Ostersund, Sweden – Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) battled tough conditions to finish 15th in the 20K Individual, the first competition of the Biathlon World Cup season.
Moderate to heavy snow fell here throughout the day and continued all evening. This left the previously well-groomed tracks covered with deep snow, slowing the athletes and making an already tough layout brutally hard.
Despite the conditions, Bailey had one of his best days ever of his World Cup career, missing just one of twenty shots. He finished 3:11.6 behind Michael Greis of Germany, also with one penalty. Greis covered the 20K in 58:52.5. Two Norwegians, Alexander Os and Emile Hegle Svendsen followed, 50.5 and 55 seconds back respectively. The Norwegian athletes each had two penalties.
At the finish, Bailey commented on his race, â€œI have felt good all week and today did not feel as fresh. In conditions like this, if you are off (in you skiing) even a little bit, it makes a big difference. Our plan this year is to improve slowly and not let little things (like a sub-par skiing day) get you down. I did have a good day on the shooting range, though.â€
On the shooting range, Bailey was literally â€œlights out.â€ In each stage, he shot with a very fast and confident cadence, with his only miss coming on the last shot of the second (standing) stage.
Continuing to talk about his day, Bailey added, â€œI really gave it everything on that last loop. I was fighting with (Russian) Nicolai Kruglov the whole loop.â€ Kruglov finished 6.1 seconds behind Bailey.
Bailey’s 15th place is his second-best World Cup result, topped only by his 11th place in the 12.5K Pursuit competition at Pyeong Chang, Korea last March.
Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) skied well all day, but finished 58th with five penalties, 6:35.7 back. Hakkinen had a single penalty in each of the first three stages and two in the final standing stage. Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) finished 94th with eight penalties, 11:50.1 back, while Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) was 109th, also with eight penalties, 12:45.9 back.
The Women’s 15K Individual is on Thursday evening, starting at 17:15 CET (11:15 AM EST).
Watch live results and streaming video of all competitions at www.biathlonworld.com.
Jeremy Teela shooting in Ostersund