Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid and Tim Burke of Paul Smiths were part of the Team USA biathlon relay team that raced to a ninth-place finish Sunday, Dec. 11 in the IBU World Cup event in Hochfilzen, Austria.
Bailey and Burke teamed up with Jay Hakkinen of Alaska and Leif Nordgren of Minnesota to cross the finish line with a time of 1:17:22.8 (0+1, 1+9). The winning team from Norway completed the course in 1:14:52.9 (0+1 1+6).
Russia won silver with a time of 1:15:06.8 (0+3 0+2), and France took bronze with a time of 1:15:23.9 (0+3 0+3).
Photo courtesy of US Biathlon/Nordic Focus
Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid makes his way through the IBU World Cup course in Hochfilzen, Austria on Sunday, Dec. 11 during the biathlon relay event. Team USA finished ninth.
"Finishing up in ninth in Hochfilzen was a solid result, and our eighth place in the Nations Cup is also good for us," said U.S. Biathlon head coach Per Nilsson. "Overall we're happy with today's ninth-place result, but we are eager for more."
"Today was a step in the right direction and there's more to come for sure. The skiing was impressive and it's a solid result where we are right now," said U.S. Biathlon High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler.
On Saturday, Bailey led his U.S. teammates with a 17th-place finish in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit. Bailey was fourth approaching the final shooting stage, but two misses in standing dropped him back. He crossed the finish line in 34:06.4 (0+0+0+2), which was 57.4 seconds behind the winner, Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway.
"So close. That about sums it up," Bailey said after race. "Today I felt good about how the race went for the first four loops. I felt comfortable on the course and was able to ski a little better technically than yesterday, and with clean shooting I managed to get in a good position by the last standing. Unfortunately I just missed a couple in the last stage.
"Biathlon is like that. A couple of bullets can be the difference between a potential podium or 17th. But that's also why I love this sport. It's never a sure thing and anything can happen."
Bailey, who finished 14th in Friday's 10k sprint, now ranks seventh overall in IBU World Cup standings.
Here's how the rest of the local world-class athletes fared last week:
Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene): The FIS alpine World Cup series stop in Val d Isere, France was canceled due to a lack of snow. Weibrecht, Beisemeyer and the rest of the U.S. alpine squad were preparing to race in Val Gardena-Groeden, Italy beginning Wednesday, Dec. 14.
John Napier (Lake Placid): The FIBT World Cup bobsled series stopped in LaPlagne, France over the weekend. Napier drove his two-man sled to an 11th-place finish, Saturday, Dec. 10 and a 13th place result during Sunday's four-man event.
Bill Demong (Vermontville): The FIS World Cup Nordic combined series was in Ramsau, Austria. Demong posted his best World Cup result, 11th, since the Olympic season. He was 14th after the jump and started eighth in the cross-country ski.