(Sjusjøen, Norway) Team USA's Andy Soule (Pearland, Texas) has won the opening IPC Biathlon World Cup competition of the season.
Soule was the only American competing in the event and his gold medal performance was also his first-ever World Cup podium finish.
Soule, who lost both his legs to an improvised explosive device while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, had never been on skis prior to attending a cross country skiing recruitment camp in 2005.
Last year, he finished twelfth overall in the World Cup standings.
Andy Soule's win in the opening IPC Biathlon World Cup competition of the season is his first-ever World Cup podium.
Soule's coach Rob Rosser, described the scene at the finish, "I was there at the finish and found out that Andy hadn't listened to the announcer. Andy made a weird face and said 'wait a second, I could of swore the said my name as the leader,' I cracked the biggest smile and laughed and said 'that's because you are the leader!'"
"It couldn't happen to a better guy," added Rosser. "Andy listens to everything you say and does what you ask. He is the most disciplined and respectful athlete/soldier I think I've ever met."
Soule beat the both the 2009 World Cup XC Champion - Irek Zaripov (RUS), and the 2009 World Cup Biathlon Sit-Ski Champion - Georges Bettega (FRA) in today's race. Today's athletes will meet again at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver in March.