By Gary R. Blockus | Dec. 16, 2017, 5:41 p.m. (ET)

 

It’s official: Tim Burke is headed to his fourth Olympic Winter Games and Sean Doherty to his second.

Burke and Doherty join reigning world champion Lowell Bailey as members of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Biathlon Team seeking to earn their nation’s first medals in the sport at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 in February.

Burke, 35, from Paul Smiths, New York, and Doherty, 22, from Center Conway, New Hampshire, both qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team by virtue of top-30 finishes in this season’s world cup events.

Up to two men would join Bailey with top-30 finishes earned at the November and December world cups, which end this weekend. Burke and Doherty were the only American men to reach that mark, aside from Bailey.

Burke had been shut out of the top 30 until the IBU World Cup 3 in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France this weekend. He finished 10th in Friday’s 10-kilometer sprint, and 26th in Saturday’s 12.5-kilometer pursuit.

Burke competed in the Olympic Winter Games in 2006, 2010 and 2014. He won a world championship silver medal in the 20-kilometer individual in 2013 for the nation’s first world medal in the sport in 26 years.

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Doherty, who won a bronze medal in the mixed relay at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Innsbruck 2012, earned four top-30 finishes this season, making his place on the 2018 Olympic team safe.

His string of top finishes began with placing 22nd in the 10-kilometer sprint and 17th in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit at the IBU World Cup 2 in Hochfilzen, Austria earlier this month.

In France this weekend, Doherty finished 17th in the 10-kilometer sprint and 30th in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit.

Doherty, one of the rising young men’s stars for Team USA in biathlon, was the youngest American biathlete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.

Doherty established himself as a skier and marksman to watch early on by becoming the all-time winningest athlete at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships with 10 medals.

He won a gold and two silvers in 2013 when he became the first and only U.S. biathlete to make three podiums in a world championship event, and triple-podiumed again in 2016 to finish his junior career with four gold medals, four silver and two bronze.

Two more men will be named to the U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team by mid-January.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.