ALTENBERG, Germany — The first phase of the U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team selection began today in Altenberg. U.S. biathletes competing in Altenburg are vying for two open spots on the Men’s Olympic Team and three spots on the Women’s Olympic Team. Trials began today with a time-trial Sprint race which was contested between the U.S. athletes, and was scored using percent-back – a formula in which the three top times are averaged together to get a base score. Race conditions were ideal for biathlon, with no wind and clear blue skies.
In the Men’s competition, Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) was able to overcome two penalties to beat Zach Hall (Nikiski, AK) by 9 seconds. Hall had a perfect day on the range and took second place, 23 seconds ahead of Leif Nordgren (Marine, MN), who had one penalty.
On the Women’s side Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID) missed one target and posted a blistering pace to win by 23 seconds over Laura Spector (Lenox, MA), who had a perfect day on the range. Tracy (Barnes) Colliander (Fort Kent, ME), with one miss, was 1 minute 20 seconds off Studebaker’s pace for third. “We had perfect conditions both overall and on the track.
The organizers prepared everything for us so we could have our trials despite the ongoing training for the IBU Cup”, said Bernd Eisenbichler U.S. Biathlon’s high performance director. “Everyone had the same conditions which is really important in a decisive race like that!. What really impressed both the coaches and me was the strong shooting of most of the athletes. Given the fact that these are really important races for them, they pulled it together just fine. The pressure must have been quite high but nevertheless we saw a lot of clean shootings today.” U.S. Olympic Biathlon Trials Results – Day One:
WOMEN POINTS Studebaker 102.44 Spector 100.80 Barnes 95.27 Colliander (Barnes) 96.76 Dunklee 94.91 Chamberlain 94.13
Racing continues with the start of the IBU Continental Cup on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 4am (EST). The U.S. biathletes will keep their two best scores and the top man and the top two women will be nominated to the U.S Team and the final athletes for each team nominated by the staff. The U.S. Olympic Committee will announce announce the team on Monday January 11, 2010. For today’s race results. Live race data from the Altenberg races will be available here.