Whistler Paralympic Park – Andy Soule (Pearland, Texas) missed the medal stand by just over a minute in the men’s sitting 12.5K on the final day of biathlon competition Wednesday at Whistler Paralympic Park. As the only competitor to shoot four perfect rounds of five shots each, Soule could not catch the Russians in the final lap and finished 1:15.2 outside of third place.
“I’m happy with my shooting,” said Soule, who clocked a time of 44:26.2. “I shot clean – 20 for 20 shots. I just didn’t ski fast enough to make the top three. This field is incredible.”
Russia dominated the field of 21 competitors, taking the top three podium spots. Irek Zaripov posted the fastest time of 42:22.4 for the gold medal – his third of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
“Andy had a perfect race today,” said US Biathlon Development Coach James Upham. “ Our plan was to have a perfect race and Andy stuck to the plan, his performance was perfect.”
Following his bronze medal performance Saturday, and a strong finish in today's race, Soule’s future looks even brighter. “Going into this season we looked at Andy as one of our best prospects for Sochi,” explained Upham. "He has exceeded our expectations."
Racing in a field of 20 competitors, Kelly Underkofler (St. Paul, Minn.) posted a time of 51:44.1 in the women’s standing 12.5K biathlon. Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova crossed the line first in a 46:01.4 for the gold medal.
Team USA will continue its quest for medals tomorrow, with six athletes competing in cross country events. Underkofler is scheduled to race in the women’s standing 5K classic event at 10:29 a.m. PST, followed by Monica Bascio (Evergreen, Colo.) in the women’s sitting 5K at 12:00 p.m. PST. Soule, Chris Klebl (Heber City, Utah), Sean Halsted (Spokane, Wash./Twin Lakes, Idaho) and Greg Mallory (Portland, Ore.) will compete in the men’s sitting 10K classic scheduled for 12:20 p.m. PST.
Photos: Joe Kusumoto Photography
Biathlon: Flash Quotes
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Andy Soule (Pearland, Texas)
On his race performance Wednesday:
I shot clean – 20 for 20 shots. I just didn’t ski fast enough to make the top three. This field is incredible.
On his training:
It is certainly a very difficult sport for me on an endurance standpoint. It takes a great deal of perseverance and training to do well.
Kelly Underkofler (St. Paul, Minn.)
On her race performance Wednesday:
It felt good. I would have liked to be a little more in the mix, but I’m happy with my race. I skied well again. That’s all I can do. I had a really tough day on Saturday. We made some improvements and I’m trying out some new things. My legs feel much better.
On her biathlon performance overall:
I feel pretty good. Saturday was a little disappointing, but I skied well Monday and today. Tomorrow I have a 5K classic and Sunday I have a sprint classic. Two more races, a little classic skiing – it should be good.
Tomorrow's races will be broadcast live online at www.paralympicsport.tv. For a complete schedule and results, visit www.vancouver2010.com.
Contact: Allison Frederick, U.S. Paralympic Press Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: 778-938-8721.
Results: Men’s Sitting 12.5K
1. RUS: ZARIPOV, Irek (42:22.4)
2. RUS: KISELEV, Vladimir (42:29.9)
3. RUS: PETUSHKOV, Roman (43:11.0)
4. USA: SOULE, Andy (44:26.2)
Results: Women’s Standing 12.5K
1. UKR: KONONOVA, Oleksandra (46:01.4)
2. RUS: BURMISTROVA, Anna (48:04.0)
3. UKR: BATENKOVA, Iuliia (48:22.5)
9. USA: UNDERKOFLER, Kelly (51:44.1)