Bailey Battles to 33rd in Olympic Sprint

By Bill Kellick | Feb. 11, 2018, 1:46 p.m. (ET)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (February 11, 2018) – Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) battled through the elements to a 33rd-place finish Sunday in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. Bailey was one of three Americans to finish in the top 60 and qualify for Monday’s 12.5km pursuit. Joining him will be Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) who finished 47th, and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) who was 58th.

With a stiff breeze blowing across the shooting range and the temperature pegged at 12 degrees Fahrenheit at the start, the competitors also faced gusty winds throughout the course at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre. The trying conditions resulted in only four men in the 87-man field cleaning all 10 targets.

Bailey had just one miss in standing to finish 1 minute, 15.6 seconds behind clean-shooting gold medalist Arnd Peiffer of Germany, who completed the course in 23:38.8. Michal Krcmar of Czech Republic won the silver medal, also with clean shooting, 4.4 seconds back, while Dominik Windisch of Italy captured the bronze medal with one penalty, 7.7 seconds behind Peiffer.

“I had a good performance on the range, I was happy with the shooting but, unfortunately, I just didn’t have it in the legs,” Bailey said. “I just haven’t had the ski shape that I had last year. I haven’t gotten the speed going this year and that’s the way biathlon is. It wasn’t a bad race. I had a really good first lap, I just didn’t have it on the second and third laps. With any luck I’ll feel better and better as the Games go on.”

See Bailey's NBC interview here.

Burke had four penalties on the range to finish 1:47.5 off the pace. He missed two targets in prone and the other two in standing.

“It’s a tough course,” said Burke. “You have longer climbs. A lot of biathlon courses it seems like the climbs are only 30 seconds long before you get a break. Here you have a couple climbs that are significantly longer than that.”

Nordgren had just two penalties, with one coming in prone and the other in standing, as he made it under the cutoff for qualification for tomorrow’s pursuit.

“The wind made it really tough today on the shooting range and on the tracks,” stated Nordgren. “You come down a couple of the fairways here and turn the corner and the wind is like hitting a brick wall in the face. It’s an insanely tough field so two misses was too much for the Olympics today.”

Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) was the first American out of the start house but suffered four penalties in prone at the first shooting stage.

“I really thought I had a handle on it in zero,” said Doherty. “I had a good shooting warmup and thought I had it under control but obviously something was off.”

Doherty did rebound to clean from standing, but the early penalties were too much to overcome and he fell outside the pursuit qualification window in 65th place.

Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) will join Bailey, Burke and Nordgren in Monday’s pursuit races. Dreissigacker will compete in the women’s 10km sprint starting at 7:10 p.m. local time, while the men’s 12.5km race will be held at 9:00 p.m. Both races will be live streamed at http://stream.nbcolympics.com/.

Men’s 10km sprint results

1.

Arnd Peiffer (GER)

23:38.8/+0

2.

Michal Krcmar (CZE)

+4.4/+0

3.

Dominik Windisch (ITA)

+7.7/+1

33.

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.)

+1:15.6/+1

47.

Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.)

+1:47.5/+4

58.

Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.)

+2:10.2/+2

65.

Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.)

+2:16.4/+4