SOCHI, Russia (February 8, 2014) – Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) led Team USA with a 19th place finish in the men’s 10k sprint event, kicking off the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games biathlon competition.
Burke had a time of 25:23.3 and one penalty, 49.8 behind gold medalist Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway (24:33.5/+1). Austria's Dominik Landertinger claimed the silver medal (24:34.8/+0). Jaroslav Soukup of the Czech Republic won the bronze with a time of 24:39.2/+0, edging Russia's Anton Shipulin by 0.7 seconds in 4th (24:39.9/+1). Bjoerndalen’s win marks his 12th medal, tying him for most won in Olympic Winter Games.
“To be at my best today I needed to have a great training camp coming in and be healthy, that was not the case,” said Burke. “This is the first race in many weeks for me. and I ran out of gas towards the end. It wasn’t that bad, and I feel like I’ll get better with each race. I’m happy with the performance, but not very happy with the result.”
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) finished in 35th place with a time of 26:04 and two penalties, while Leif Nordgren (Marine on St. Croix, Minn.) was 45th with a 26:17.4 and clean shooting. Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine) was 61st, completing the course in 26:58.5 with four penalties.
“I felt ok today, not great,” said Bailey. “It’s a tough course, and 80% is well under my average for shooting this season. I’m disappointed, but I will put it behind me and move forward.”
Nordgren and Currier made their Olympic debut with tonight’s race.
“It was the first time I shot clean this season, but the skiing wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping it would be,” said Nordgren. “This is my first race in about a month, so I’m not surprised, although I’m a little bummed. Tonight’s race makes me feel pretty confident and I know I can do better in the races to come.”
“It wasn’t the race I was hoping for today, but at the end of the day it’s still the Olympics and it’s great just to be here,” said Currier.
Extended results from the men’s 10K sprint can be found here.
Olympic biathlon racing resumes tomorrow with the women’s 7.5k sprint beginning at 9:30am (ET). The women’s race will be webcast live online here. Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT) will start with bib #11, Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY) #57, Hannah Dreissiigacker (Morrisville, VT) #63, and Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID) #74.
A full schedule of Olympic biathlon events can be found here.
(Photo credit: Paul Phillips)