New Gloucester, ME. Six US Biathletes will be on the starting line when the 2007-2008 Biathlon World Cup season kicks off on November 28 in Kontiolahti, Finland.
The team of four men and two women includes Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY), Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK), Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) and twin sisters Lanny and Tracy Barnes (Durango, CO).
Burke, who finished last season ranked 25th in the world, the highest ever for a US biathlete, is expected to lead the team once again. During his breakout season, Burke scored World Cup points in 18 of 24 competitions, finishing in the top 15 on six different occasions. In a recent interview, he commented on his goals for the coming year. “My number 1 goal is surely getting on the podium. I feel like I was so close a few times (last year) that I now have the experience where I can make that happen on those close days.” Burke finished seventh in the 20K Individual at the Biathlon World Championships last February in Antholz, Italy.
Challenging Burke will be Jay Hakkinen who finished ninth in the Mass Start at the World Championships as well as former UVM cross-country skier, Lowell Bailey. As Burke’s training partner, Bailey has worked hard to match his teammate in training all summer and fall. In an earlier interview, he commented on the upcoming season, “I aspire to have a season as Tim had (last year). To his credit, he set the bar.”
Burke, Bailey, Hakkinen, and Teela comprise the US Men’s Relay Team that was consistently competitive all last year. The group had the best performance in recent history last January when they finished seventh in the Ruhpolding, Germany World Cup.
Lanny and Tracy Barnes will be the female competitors for the US Team in December. Both are looking forward to taking their performances up a notch this year. Lanny had an all time best 15th place in the 15K Individual in Ostersund, Sweden last year. Tracy’s bests go back two years when she had two top 30 finishes in the Pokljuka, Slovenia World Cup.
The US Biathletes are doing their final preparations on snow in Solleftea, Sweden under the guidance of Coaches Mikael Lofgren and Per Nilsson. The group will go to Finland just prior to the first competitions.
The complete Biathlon World Cup schedule can be found on the US Biathlon Team calendar now available through the US Biathlon website, www.usbiathlon.org. The calendar, which sells for $20 has action photos of all of the top US biathletes. Proceeds of calendar sales support the US Biathlon Team.
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®, and Exel Ski Poles are supporting sponsors of the US Biathlon Team.