Vancouver Olympics: Burke 18th in Men's 15k Mass Start
From US Biathlon
Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and Jeremy Teela (Heber City, Utah) both posted solid results in today’s Men’s 15km Mass Start, the last individual biathlon race, at Whistler Olympic Park.
Burke was up front within the group of leaders until the third shooting. But after missing three targets at the third shooting stage, he fell back to 24th place. With strong skiing and just one penalty in the last stage, Burke managed to move up to 18th place at the finish. Teela finished his race in 29th place after four penalties, despite dealing with sinus problems over the last couple of days.
For both athletes, the focus will now turn to the men’s relay on February 26. With teammates Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Jay Hakkinen (Anchorage, Alaska), the team will be looking to post a top six result.
Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) On the third shooting: "I missed three, and I wasn’t in it any more. That’s biathlon. That’s why it is one of the most exciting sports in the world. You can go from fourth to 24th in a matter of a few seconds. Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of that today."
On if he was tired or nervous heading into the third shooting: "It definitely wasn’t tiredness. I felt great. I actually went really easy on the third lap thinking that it would make it easier for me to shoot. I just stayed with the group. When I set up for the standing, I had really, really shaky legs and had to fight just to get two hits. It wasn’t easy for me."
On his overall Olympic performance: "It’s a complete disappointment. I came in here with three podium finishes, ranked third in the world cup, and had never been outside of the top 30 in a race. It was awful."
On his skiing today: "I was getting stronger and stronger every race. In the 20k, I actually felt pretty good, and today I felt like my normal self. I felt really good. I could easily ski with the groups, so the ski form is back."
Jeremy Teela (Heber City, Utah) On how he felt today: "I felt really good yesterday doing some training and I even felt pretty good today. Being a little sick a couple of days ago maybe took a little bit more out of me that I thought. I’m not far away. I think maybe another day of rest and some more speed training. I had four days just lying in bed, and I didn’t go out for a ski during that time, so I just jumped in the race today."
On today’s race: "My shape was a little bit off. Prone, prone went one, one (misses), and you need to clean both, so I wasn’t skiing fast enough to be able to miss one and one. I had a good standing, the first standing clean. On the second, I just missed the first two shots. I tried to be confident in the last standing, but it didn’t work out. I think they were pretty close. It’s not the race I wanted. I just got to review it in the next couple of hours and then forget about it and prep for the relay."
Coach Per Nilsson "It's hard to tell what happened at Tim’s third shooting. He was in a great position being with the leader group up front, so probably there was a lot of pressure on him. He knew he had to be aggressive to stay on top, but then he had three misses that kicked him back 20 places. Nevertheless, I am happy that he raced according to his plan. He did not give up even after those misses. On the contrary, he even skied faster to move up some spots in the result list. And Jeremy did good as well. It was his first Mass Start in probably six, seven years, so his performance was okay. I am really looking forward to see both of them in the relay. That will be great."
Photo: Viktoria Franke, US Biathlon