Whistler, British Columbia – The men’s 1okm biathlon sprint starts in less than an hour at Whistler Olympic Park, providing American Tim Burke with his first chance of the 2010 Olympics to capture a medal. Burke has taken his game to a new level this year, finishing on the podium three times, and leading the overall World Cup on several occasions.
Burke will battle tough conditions and tougher competition in the shortest biathlon event of the Games. Athletes will shoot twice, first prone, then standing. Each miss results in a lap around the 150 meter penalty loop.
Burke will be joined by teammates Lowell Bailey, Jeremy Teela, and Jay Hakkinen. Teela took 3rd, earning his first World Cup podium, as this venue a year ago. The 5th American, Wynn Roberts, is not scheduled to start any events at this point. He will be ready if any of the top four cannot start due to illness.
While a medal is less likely for Canada, Jean Philippe LeGuellec is certainly capable of finishing in the top-15, and with the inconsistencies of biathlon, a top-10 is not out of the question.
LeGuellec is the lone Canadian representative in the race.
On of the big story lines of the race is Norwegian Ole-Einar Bjorndalen’s quest for the most Winter Olympic medals. With nine total, he is currently three shy of Bjorn Daehlie’s mark.
The field is very deep, and any number of men could stand on the podium. Look for Christoph Sumann (AUT), Michael Greiss (GER) and EMil Svendsen (NOR) to compete with Bjorndalen and Burke for medals. A strong Russian contingent will also be in the running.
Gold: Christoph Sumann (AUT)
Silver: Micahel Greiss (GER)
Bronze: Ole Einar Bjorndalen (NOR)
Tim Burke – 8th
Jean Philippe Le Guellec – 17th
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.