US Biathlon U.S. Ends Olympic Ga...

U.S. Ends Olympic Games on High Note With 6th in Men's Relay

By Bill Kellick | Feb. 23, 2018, 9:38 a.m. (ET)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (February 23, 2018) – The U.S. Biathlon Team ended the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games on a high note with a sixth-place finish in Friday’s men’s 4x7.5-kilometer relay at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre. The performance ties the best-ever finish in an Olympic relay for the U.S., equaling a sixth place in the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. The quartet of Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) finished 3 minutes, 50.2 seconds behind the winning time of Sweden, with 14 spares and two penalties.

“As a team we can be proud of that, even though we were hoping for more,” said Nordgren who skied the anchor leg for Team USA.

Bailey led off for the U.S. and with the gusty wind playing tricks on the shooting range he needed two spare rounds in both prone and standing to hit all five targets. He made the first exchange with Doherty in 11th place, 50.6 seconds off the lead pace set by Germany.

“This race is a little different,” Bailey commented about the relay format. “You not only have your own hopes and dreams riding on it, but you’ve got your three other teammates. It adds a little bit of pressure and it’s the Olympics, and the more pressure there is the more I have to remind myself that the only thing you can do is go out and do your best.”

Doherty, the youngest member of the men’s team at 22, had the best leg of the race, using just one spare in prone and cleaning all five targets in standing. His effort moved the team up to sixth position at the second exchange with Burke, 53.6 seconds off the lead and just 37 seconds from medal contention.

“I had a good race,” said Doherty. “I struggled with the prone earlier on and got that kind of dialed in today. Standing was good, I had a little break in the wind and I took full advantage. I shot pretty fast, pretty aggressive but I hit all five from the clip and that’s what really moved things up.”

Burke maintained the team’s position in the field with great shooting of his own. He cleaned from prone and needed three spare rounds in standing, and moved up to fifth place as he made the final exchange to Nordgren.

Although Nordgren struggled at the range, needing two laps of the penalty loop after prone and using all three spares in standing, he still brought the team home with its highest finish of the PyeongChang Games.

“In prone I was just getting thrown around by the wind,” Nordgren said. “It’s kind of given me trouble the whole couple of weeks here and obviously I never quite figured it out.”

The wind caused havoc for all 18 teams in the race, with only gold-medal winning Sweden avoiding the penalty loop. The field used a total of 203 spare rounds. It was Sweden’s first-ever Olympic relay gold medal. Norway took the silver and Germany captured the bronze.

For Bailey and Burke, it was by all indications their final Olympic race after competing in four Games together. However, both are encouraged by the growth of the U.S. biathlon program during their careers.

“I feel like it’s in good hands,” Burke said. “We have an incredible staff, great group of coaches, some great young guys and girls coming up. There’s still a lot of work to do. We’ve made big steps and we’re all really happy about that, but we want more and expect more and I think this program can do more.”

Men’s 4x7.5km Relay results


Sweden (Femling, Nelin, Samuelsson, Lindstroem)



Norway (Birkeland, T. Boe, J.T. Boe, Svendsen)



Germany (Lesser, Doll, Peiffer, Schempp)



USA (Bailey, Doherty, Burke, Nordgren)


Related Athletes

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Lowell Bailey

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Sean Doherty

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Tim Burke

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Leif Nordgren