Known for his musical prowess on the biathlon world cup circuit, Lowell Bailey couldn’t be blamed if he decided to add Jerry Reed’s old country song “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” to his repertoire, because he’s is living proof of the claim.
Fresh off his history-making 20-kilometer gold medal at world championships, the three-time Olympian affirmed his status as a medal contender at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games by taking 10-kilometer sprint silver Friday at the world cup/Olympic test event in South Korea.
The first American to win a biathlon world championship with his victory last month, Bailey overcame constantly shifting wind conditions on the shooting range to go clean on all 10 targets, finishing the 10-kilometer sprint race in 23:51.8, 40.7 seconds behind winner Julian Eberhard of Austria.
Bailey finished nearly five seconds ahead of two-time Olympic champion Martin Fourcade of France, whose recent struggles in the shooting phase cropped up again as he missed twice, dropping to third with a time of 23:56.5. Despite that, the 11-time world champion won his sixth consecutive crystal globe, presented to the overall world cup winner.
The first athlete to earn a spot on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, Bailey pointed to his world championship showing, which included an unprecedented four top-six finishes, as a launching pad for his performance in Korea.
“Sometimes you have these waves as an athlete, sometimes you can have the opposite during the training,” Bailey told BiathlonWorld.com. “Ever since world champs I felt confident. I didn’t know what to expect, I just told myself to do my best. I have an amazing team, from wax technicians to coaches and manager.”
Friday’s result was only Bailey’s second career world cup podium, the first since earning silver in sprint during the 2013-14 season in Kontiolahti, Finland.