finished fifth at the 2012 World Championships. With four athletes who have had top-six World Cup finishes this is the strongest and deepest team we have ever sent to the Games. All of them will be working together with the great team of coaches and ski technicians to try and win America’s first ever Olympic biathlon medal."