Winter has arrived – that’s something the US biathletes can’t deny noawadays while training in Östersund, Sweden at a temperature height of 0° F. The World Cup circuit will kick off next Wednesday in Östersund, right now just a few teams are using the training possibilities at the Swedish venue.
Part of the US team has already tested the World Cup course since last week, Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine) and Laura Spector (Lenox, MA) will join them soon. All three of them have been selected to the US World Cup Team after last week’s trials in Canmore, Canada.
“I am actually happy that those three made the team. They showed the best performances throughout the whole year, so it was well deserved. No one could have preticted that since the trials have their own rules and rank among the hardest races in the season", says US coach
US Biathlon Coach Armin Auchentaller (Photo: Viktoria Franke)
Women's Team Represented by Spector and Studebaker
When it comes to Laura Spector, Auchentaller is pretty surprised about her development since last season. “I’m excited to see what she can do!”, he states. Spector herself doesn’t have too high expectations since she had to navigate between her studies and the training this summer: “I trained the whole summer mostly alone back home at school, so it would be difficult to predict where I stand on the international circuit. I'm just hoping that the consistent shooting I've had in time trials and the good feeling I've had in training will carry over to the races!”
The second woman in the team - Sara Studebaker (Boise, Idaho) – had been prequalified thanks to her good results last year. Because of an accident in August her preparation wasn’t the best one possible but Studebaker still seems optimistic:
"In August, I injured my knee, which led to a few unscheduled weeks off. That was tough mentally, but I recovered well and think the time off actually benefited me in the long run. I was definitely concerned about my season when the initial injury happened, so I am really thankful it turned out to be a less serious problem and that I am feeling as good as I am right now.
I am really looking forward to the start of the season. I have made some changes in technique and shooting this year, and am looking forward to seeing how that will transfer on the world stage. It has been nice to be in Ostersund for an extra week to prepare. I feel much more relaxed about the start of the season than last year when I was relatively new to the World Cup. I’m very excited to get the racing started and see what I can do!
Strong Results in Men's Team Possible
When it comes to the men’s team, Auchentaller has some clear goals set: “I expect Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) to continue where he finished last year. He should be able to compete with the best biathletes in the world. Jeremy Teela (Heber City, UT) is also able to finish top 20 each race so I hope for some good results there. When it comes to Lowell Bailey I hope he comes back as strong as he has been in some World Cup races before. For the younger ones - Russell Currier and Leif Nordgren (Marine-on-St., MN)– it is basically about gaining more World Cup experience, gaining a strong confidence and a basic feeling of the World Cup. If they finish in the points, that would be even better.”
The World Cup gets underway on December 1st.