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Jeremy Teela Third at Whistler World Cup

Biathlon

Tue, Mar  17, 2009 - By US Biathlon Association

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, March 11. Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) turned in the best result of his career with a third place finish in the 20K Individual competition today.

Teela’s third place is the best US result in a World Cup level competition since Josh Thompson finished second in the Canmore, Canada World Cup in 1992, in ironically the same event, the 20K.

Teela, whose best ever 20K previously was 14th place in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City found some magic at this venue that will host the 2010 Olympic winter Games next February. From the outset, Teela was having a great day. At the first split on the course, he was in the fastest of the fifty plus competitors at that point.

He cleaned the first prone stage very deliberately, and was in the top 10. After a single miss in the first standing stage, he was in seventh position and skiing very fast. Every time a message came over the US radios, his fast skiing was the number one topic. The second prone stage was clean and suddenly, he was in fifth position going into the final standing stage. Coach Per Nilsson called out his final five shots over the radio and ended with, “Teela cleaned!” he left the shooting range in third and moved up to second position by the finish. A later finisher Daniel Bohm of Germany just nipped Teela for second place, by 4.4 seconds.

He commented, “For sure this is a special result in a special place for me, as I have family that lives just across the border in Washington State. This was definitely unexpected for me. I do not know when the last time was that I shot 19-for-20 in an Individual competition. I am pretty happy to be on the podium right now.”

His big result came after a big break from biathlon after the World Championships in Korea, where his best result was 44th in the 20K, with four penalties. He explained, “After World Championships, I went home and did some telemark skiing for a week, then did some easy cross-country training. I did not pick up my rifle until this week. Nevertheless, I felt very good the past couple of days. I followed my race plan to shoot deliberately and that worked. My coaches kept telling me during the race that I was skiing among the top seven throughout the race, but it did not feel that fast.”

He continued, “I felt really good the past couple of days. You know that you get those false feelings sometimes. However, in the race, I actually felt powerful and strong, after the good break. I have been at altitude for two weeks and lost about 6 pounds in that time. I had a game plan for shooting and knew where I wanted to slow down in the approach. I did not think I was skiing that fast. It was just a normal day for me. I did not do anything different. I spent about two hours on the computer, went for a run, and dry fired. It was just another day at the office. I cannot control what other people do. Others shot badly and I did not. This is a little bit of both skill and luck.”

He commented, “For sure this is a special result in a special place for me, as I have family that lives just across the border in Washington State. This was definitely unexpected for me. I do not know when the last time was that I shot 19-for-20 in an Individual competition. I am pretty happy to be on the podium right now.”

In closing, he added, “Today was a very special day. I have not seen my parents in about two years. They were here today to watch the competition. That was nice. They have supported me in every way for the past 15 years and never pushed me. My mom and dad are just psyched to be here. They would have been as happy if I was third or 40th today, but being third with them here is something else.”

Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) finished 23rd, with three penalties, 2:39.9 back, while Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) was 43rd, with two penalties, 3:53.3 back and Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), with four penalties, was 50th , 4:23 back.