Bronze Finish to Season for Dunklee

By Bill Kellick | March 18, 2018, 12:19 p.m. (ET)

OSLO-HOLMENKOLLEN, Norway (March 18, 2018) – Olympian Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) wrapped up her 2017-18 season on the podium with a bronze medal around her neck. Dunklee finished third in Sunday’s women’s 10-kilometer pursuit on the final day of the BMW IBU World Cup 8 at Holmenkollen Stadium. It was a great way to cap the season for Team USA which had yet to reach a podium.

“I felt like I had the best preparation all summer and fall that I ever had and was really excited for the Olympic season, where so much pressure is put on that,” said Dunklee. “That was tough on me, but being a biathlete is all about being resilient, being able to pick yourself up over and over again. I am so happy to have this payoff at the end.”

Starting in the fourth position, 36 seconds behind leader Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia, Dunklee slipped back to seventh place after skiing the penalty loop following a miss in the first prone shoot. She regrouped to clean the second prone which moved her up to fourth, 25.9 seconds from the lead.

Dunklee’s only other miss at the range came in her first standing stage which knocked her all the way back to ninth, 32.1 seconds off the pace. Coming into the final shooting stage, Dunklee was in 10th position, but after clearing all her targets she exited the range in a battle for third with Japan’s Fuyoko Tachizaki right on her heels.

Dunklee gradually pulled away from Tachizaki for an eight-second advantage at the line to secure the bronze medal in 31 minutes, 6.9 seconds. She was 29.5 seconds behind winner Darya Domracheva of Belarus who attacked on the last loop to pull away from Kuzmina for a 9.2-second victory.

The men’s 4x7.5km relay held later in the day was not only the final race of the season for Team USA (which is boycotting next week’s World Cup final in Russia), it also marked the final race in the long and storied careers of Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.). It was fitting that the two four-time Olympians, who grew up racing together in Lake Placid, would close out their careers on the same day.

And what a memorable day it was. Bailey and Burke teamed up with Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) to finish seventh in the 25-team field. It was the best relay finish for Team USA of the 2017-18 World Cup season, and second only to the team’s sixth-place effort on the final day of the PyeongChang Winter Games. On this day, the American quartet crossed the line 2:01.5 back of gold-medalist Norway, with eight spares and no penalties.

"I was filled with mixed emotions today," said Burke. "I tried to stay in the moment and give my best for the race, but it was definitely a big challenge. I will greatly miss the life of an athlete, but I know that I will always be a part of the USBA family and the Olympic movement. I think it will take a few weeks for this to all set in."

Norway dominated the men’s relay, winning by 50.3 seconds over second-place Austria. Russia placed third, 56.9 seconds back of Norway.

Women’s 10km pursuit results

1.

Darya Domracheva (BLR)

30:37.4/+2

2.

Anastasiya Kuzmina (SVK)

+9.2/+4

3.

Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)

+29.5/+2

 

Men’s 4x7.5km relay results

1.

Norway (Birkeland, L’Abee-Lund, T. Boe, J. Boe)

1:13:13.7/0+3

2.

Austria (Landertinger, Leitner, Eder, Eberhard)

+50.3/0+5

3.

Russia (Tsvetkov, Babikov, Malyshko, Shipulin)

+56.9/0+4

7.

USA (Bailey, Doherty, Burke, Nordgren)

+2:01.5/0+8