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Summer Biathlon World Championships opens today

Tue, Sep  23, 2008 - By US Biathlon Association

Bessans, Haute Maurienne Vanoise, France. Competitions begin today at the 13th Annual IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships in this high-altitude location, nestled in Alps of southeastern France, on Italian Border.

Six competitors from the US are among the 220 entrants from 28 nations entered in five days of running and rollerski biathlon competitions. The US Team, a mix of experienced and novice biathletes is comprised of three men and three women.

Leading the US squad is US National Champion Doug Hoover (Williamsburg, PA), making his third appearance at the Summer World Championships. He finished in the top 20 in the Sprint in both the 2003 and 2006 Championships. In addition to competing, Hoover also coordinates the Summer Biathlon competitions across the US. In his “spare time,” Hoover is the Assistant Track and Field and Cross Country Coach at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

Another veteran competitor is Danny Fink (Morgantown, WV) who will be competing in his sixth Championships. Fink is an accomplished triathlete and former National Masters 5K Champion.

The third male competitor is Anthony Rizzo (Wapwallopen, PA), the current National Junior Champion. Rizzo, a senior at Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was district champion in cross-country and the 3200-meter run last year. This will be his first international competition.

Stephanie Blackstone (Everett, PA), the 2008 US Summer Biathlon National Champion is a 2008 graduate of Kent State University in Ohio, where she was an All-Conference honoree in both cross-country and track & field. Blackstone is a freelance photographer.

Molly Susla (Freeport, ME), the US National Junior Champion will be competing in her second Summer World Championships. She was on the US Team that went to Estonia last fall. Susla is a student at Freeport High School.

Kaitlyn Bernard (Fort Kent, ME) makes her World Championships’ debut this week. Bernard is an avid winter competitor who has competed in most of the major North American competitions. The Fort Kent High School student is looking forward to this next level of competition.

The US Team competes in the Sprint competitions on Wednesday. The Men’s 4K Sprint starts at 10:00 Central European Daylight Time, followed by the Women’s 3K Sprint at 1:00 PM. The Pursuit competitions follow on Thursday, with the Men’s 6K starting at 10:00 CEDT and the Women’s 5K at 1:00 PM. Rollerski competitions fill out the schedule on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with top winter athletes from France, Italy, and Switzerland competing for titles in the Sprint, Pursuit, and Mixed Relay.

Video highlights and complete results can be found at the new IBU website, www.biathlonworld.com .

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.