Clare Egan competes at the IBU Biathlon World Championships on March 12, 2019 in Ostersund, Sweden.
If she was tired, it didn’t show: Olympian Claire Egan closed out the biathlon season Sunday in Norway with her first podium finish on the IBU World Cup circuit, taking bronze in the women’s 12.5-kilometer mass start.
“There is always a lot of opportunity at the end of the season when everyone is mentally and physically exhausted,” the 31-year-old Egan told U.S. Biathlon Thursday after staking 12th place in Thursday’s 7.5K sprint race, just one off her career best in the event. “I'm proud that I was able to take advantage of that, even though I'm in the same boat.”
She capitalized again in Sunday’s 12.5K mass start, finishing in 36 minutes, 6.6 seconds, which was 10.4 seconds behind Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg, a 2018 Olympic gold medalist. Hot on Oeberg’s heels was five-time Olympic medalist Tiril Eckhoff of Norway, who crossed the line 1.3 seconds behind the leader.
Hitting 19 out of the 20 targets on the Oslo course—the best shooting total among the top 10—helped Egan mostly avoid the penalty loop, and distanced her from fourth-place finisher Denise Herrmann of Germany. Egan, who entered the weekend ranked 20th in the world cup standings, finishes her season 18th overall.
Egan’s podium finish proved to be the only one this world cup season for the U.S. biathlon team, matching the total from 2017-18.
The Cape Elizabeth, Maine, native was 61st in the sprint and 62nd as an individual in her Olympic debut last year PyeongChang, but she has been steadily climbing the rankings in 2019. She finished 11th in the sprint and 12th in the pursuit at the 2019 world championships in Ostersund, Sweden, and notched 26th in the mass start.
Egan, a former Division I athlete in track, cross-country and Nordic skiing, joined U.S. Biathlon’s development program following the 2014 season.
Heading into the weekend, Egan wrote on Twitter that she would “go for the (bouquet),” adding an emoji of a bunch of flowers. She got one on the podium—and a shiny bronze medal to boot.