Jeremy Teela (Heber City, Utah) finished ninth to lead the US contingent in the men's 10km sprint event in biathlon competition at the Whistler Olympic Park Sunday afternoon.
In 15th after his first round of shooting, Teela steadily improved his placement, advancing three spots after his second round with the gun and another three on the last leg to finish 1:13.9 behind gold medalist Vincent Jay of France, who covered the course in 24:07.8. The silver medal went to Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway, who was 12.2 seconds off Jay's pace, while Jakov Fak of Croatia won the bronze medal, 14.0 seconds back.
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) finished 36th, 2:18.8 behind the winner, while Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) was 47th, +2:47.0 and Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, Alaska) was 54th, +3:09.6.
Jeremy Teela: Racing here for me feels similar like in Salt Lake City 2002. Both times it’s like having a home advantage. So if this would have been a normal World Cup it would have been an average race, but for the Olympics it was a good one. But with two missed shots you can’t get onto the podium these days. There are probably just two or three guys in the field that can achieve that. And as for the skiing: I really hoped for some heavy snow because that would make the competitors behind me slower. I had still rain when I was racing and our skis were prepared for rain. But the ones in the middle or the end of the field, they had a real disadvantage.
Lowell Bailey: That was one challenging race today! Both shooting and skiing were pretty hard and I started right in the middle of the big snowstorm. But that’s just what it is. You can’t control Mother Nature and especially you can’t let yourself be distracted by the weather. We actually worked a lot with our sports psychologist to keep the focus even if thinks like that come up. But today’s race showed how tight the men’s field is. Basically everyone can win here so we’ll do our best in the next races.
Tim Burke: It was the most unfair competition I’ve ever raced in. To start there with all that snow was really frustrating. I was in a good shape so of course I am not happy how things went. When I came to the second shooting I had snow stuck in my sight. Basically there was snow everywhere. I tried to focus on the same things like in every normal race but it was so hard to keep that up under those conditions. Besides that it of course felt great to represent the States here at the Olympics and I hope to do better the next races.
Jay Hakkinen: Those conditions out there were just horrible and unpredictable. It is a good thing that I shot clean and I also felt in great shape but with that snow coming down I basically could not ski as fast as I wanted. It is really frustrating but today it was all about luck. But I hold it together at the shooting range, so that gives me enough self-confidence for the upcoming tasks.