Kontiolahti, Finland, November 29. Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) started the new biathlon season with a big result, ninth place in the Men’s 20K Individual competition.
Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) was visibly disappointed with his day at the finish, 49th place with three penalties, 4:49.8 back. Through the first two stages of the race, Burke was in fifth position, before missing a prone shot in the third stage and then capping the afternoon with an additional two in the final standing stage. â€œThis was the worst workout (race) I have had in three weeks. If I felt like I had previously, I would have been much higher, even with three penalties.â€
Earlier in the day, the biathlon season officially started with the Women’s 15K Individual. At 11:36:30 Finland time, Tracy Barnes (Durango, CO) left the starting gate as the first US competitor on the tracks in the new season. Tracy struggled from the outset, picking up one, two, and then three penalties in the first three stages. Her demeanor and results changed in the fourth stage. She shot very aggressively, dropping the five targets rapidly, leaving with her first clean stage of the day. She finished in 96th place, with seven penalties, 11:16.5 behind Martina Glagow of Germany, who triumphed with perfect shooting in 46:28.8.
Tatiana Moiseeva of Russia matched Glagow on the shooting range, but fell 6.7 seconds short of victory to finish second. Third finisher Simone Denkinger of Germany skied faster than either Glagow or Moiseeva, but had two penalties and finished 1:02.7 back.
Conditions for today’s competitions were good for an early season World Cup. After yesterday’s strong winds, it was mostly calm most of today. The temperatures stayed near minus 5 Celsius all day, leaving every competitor with fair conditions on the tracks and the shooting range.
This type of weather is expected to continue for the remaining competitions. Friday is the Women’s 7.5K Sprint, followed by the Men’s 10K Sprint on Saturday and Pursuit competitions for both men and women on Sunday.
All photos by menzipics.eu / Christian Menzoni for US Biathlon
More information on the US Biathlon team can be found at www.usbiathlon.org.