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Currier 44th in Beitostolen Sprint, Re-Qualifies for World Cup

When Russell Currier (Outdoor Sports Institute) was selected to the U.S. World Cup team after a one-year absence, there was just one piece of outstanding business: he was no longer qualified for the World Cup. So that entailed an early-season trip to the second-tier IBU Cup to re-make qualification criteria.

Currier raced in the 10 k sprint in Beitostolen, Norway, on Friday to do just that. He was the only American athlete there, and traveled with one coach, U.S. men’s team coach Jonas Johansson. The one-day reintroduction to international racing was far from dull for the skeleton crew.

Currier faced few problems on his skis, cruising to the tenth-fastest course time.

“Ski speed was better than expected,” he wrote in an email. “Two days of travel and jet lag, a one-man wax team and not the best feeling in the legs had my expectations on the lower end.”

But Currier shot two penalties in each of his stages, with some added challenges in standing.

“I accidentally ejected a magazine,” he explained. “It proceeded to bounce off the mat and beyond the firing line. Normally there is a coach with a spare clip for in these situations… [but] Jonas was checking my shots [on a digital network] without having to be in front of a scope. So, I had to wait for a race official to figure out what I was yelling about. The official that came over had, coincidentally, five rounds on him that I was able to reload my prone mag with. Still, the winds were so obnoxious that hitting three of five with a 50+/- second rest didn’t help.”

Currier had to hurry his way to the finish and his time, +3:09.4 from winner Vetle Sjastad Christiansen of Norway, earned him 44th place and points of 111.85 – just sneaking under the 125-point cutoff for World Cup qualification.

The whole experience was a bit wild.

“There was some pressure because I didn’t know what to expect,” Currier wrote. “It had been so long since my last race with this field. After my standing stage folly, I was more nervous.”

But he has since rejoined the U.S. team in Östersund, Sweden, where he will compete in the World Cup 20 k individual on Thursday.

“The whole race could have been so much worse and so much better,” Currier wrote. “The goal was to do well enough to make the points and then be in Östersund with the rest of the team ASAP, so with that in mind the race was a success.”

Results

Dunklee, Bailey and Burke Shine at USBA Rollerski Nationals in Jericho

Susan Dunklee, Lowell Bailey and Tim Burke took wins at the US Biathlon National Rollerski Championships in Jericho, Vt., this past weekend. All members of the US Biathlon Association (USBA) A-team, the trio of Olympians outcompeted the field in sprints on Saturday, Aug. 13, and then mass starts on Sunday, Aug. 14. Dunklee took a 13.3-second win over Joanne Reid of Colorado Biathlon and USBA’s X-team in the 7.5-kilometer sprint, despite four penalties to Reid’s one. A-teamer Clare Egan picked up third with three penalties, a minute and one second behind Dunklee. In Sunday’s mass start, Dunklee again picked up penalties – this time five – but cruised to a 26.7-second victory over Egan, who had three missed shots. Reid made her second podium by placing third, +1:19, with four penalties. In the 10 k sprint, Bailey dueled all the way to the end with teammate Burke, who started two…

Olympian Lowell Bailey Joins Bridger Biathlon Club Board

(Press release) BOZEMAN, Mont. (June 29, 2016) – The Bridger Biathlon Club (BBC) announced today the appointment of three-time Olympian, Lowell Bailey, to its Board of Directors. BBC, a local nonprofit community organization operating at the Bohart Ranch Cross-Country Ski Center in Bridger Canyon, was established in 2014 with a focus on promoting athletic achievement and healthy living through the sport of biathlon. Bailey, a current member of the United States Biathlon Team, brings unprecedented resources and knowledge that will elevate the Board in their understanding of biathlon, the development of robust youth programs, current best practices for trail design, and opportunities to bridge local skiing to the national and international level. Having competed on the World Cup Circuit for over a decade and internationally since 1999, Bailey has competed in the last three Olympic Games and skied and shot his way to six top-ten finishes at World Championships, securing a…

Former IBU Executive and Son Suspended for Two Years

On Monday, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) Anti-Doping Tribunal announced its ruling in the case of Gottlieb Taschler, formerly the International Biathlon Union’s (IBU) vice president for sport, and his son Daniel, who was alleged to have doped between 2010 and 2011 in an effort to make the Italian Biathlon World Cup team. The two were found guilty of cheating after an investigation revealed Daniel, a 29-year-old former Italian B-team biathlete who hasn’t raced since December 2014, received “micro-doses of EPO cycles” administered by Michele Ferrari between late 2010 and early 2011, according to Neveitalia.it. While a criminal trial is still ongoing, the father and son were found guilty at the sporting level and each received two-year bans until June 12, 2018. Daniel was suspended for violating Article 2.2 of the Sports Anti-Doping Rules: use or attempted use of a banned substance or method. Gottlieb, president of the Anterselva World Cup organizing committee, was suspended for violating Article 2.9 in aiding and encouraging the cover up….

