Pyeongchang, Korea February 15. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) finished 21st tonight in the wind-battered 12.5K Pursuit competition.
Burke recorded the 10th fastest ski time of the day, which enabled him to finish 21st. After missing two standing shots in Saturday’s Sprint, Burke’s bad luck in the constant battle with the wind here continued today. He missed one shot in the first prone stage, and two in the second, which kept him around 15th place. In the first standing stage, he faced winds that easily reached near 60 Km/Hour, and missed four shots, dropping him far back in the field. He skied his way back into the twenties and picked up only one penalty in the final stage. After the penalty loop, he flew around the 2.5K loop to finish 21st, 4:13.1 back despite eight penalties. This 21st place combined with his 11th in the Sprint almost ensures him a place in the 30-man Mass Start competition later in the week.
His teammate Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) finished just 1.2 seconds behind Burke in 22nd place, with four penalties. Bailey, who started 56th and made the biggest improvement of any athlete in the field, was very satisfied with his performance, commenting, “I thought that if I had five penalties, I could move into the top forty. Ironically, with four, I finished 22nd. Shooting clean in the final stage was really important. This is my best World Championships result, and came after several disappointing races. This race is more what I expected.”
He commented on his roommate and best friend Tim Burke’s luck. “Tim just had bad luck with the wind today. He was skiing great. But that is biathlon.”
Ole Einar Björndalen won the competition, giving him two victories in two days. Björndalen had four penalties, yet had a 41.7-second margin of victory over Maxim Tchoudov of Russia. Tchoudov had one less penalty than the Norwegian did. Alexander Os of Norway, fourth in the Sprint, finished third, also with three penalties, 52.8 seconds back.
Earlier in the evening, Lanny Barnes (Durango, CO) had her best performance of the year, finishing 39th in the Women’s 10K Pursuit competition. Barnes hit 19-of 20 shots, recoding her only penalty in the final standing stage. US Biathlon Coach commented, “That was a great shooting performance for Lanny.” Barnes finished 4:19.3 behind Helena Jonsson of Sweden who captured her first individual World Championship. She had only two penalties, both in the first prone stage. her 43:12.3 time put her 18.2 seconds ahead of Kati Wilhelm of Germany the Sprint Champion. Wilhelm and third place Olga Zaitseva of Russia both had six penalties.
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