With a name like Tim Burke you might have though he would have pursued a career as a lumberjack! Not so, instead he pursues other biathletes around at 12.5km course! He also seems to like creating a bit of American biathlon history along the way.
Growing up near Lake Placid has probably helped him do it. Tim comes from a place called Paul Smiths (yes I also thought it was a fashion designer!) in New York State which is a small village of around 700 people. Luckily it does get a lot of snow and meant that Tim started cross country skiing when he was a child. He took up biathlon at 13 and has gone on to carve out an outstanding career for himself.
Tim was the first ever American biathlete to wear the yellow bib as the overall World Cup leader. He did this back in 2009 when he had a fantastic start to the season coming 2nd in the Oestersund Individual race. He became only the second U.S biathlete to stand on the second step of the podium following Josh Thompson who did it in the World Championships in 1987. Not satisfied with that Tim went on to exactly match Thompson by winning a silver medal for himself in the World Championships in the Individual Race in Nove Mesto 2013.
In fact he has been second three times now after the Oberhof Mass Start in 2009/10 also saw him finish just behind the winner. He has finished third three times as well the most recent of these coming last season in the Oestersund Sprint and was his best result of the year. In season 2012/13 he came 10th in the Total Score by virtue of having six TOP 5 finishes. Make no mistake these are impressive results for an American biathlete. The only thing missing is his first win which must be one of his goals for this season.
Unfortunately his performances in Sochi were not what he was hoping for. After a strong start to the season he couldn’t sustain it through to Sochi where his top result was 19th in the Sprint. The Americans actually did really well at the Olympics as a team with Lowell Bailey coming a fantastic 8th in the Individual race and Susan Dunklee getting 11th in the Mass Start and 14th in the Sprint. They have the makings of a great Mixed Relay team with Tim, Lowell and Susan putting in such fantastic performances. Tim also has a responsibility to help out and share his experience with the new talent coming through for America like Sean Doherty and Casey Smith.
All in all US biathlon is on the up at the moment and that is in great part down to the likes of Tim. He has really made the other nations sit up and take notice of America in terms of biathlon even if America might not take much notice of its biathletes! If he can reproduce his form from 2012/13 we will be in for an exciting season. He already knows he is capable of getting a medal in the World Championships and will be aiming to go one better in Kontiolahti. He is also a great anchor for the relay team and the Men’s and Mixed teams won’t be far away from the podium. So all the other biathletes better watch out because he is coming to chop you down – TIMBUR!!!!(-ke)