Pyeong Chang, Korea – Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) turned in a personal best 18th place finish in the Men’s 15K Mass Start competition on Saturday evening.
Bailey finished 2:21.5 behind Dominik Landertinger of Austria, who won the first race and World Championship of his career in 38:32.58. The 20-year-old did not take the lead until approximately 1.5K before the finish when Ole Einar Bjorndalen, feeling fatigued waved the youngster to take the pace. Landertinger said, “I was not sure of myself at that point. But I felt the power and gave it my best shot, hoping it would be enough.” Landertinger had three penalties as did second place Christoph Sumann, also of Austria. He finished 8.9 seconds behind his teammate, while Ivan Tcherezov of Russia finished third, 13.9 seconds back.
The 18th place for Bailey was a breakthrough. He commented, “This race is very good for my confidence. I was nervous, as this was my first Mass Start competition and I missed two shots in the first stage. As the race went on, I realized that I was skiing as well as anybody and could compete with anyone. This is great for the rest of the season and in the upcoming Olympic season. I used this year to test my training and peaking to see if it worked out for this time of year (about the same as the 2010 Olympics).”
He continued, discussing his season at this point, “This taught me that you need to have patience. You cannot be at the top in every race. I feel that my training is paying off.”
Bailey’s teammate Tim Burke finished 28th. Unlike Bailey, who several times came to the shooting range under fairly calm conditions, Burke battled the wind in every stage.
Later in the evening, the US women’s Relay Team of Lanny and Tracy Barnes (Durango, CO), Laura Spector (Lenox, MA) and Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, NY) finished in 10th place, the best US women’s Relay result since 9th place in 1997 World Champs. See more on the womens race story posted at www.USBiathlon.org.
Sunday is the last day of this years World Championships and the men will have the opportunity to follow the women in a top 10 relay finish.