NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine –As the first trimester of the IBU World Cup season comes to a close, US Biathlon is pleased to announce that Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, MN) have been nominated to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team.
Cook and Nordgren join Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY), and Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT), whose nominations to the Olympic Team were announced in November.
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. At least one woman and one man - Cook and Nordgren - have been nominated following the December World Cups, which concluded on Dec 15th. The remaining selections for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team will be made in January 2014. All nominations are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
A member of the U.S. Biathlon team since 2009, and currently in her third season on the IBU World Cup circuit, Cook, 29, posted two top-20 finishes during the 2012-13 World Cup season – 14th (individual) and 18th (sprint), both at the Sochi World Cup.
“I am very relieved to be named to the Olympic Team; it is something I have dreamed of since I was a kid,” said Cook. “It hasn't really sunk in yet, and I think I will be most excited when the entire team is named and we can look forward to it together. These past few weeks of racing were not exactly what I was hoping for so it is really good that I can just focus on training and recovering now. It is good to have a break and be at home for Christmas to prepare.”
Nordgren, 24, is in his fourth year competing on the IBU World Cup circuit. A strong relay anchor, he contributed to Team USA’s sixth place men’s relay finish at the 2011 IBU World Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, a 10th place finish at the 2010 World Championships in Ruhpolding, and a 12th place finish at the 2013 IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto, CZE. As a junior, Nordgren posted two top-10 finishes – fifth (mass start) and sixth (pursuit) – in the 2010 IBU Junior World Championships in Torsby, Sweden.
“I'm not sure it's still really sunk in yet, but I'm pretty excited,” said Nordgren. “I tried not to think about the qualification process too much this last trimester, but I definitely couldn't help myself sometimes. I'm still a little disappointed with how most of my races went so far this year; I've struggled with some sickness as well. I'm looking forward to getting back to a little training over the break and starting to ramp up towards the Games. This is a lifelong dream come true, and I'm really excited to be a part of the team!”
“I am very excited to see Annelies and Leif qualify for the team, said Max Cobb, US Biathlon CEO. “Both have scored top-20 at the World Cup and they both had great training this year. I am confident that all their hard work will allow them to score some personal best performances this winter and that is a very exciting prospect.”
“For both it will be their first Olympics, so qualifying early will take a big burden off their shoulders and now they can focus on executing what they worked hard on during the training season,” said Bernd Eisenbichler, US Biathlon High Performance Director. “Both clearly belong and earned their spots on the team for Sochi. I am excited to have them both on the team.”