US Biathlon’s 2016/2017 Nominations; Plus Bonus Drone Video

On Wednesday, the US Biathlon International Competition Committee announced its nominations for the 2016/2017 national team and development groups via a press release. US Biathlon also filmed the above “experimental aerial” video from biathlon nationals. Click here to see it on YouTube. National A Team Women Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), A 1 Team Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), A 2 Team Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y.), A 3 Team National A Team Men Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), A 1 Team Tim Burke (Lake Placid, N.Y.), A 1 Team Sean Doherty (Center Conway N.H.), A 2 Team Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), A 2 Team X Team Women Joanne Reid (Boulder, Colo.) Men Max Durtschi (Sun Valley, Idaho) Jake Brown (Houghton, Mich.) National Development Group – Seniors Women Emily Dreissigacker (Craftsbury, Vt.) Men Patrick Johnson (Truckee, Calif.) Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.) Alex Howe (Craftsbury, Vt.) National Development Group – Youth / Juniors Women Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt.) Amanda Kautzer (Plymouth, Minn.) Claire Waichler (Winthrop, Wash.) Men Brendan Cyr (Caribou, Maine)…

Another Positive Doping Test for Biathlon, Possibly Meldonium

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) announced on Wednesday that another athlete has tested positive for a hormone or metabolic modulator. It is possible that this substance is meldonium, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List on January 1, 2016. If so, that would add to the list of Olga Ambramova, the first biathlete to test positive for the substance, and later Artem Tyshchenko of Ukraine, as well as Eduard Latypov of Russia. However, without further details from the IBU, it is not possible to say whether the positive is for meldonium or some other hormone. The athlete has not yet been identified, with the IBU only specifying that the sample was collected during an out-of-competition test in March. The suspension is provisional pending a decision on the “B” sample. The IBU emphasized that the athlete should not take part in organized sport during the ongoing disciplinary process. “No…

Bailey and Egan Hold Solid for Pursuit Wins at NorAm Championships

NorAm Championship racing continued on Friday in Fort Kent, Maine, with pursuit competitions for all age categories. In the men’s 12.5 k pursuit, Lowell Bailey held onto his lead from the sprint despite three penalties, all coming in standing. (A recent analysis by the blog Real Biathlon revealed that Bailey is the athlete on the World Cup with one of the biggest disparities between prone and standing shooting: in prone he hit 94.2 percent of his shots, but in standing just 79.8.) National team buddy Tim Burke missed only one shot, also in standing, and maintained almost exactly the same gap from the sprint: he made up one second to finish 48 seconds behind Bailey. Sean Doherty again earned bronze, +1:39, after a successful World Cup season. Patrick Johnson of the USBA X Team moved up to claim fourth, +6:00, while Ethan Dreissigacker of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project shot three penalties to move all the way from eleventh…

Bailey, Egan Win NorAm Champs Sprints

The U.S. biathlon community is converging on Fort Kent, Maine, this weekend for combined U.S. Nationals and NorAm Championships. For the first time in several years, the World Cup circuit ended a week before and the senior national team is in attendance, growing the size of the field and the prestige of the titles. In the men’s 10 k sprint on Thursday, Lowell Bailey topped the standings in 25:07.3 with only one penalty, coming in prone. With fast skiing despite the long World Cup tour, that put him head and shoulders about fellow national-teamers Tim Burke and Sean Doherty. With two penalties, Burke’s time was 49.1 seconds back, narrowly edging Doherty, who had one penalty, by just half a second. Casey Smith of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project was fourth, +1:48.0, followed by USBA X Team athlete Patrick Johnson, +1:56.9. Both also had one penalty. In the women’s 7.5 k sprint, national team member Clare Egan missed just a…

Gow and Vaillancourt Earn Mass Start Wins; Albertans 1-2 in Nationals Relay

Canadian National Championships continued over the weekend in Valcartier, Quebec, with mass start competitions for juniors and seniors on Saturday and then mixed relay competitions on Sunday. In the men’s 15 k mass start, Christian Gow took his second title of the week, an 8.9-second win over fellow national team member Scott Perras. Gow had four penalties to Perras’s six over the course of four shooting stages; and crucially, one fewer in the final shooting stage. Matthew Neumann was also in the mix, finishing third with four penalties, +11.5. There was a break before Matthew Hudec crossed the line in fourth, +1:32.6, and Carsen Campbell in fifth, +2:19.7. The junior men had a 12.5 k mass start, with Aidan Millar picking up a big win, a minute and six seconds ahead of Alexandre Dupuis though both had three penalties. In the women’s 12.5 k mass start, Audrey Vaillancourt earned her first title of the week after being on the…

Canadian Biathlon Nationals Kick Off in Valcartier

Canadian national championships for biathlon kicked off in Valcartier, Quebec, on Wednesday, with national team veteran Scott Perras earning a national title in the 10 k sprint. With a single penalty over two shooting bouts, Perras held off Christian Gow – newly returned from World Championships in Oslo, where he earned relay bronze with the rest of the Canadian team – by 25.4 seconds, thanks in part to Gow’s two penalties. Also with a single penalty, Matthew Neumann finished third, +1:22.7. In the junior men’s sprint of the same distance, Aidan Millar earned a 19.4-second win over Pearce Hanna despite three missed shots to Hanna’s one. In the youth men’s 7.5 k sprint, Adam Runnals won by 40.4 seconds over Ben Churchill, likewise with three penalties to Churchill’s one. In the afternoon the women hit the course with Emma Lunder claiming the 7.5 k sprint crown. Lunder had three penalties,…