New Gloucester, ME, March 25. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) leads a large group of US Biathletes who will compete this week in the Canadian National Championships at the Whistler Olympic Park.
Burke, who closed his World Cup season just over a week ago, with two top eight finishes (7th Pursuit, 8th Mass Start) will get his first look at the 2010 Olympic Biathlon Venue during the training and competitions there. He recently commented on the trip to British Columbia, â€œThis will be a great opportunity for me to familiarize myself with the Olympic course and to test different skis.â€
The competitions this week will be the first major biathlon event at the newly constructed venue at Whistler Olympic Park. The facility has previously hosted several Ski Jumping and Cross-country events, as well as some regional biathlon competitions. In addition to hosting the 2010 Olympic Biathlon competitions, a pre-Olympic Biathlon World Cup is scheduled for next winter.Accordingly, this will be an excellent opportunity for the US and Canadian Teams to preview the tracks and shooting range in a competition setting.
In addition to Burke, several other members of the US Biathlon Team will compete this week. They include Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), who scored a career best 11th place earlier this month in the Pursuit competition at Pyeong Chang, Korea and Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK), who handles anchor duties on the US Men’s Relay Team. Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, NY), who debuted at the Biathlon World Championships with a series of strong performances on both the tracks and at the shooting range, is also on hand.
Laura Spector (Lenox, MA) and Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME), both of whom competed in Ostersund at the Biathlon World Championships and at the Youth/Junior World Championships in Ruhpolding will close their junior level careers this week.
Leif Nordgren (Marine-on-St. Croix, MN) who won a Bronze Medal in the Youth Pursuit at Ruhpolding will look to continue his recent winning streak in Youth competitions.
Last week, Nordgren swept all three Youth competitions at the North American/US National Championships, as did Spector in the Junior Women’s events.
Walt Shepard (Brunswick, ME), who matched the two juniors by winning all three Senior Men’s competitions last week, will continue his return to biathlon competition this week, after competing in college cross-country for the past two years.
The Canadian Championships open on Thursday with Individual competitions in all categories, followed by a training day on Friday, Sprints on Saturday, and Mixed Relay on Sunday. All competitions start at 10 AM PDT.