Oslo, Norway March 15. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) had his best result of the season with a seventh place finish in the 12.5K Pursuit competition this afternoon.
Burke moved from 45th at the start to finish seventh, 1:15.1 behind Ivan Tcherezov of Russia. Freidrich Pinter of Austria, with three penalties finished second 22.2 seconds back, while Emile Svendsen of Norway was third, 47.4 seconds back despite five penalties.
Shooting under what Coach Mikael Lofgren called, â€œtricky conditions,â€ Burke had only two penalties, in the second prone stage and the final standing stage. â€œThis is a hard place to shoot, as the wind keeps switching directions,â€ Burke said.
The fastest ski time of the day (out of 60 competitors) along with the two penalties contributed to the big move for Burke.
After the race, Burke talked about his big day. â€œObviously, starting 45th in a Pursuit is not an ideal situation. Nevertheless, I was only one minute out of eighth, so anything was possible. After the first clean prone, I moved up a lot (to 28th position). Then with a penalty, I just hung there until the first standing, when I jumped up again (to 15th position). After the final standing, I was 11th and really not thinking about the top eight. I thought that maybe I could get into the top ten. As we went around the final loop, I saw the other guys pretty close in front of me. I really did not have a lot left, at that point of a hard 12.5K in tough conditions. But I was able to pass Eckhoff, Birnbacher, Eder, and De Lorenzi to finish seventh.â€
He continued, talking about his skis and fitness, â€œIt was clear last night, so it did freeze, but by 3 o’clock this afternoon when we raced, it was wet and soft. Despite this, the wax guys (Andreas Emslander and Petr Garabik) did a great job with the skis today. Ever since I came back from my illness (during the Christmas holiday season), I have continued to build fitness. Now I am in my best shape of the year. This race is a great accomplishment, except for the fact that this might be my last race of the year. Even as disastrous as some of the races have been in the past couple of months, I (and everyone on the staff) have stayed positive. I just kept focusing on the next race.â€
With his seventh place today, Burke moved up from 35th to 33rd in the Overall World Cup Standings (with 141 points), and into the same position, 33rd (third alternate) on the start list for tomorrow’s 15K Mass Start. He assessed his chances of getting another start, â€œI am preparing to race. There are a couple of people ahead of me that are not here and quite few that are sick (including BjÃ¶rndalen, who had a fever today), so I might get in.â€ The Men’s 15K Mass Start starts at 3 PM CET (9 AM EST) on Sunday.
Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) like Burke moved up today, from 43rd at the start to 35th at the finish. Hakkinen, with three penalties, finished 3:07.9 back.
The Mass Start competitions on Sunday conclude the Biathlon World Cup season.
Live streaming video coverage of the Biathlon World Cup competitions for the remainder of the season, and archived highlights including those from the World Championships, are available by clicking the athlete photo at the top of the news column at www.usbiathlon.org