U.S. Women Show Strength in World Championship Sprint

By Bill Kellick | March 08, 2019, 12:42 p.m. (ET)

Joanne Reid sprint
Joanne Reid races to a career day in Ostersund (photo by NordicFocus)

OSTERSUND, Sweden (March 8, 2019) – On this International Women's Day, Team USA flexed its muscle with career-best performances in the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint during the second day of the IBU Biathlon World Championships in Ostersund. All three Americans qualified for Sunday's pursuit race.

Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) led the way with a career-best sprint finish of 11th place, which also marked her highest finish at this her fourth world championship. Egan had one penalty in prone but cleaned from standing to finish 33.3 seconds off the winning time.

"It's a thrill to perform your best when it counts," Egan said. "It takes a full team effort, from the wax techs to the sports psychologist, and it's the athlete's job to put the pieces together. To have two out of three athletes set new personal bests is a testament to excellent preparation and teamwork by the whole U.S. Biathlon crew."

Close behind Egan in 15th place was teammate Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, Colo.) who shot clean to post a career-best finish, 50.1 seconds off the pace. Reid's previous best was a 22nd-place finish in the individual race at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. She attributed a shift in race strategy to her career day in Ostersund.

"I have been working all week, actually all month, with (U.S. Women's Coach) Armin (Auchentaller) on improving my race tactics for individual start races," said Reid. "I tried to go out and focus on a few key weak points of mine that can make a tremendous difference. For instance, I have a history of breaking very slowly from the gate, and posting a monumentally slow first lap time. It's a process to undo something built-in like that, but we are working on it. Today, I think it went better than other days."

Reid also shifted her tactics to adapt to the course conditions, as strong wind was blowing almost directly in the athletes' faces on the shooting range, typical of Ostersund.

"There was a little bit of wind playing through the range today, as Ostersund is wont to provide," Reid commented. "For me, that means sacrificing a little bit of shooting speed in favor of accuracy, and that's what I tried for. That certainly doesn't always go according to plan, but I'm lucky that today it did."

Two-time Olympic sprint gold medalist Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakie, with one prone penalty, skied a speedy last loop to secure her first-ever IBU World Championships gold medal, taking the women's sprint in 22:17.5. Norway's Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold shot clean to win the silver medal, 9.7 seconds back. Laura Dahlmeier of Germany claimed the bronze medal, also with clean shooting, 12.6 seconds behind Kuzmina.

Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) rounded out the U.S. effort with a 57th-place finish, securing berths in Sunday's pursuit for the entire team. Dunklee had four penalties on the range, two in prone and two in standing, to cross the line 2:30.6 back.

"It wasn't so long ago that it was the norm to put no USA women at all in the pursuit, and now we can all make it with some consistency," Reid added. "That's a huge step forward and something we can be, and are, quite proud of. I would rather walk to the starting line in the back, but with my teammates in the race, than alone at the front."

Competition continues Saturday with the men's 10km sprint featuring Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.), Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), Jake Brown (Saint Paul, Minn.) and Max Durtschi (Ketchum, Idaho). Live coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. EST.

WAYS TO WATCH:

The live and same-day (SDD)  broadcast schedule for the March 7-17 IBU Biathlon World Championships is as follows:

Times all EST
 

Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA

3/7 10:15-11:45a (LIVE)

3/8 10:15-11:45a (LIVE)

3/9 10:30a-12p (LIVE)

3/10 8:45-9:45a (SDD), 11:30a-12:30p (LIVE)

3/12 10:30a-12:30p (LIVE)

3/13 11a-1p (LIVE)

3/14 12-1p (LIVE)

3/16 12:30-2:30p (SDD)

3/17 10-11a (SDD), 11a-12p (LIVE)

 

NBCSN:

3/7 4-5p (SDD)

3/8 1-2:30p (SDD)

3/13 4-5p (SDD)

3/14 1-2a (SDD)

3/17 1-2a (SDD)

 

In addition to these broadcast air times, streams will be available on all digital platforms: desktop via NBCSports.com/Gold, and mobile, tablet and connected television platforms via the NBC Sports app. Broadcast simulstreams will be available on NBCSports.com/live (http://stream.nbcsports.com/nbc/watch-olympic-channel) and the NBC Sports app (and do not require a Gold subscription to watch).

The NBC Sports Gold premium package will give paid subscribers commercial-free access to each event across the span of the competition. Users can subscribe to the NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass here:https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.

Replay with commentary is also available thru www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.

Women's 7.5km sprint results

1.

Anastasiya Kuzmina (SVK)

22:17.5/+1

2.

Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold (NOR)

+9.7/+0

3.

Laura Dahlmeier (GER)

+12.6/+0

11.

Clare Egan(Cape Elizabeth, Maine)

+33.3/+1

15. Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, Colo.)
+50.1/+0
57.
Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)
+2:30.6/+4