Sara Studebaker (Boise, Idaho) posted a final time of 22:05.3 to place 45th in the women’s 7.5km sprint event in biathlon competition at Whistler Olympic Park Saturday afternoon. The gold medal in the event went to Slovakia’s Anastazia Kuzmina, who logged a time of 19:55.6. Magdalena Neuner of Germany took the silver with a 19:57.1, while Marie Dorin of France won the bronze medal with a 20:06.5.
The other American competitors and their finishes: Laura Spector (Lenox, Mass.), 23:18.1, 77th; Lanny Barnes (Durango, Colo.), 23:26.0, 78th; and Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, N.Y.), 23:35.4, 80th.
The women’s next competition is the 10km pursuit, to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Statements after the Sprint
Sara Studebaker: “That was such an exciting race, I really enjoyed it. I think that was the loudest I’ve ever been cheered on. I actually had to take a minute while out on the course to let it sink in so that I could focus again. It was just overwhelming. I was able to stick with my plan how to go through the competition and I am really happy about that. Despite my worries I managed to stay really calm and I was all relaxed coming into that race. Especially after I hit all the targets in prone I was really self-confident and could pull of a good skiing at the tracks.”
Laura Spector: I was the first North American to start in the race here so the crowd really went crazy. That was so exciting! But as soon as I came out on the tracks I was alone there so I had to stay focused. It was a tough race and I really need a perfect shooting to be able to finish in the Top 60 but nevertheless I am so happy with my first Olympic race.
Lanny Barnes: For some reason I felt really tired today. I haven’t it quite figured out yet. Although I might not be totally happy with my race it was a great experience. It was so nice having my family out here both on the tracks and in the stadium. To have them as a backup also made shooting easier. So I was really excited that I just missed one target.
Haley Johnson: I didn’t feel so great today. I think my body was really nervous coming into the Olympics and I was out of energy too early. Overall it was of course a great experience and it felt so natural to race here. My family was out in the stands and all those US fans cheered – it was just incredible. But I have no idea why I missed three targets in standing. I think that’s the irony of biathlon that you can have perfect conditions and still miss some targets.
Coach Per Nilsson: Although the results might not seem so great for people on the outside I think the team is okay with the whole situation. It was the first Olympics for three of the girls and given that they did good. The first race is always hard but I think the training and preparation was good so now we’re looking forward to the next races.