Oberhof, Germany – The US Relay team of Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY), and Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) posted their best result of the season this evening with an 11th place finish.
The US Team finished 3:23.9 behind the team from Austria who won their second World Cup Relay in a row. They used twelve spare rounds and had no penalties. Russia in second place, only used six spare rounds, and finished 8.7 seconds back, but could not match the Austrians in the final leg. Germany using two new athletes finished third, 19.2 seconds back, with one penalty and nine spare rounds.
For the US Team, it was an improvement in the season’s third relay competition. In the previous two relays, the team finished 15th and 14th, 6:00.3 and 4:44.7 back, respectively. In the 15th place finish, the team had four penalties.
Today, the team had only one penalty, by Hakkinen in the prone stage today. After the penalty, he came back with a clean fast standing stage.
Coach Per Nilsson, even with the improvement was not satisfied. “We should be up there between sixth and eighth, ahead of Belarus, Switzerland, and Slovakia. That penalty and all of the spare rounds definitely hurt us. (Belarus had five spare rounds, Switzerland 6 and Slovakia two; each spare round means about 15 seconds of additional shooting time.) Then, when Tim was shooting standing, we could have moved into the top 10, but his final shot was a split and then he needed spare rounds. We really need to take a big step up.”
After two evening relay competitions, the next two evenings will feature Sprints, with the women on Friday and the men on Saturday. Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, NY) is the only US entrant in tomorrow’s 7.5K Sprint. The four men on the relay team will compete in Saturday’s 10K Sprint.
All of the competitions this week are under the lights, a first for biathlon. The Oberhof World Cup closes with Mass Start competitions on Sunday.
Watch live results and streaming video of all competitions at www.biathlonworld.com
The US Biathlon website has an RSS feed, available by clicking the RSS logo http://www.usbiathlon.org to get the address and all of the latest biathlon news.