Ostersund, Sweden, December 2. The Biathlon World Cup season opens here Wednesday evening at 17:15 PM CET (11:15 AM EST) with the Men’s 20K Individual competition.
The US Men face a tough challenge, with changes in the courses from previous seasons. The US Wax Team all agree that the new layout is much tougher, with a long uphill climb in the middle of each loop. Nevertheless, conditions are excellent for this first competition of the season. The organizers laid down a good base of artificial snow in recent weeks. Recent snowfall of about 8-10 inches supplements the artificial base. Additionally, the weather is simply cold, with temperatures staying near minus 6 Celsius.
After training today, Coach Per Nilsson felt his men were ready for the season. Four men will start for the US. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) the top-ranked US biathlete, who finished 29th in Overall World Cup last season with 171 points will skip the first competition, due to a mild cold. Nilsson said Burke plans to start in Saturday’s 10K Sprint.
Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) who had a season best 9th place in the opening 20K Individual at Kontiolahti, Finland last year has impressed Nilsson in training in the past few weeks and will be fifth starter. Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) who had a personal best 11th place in the Pursuit competition at Pyeong Chang, Korea last season; two-time Olympian Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) and Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME), in his first World Cup start round out the US starters.
The Women’s 15K Individual, also an evening competition, follows on Thursday. The US entrants are Lanny and Tracy Barnes (Durango, CO), Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, NY) and Laura Spector (Lenox, MA).
Watch live results and streaming video of all competitions at http://www.biathlonworld.com
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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.