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Underkofler takes eighth in 15k

March 15, 2010, 6:43 p.m. (ET)

Whistler Paralympic Park - Kelly Underkofler (St. Paul, Minn.) posted a time of 58:19.6 in the women's standing 15K free event for an eighth-place finish overall to highlight cross-country competition Monday at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

"I'm really pleased with how I raced today," said Underkofler, who had been dealing with muscle tightness following Saturday's biathlon competition. "I'm not a long-distance skier; I'm much more of a sprinter. I felt strong through the whole thing, which is great. There are some really tough uphills out there and I didn't quit. I kept pushing and I feel really happy with it."

In a field of eleven competitors, Russia's Anna Burmistrova claimed the gold medal with a time of 49:16.3. Iuliia Batenkova of the Ukraine finished 7.2 seconds back for the silver medal with a time of 49:23.5, followed by Poland's Katarzyna Rogowiec in a 51:04.1 for bronze.

Underkofler finished ninth in Saturday's women's standing biathlon 3K pursuit. At 25 years old, she is the youngest member of the 2010 U.S. Nordic Paralympic team. She competed in six different Nordic events, including biathlon, at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. In Torino, Underkofler placed 4th in the long-distance biathlon, 7th in short-distance biathlon, 7th in Nordic team relay, 8th in the 5K freestyle, 9th in the 10K classic and 10th in the 15K freestyle.

Underkofler will return to the course Wednesday at Whistler Paralympic Park, where she and U.S. teammate Andy Soule (Pearland, Texas) will compete for medals in the men's sitting 12.5 km and women's standing 12.5 km biathlon events.

Results: Women's Standing 15K Free

1. RUS: BURMISTROVA, Anna (49:16.3)

2. UKR: BATENKOVA, Iuliia (49:23.5)

3. POL: ROGOWIEC, Katarzyna (51:04.1)

4. UKR: KONONOVA, Oleksandra (51:29.5)

5. SUI: DEVITTORI-VALNEGRI, Chiara (52:58.8)

6. CAN: BARBER, Jody (55:37.0)

7. CHN: PENG, Yuanyuan (55:43.3)

8. USA: UNDERKOFLER, Kelly (58:19.6)

9. RUS: GORBUNOVA, Alena (58:43.7)

10. SWE: SELLIN, Stina (59:01.8)

DNF CAN: BENSON, Mary

For a complete schedule and results, visit www.vancouver2010.com.

Contact: Allison Frederick, U.S. Paralympic Press Officer, allison.frederick@usoc.org, 778-938-8721.

Cross Country: Flash Quotes

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kelly Underkofler (St. Paul, Minn.)

On her race performance:

15K is a hard race; it's long. I feel like I skied strong and held it together in the first two laps and had more to give for the third. I got to finish strong, which is always the goal. I'm really pleased with how I raced today. I'm not a long-distance skier; I'm much more of a sprinter. I felt strong through the whole thing, which is great. There are some really tough uphills out there and I didn't quit. I kept pushing and I feel really happy with it.

On the conditions:

It's warmer today and the snow is a little softer. There are a couple spots where snow is melting off of a bridge, so there are big wet patches that you ski through and it's downhill, so you can fall forward on your face if you're not careful. The snow held up well. It's not very fast, but good.

On her tight legs following Saturday's race:

The tightness was pretty bad. As you can see, I have these rubber bands on my feet. The problem I was having is that this muscle along my shin was getting really tight. The band keeps my toe up and helps me out a little bit. My legs feel pretty good - a little tight on the back side - but much, much better.

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