New Gloucester, ME, November 27. The World Cup season opens six days from today in Ostersund, Sweden, where the US Biathlon Team is holding their final pre-season training camp.
While many Americans are sitting down to a turkey dinner on Thursday, nine US Biathletes will be fine-tuning their skills in the Ostersund Ski Stadium in preparation for the opening of the World Cup Biathlon season. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) and Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) arrived a week before the rest of the US team to spend some extra time on snow. According to Coach Per Nilsson, they had very good training in Idre, Sweden before meeting their teammates in Ostersund. Unlike several years ago when Ostersund faced warm temperatures and a snow shortage, the 2008 World Championships venue is well prepared for the competitions that begin on December 3. The organizers have been making artificial snow since November 12, to supplement the natural snow that has fallen.
They also have enough snow in storage from last spring to cover 4 km of track if necessary.
After the success of the Biathlon World Championships last February, the Ostersund Organizing Committee anticipates big enthusiastic crowds for the upcoming World Cup. They hope to draw 40,000 spectators over the four days of competition. They expanded their stadium capacity with the addition of several thousand new permanent seats since February.
The opening December 3 and 4 Individual competitions in Ostersund start at 17:15 CET (11:15 AM EST), marking the first time the World Cup season has kicked off under the lights. The US roster for the season opening 20K Individual is comprised of the same five men who competed in February’s World Championships. Scheduled to start are Burke, Hakkinen, Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), Jeremy Teela Anchorage, AK), and Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME). Lanny and Tracy Barnes (Durango, CO), Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, NY) and Laura Spector (Lenox, MA) plan to start the following day in the Women’s 15K individual.
The United States Biathlon Association is the National Governing Body for the sport of biathlon in the United States as recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Biathlon Union. The US Biathlon Association supports the US Biathlon Team and development of the sport on all levels within the United States. For more information, visit, http://usbiathlon.org