Burke opens World Cup biathlon season with a bang
In front of a crowd of more than 4,000 screaming fans in Ostersund, Sweden, American biathlete Tim Burke made history yesterday, taking a silver medal in the opening IBU World Cup of this young season. It all happened in the men's 20km individual competition. This mark ties the best American performance ever, equaling Josh Thompson's 20km silver medal at a World Cup in Canmore, ALB, in 1992.
Burke skied fast and kept pace with Norwegian Emil Hegle Svendsen the eventual winner. For three shooting stages, Burke, from Paul Smiths, NY, shot clean, his fourth bout of shooting found him to have one penalty.
After the race Burke said, " Today was an important step to get me to the podium. It goes a long way to help my confidence going into Vancouver, because I know I have been on the podium before."
The USBA's Jay Hakkinen of Kasilof, AK was 28th. Canada's Jean-Philippe Le Guellec was a surprise tenth place.
In women's competition, Sara Studebaker,(Boise,(D) finished 59th in her World Cup European debut.
Racing continues today with the women's sprint followed by the men's sprint comp. You can watch World Cup racing live on-line by visiting http://tiny.cc/FL019.
In other nordic news, the Project X ski jumpers are in Lillehammer, along with a number of USA combined team skiers, with jumping qualifications in special jumping set for tonight.
By: Peter Q. Graves