Lahti remained cold and snowy today, as temperatures hovered near minus 5 Celsius, with the wind cutting across the shooting range in gusts. Under these conditions, Burke started strong with clean shooting in the first prone and standing stages, putting him third going to the second prone stage. In that stage, he missed one shot. “It was simply a bad shot and I knew it was gone,” he commented. Still, he remained in 12th position before the final shooting stage.
Even with another penalty in that stage, he shot better than most of the field. After the top 20 (most of whom had one or two penalties), penalties soared from three to an average of five.
Talking about his race and the course after the competition, Burke added, “I way overheld the last shot, so there was no way I was going to hit it. As always, I would have liked to have that one back! However, after a two week break, I am fairly happy with today—just two penalties. I felt pretty good skiing. The course did not seem quite as hard as two days ago in training. Nevertheless, the climb out of the stadium is 2K long before the first downhill, so it is hard. I finished above my World Ranking (22nd) and anytime I do that, I am pretty satisfied.”
Like Burke, Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) started strong. He had one penalty in the first prone stage, and then followed with a clean and fast standing stage. He entered the second prone stage in 18th position. He then missed two shots and an additional one in the last standing stage and fell out of contention. He finished 56th, 6:38.2 back.
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) matched Hakkinen on the shooting range with five penalties, but finished 71st, 9:02.6 back. Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) coming back from a bout of the flu over the break, almost beat Bailey, finishing just one-tenth of a second behind him, in 72nd place. Teela had six penalties.
Denise Teela (Anchorage, AK), finished 64th in the Women’s 15K Individual on Wednesday, but more importantly had only two penalties in the 20-shot competition.
Teela finished in between the Barnes sisters (Durango, CO) in the standings, with Lanny at 59th place and Tracy 68th. The Barnes sisters had three penalties each.
For Teela, this was her best effort in a World Cup competition. “This was good for Denise today,” commented coach Per Nilsson. “We decided before the race that she would approach today as a threshold type of workout, because the course is really tough and this is her first race after having pneumonia during the World Championships.”
Teela had two clean stages, as did Lanny Barnes. Nilsson added, “Lanny’s prone shooting today was some of here best of the season, very good cadence, and nice center shots.The three US women were 9:14.4, 10:33.8, and 11:09.5 back respectively.
The next competition in Lahti is the Women’s 7.5K Sprint on Friday. The United States Biathlon Association is the National Governing Body for the sport of Biathlon in the United States as recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Biathlon Union. The US Biathlon Association supports the US Biathlon Team and development of the sport on all levels within the United States.
TD Banknorth is the title sponsor of the US Biathlon Team. Lapua, adidas®, the Hilton Family of Hotels and Exel Ski Poles are supporting sponsors of the US Biathlon Team.