Tag Archives: us biathlon

TIMBUR!!!!!(-ke)

burke

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)

Follow Tim on Twitter: @tb_burke
Like his Facebook page: ‘Tim Burke’
Check out his website: http://timburke.us/


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Slam Dunk-lee!

dunklee

With a father and an uncle who were both Winter Olympians in cross-country skiing it’s no wonder that America’s Susan Dunklee could ski by the age of 2! It did however take her another 20 years before she learned how to shoot! Born on the 13th of February 1986 Susan Dunklee became the first female America biathlete to get on the podium since 1994. She matched the efforts of Joan Smith who also made a second place finish.

Originally an All American cross-country skier like her father and uncle before her Susan was a bit of a late comer to the world of biathlon. Whilst in her final year at Dartmouth College she received an email from the then head of biathlon development, James Upham, who invited her to a biathlon training camp. He offered her the chance to learn to shoot in return for a commitment to pursue biathlon instead of cross-country.

This proved to be a great decision on both sides. With an excellent background in skiing, her father Stan Dunklee competed in the 1976 and 1980 Winter Olympics following his brother and Susan’s uncle Everett Dunklee who competed in 1972, and a total immersion course in shooting Susan has gone on to become an excellent biathlete.

Last season was her best yet but she had already shown signs of what was to come. In her debut season on the World Cup she finished a mightily impressive 5th in the World Championships Individual in Ruhpolding which equalled the best ever result by an American woman. She also got a 9th and 10th place finish that season in the Pursuit and Sprint in Khanty-Mansiysk. The following year in 2012/13 she placed once in the TOP 10 in the Olympic warm up in Sochi.

Last season however exceeded expectations with a first ever podium coming in the last round in Oslo which eclipsed her 4th place in Annecy and meant a total of seven TOP 10 finishes for the year. In her first Olympics in Sochi she finished 11th in the Mass Start and was part of a good performance from the Women’s Relay team who came in 7th and the Mixed Relay team who were 8th.

This year Susan has to be in contention to take her first ever victory on the World Cup. No America woman has ever won a World Cup race and so if she gets it she will be making history for US biathlon (no pressure or anything!!!). It will be a difficult thing to achieve however considering the strength of the female competitors but it has to be one of her goals for the season.

Another will be to take a medal in Kontiolahti in the World Championships. She is capable of getting an individual medal but will also make up a pretty strong Mixed Relay team with the likes of Tim Burke, Hannah Dreissigacker and Lowell Bailey and with a great performance and some luck they have a decent chance of a medal. I hope she can make history and win a race because it will be a huge Slam Dunk-lee for the US biathlon programme who are doing a great job!

Follow @SusanDunklee on Twitter!
Like ‘Susan Dunklee’ on Facebook!
Check out her blog: susandunklee.wordpress.com


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The Low-ell Down!

lowell-bailey

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with U.S biathletes here is the low down on one of them – Lowell Bailey. Born in North Carolina on July 15th 1981 Lowell moved to upstate New York as a child before settling in Lake Placid at the age of ten. Another cross-country skier turned biathlete he qualified for the Junior World Championship Biathlon Team in 1999. He has a degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies as well as being a musician.

In fact many of you probably know him from some of the videos on biathlonworld.com where he can be seen playing his guitar and singing. He was also in the “Biathlon House Band” in the Spy Who Loved Biathlon along with Gabriela Soukalova, Jean-Phillipe Le Guellec and Jean-Guillame Beatrix. Growing up in a family full of musicians including his father, uncle and various cousins it’s no surprise that Lowell can also play the mandolin and has been in a band called The George Bailey Trio and appeared in a bluegrass band called “Stacked Deck”.

In between tunes he is also still a competing biathlete! Last year saw him finish 28th in the Total Score, 19th in the Pursuit standings and helped the U.S Men’s Team to a 10th place finish in the Nation’s Cup. His best result last season was a 7th in the Sprint in Antholtz, backed up by two 10th places in the Pursuit in Khanty and Hochfilzen. His career best results came in the 2011/12 season with two 5th place finishes in the Sprint events in Kontiolahti and Oestersund.

So what can we expect from Lowell next season? Having seen his teammate and good friend Tim Burke do so well last year both on the World Cup and in the World Championships he must be aiming to emulate his success. A first podium finish must be one of his goals for next year and an improvement in the Total Score standings. The Olympics is coming up in Sochi and some good Top Ten finishes there would be great for Lowell and you never know what can happen after Burke’s silver in Nove Mesto. However the competition in men’s biathlon is extremely strong but with the shooting element involved anything can happen.

Outside of biathlon I think we are all expecting some sort of Olympic song to inspire the U.S Team from Lowell after his previous biathlon inspired ‘hit’ Fire Them Down! If he does go on to release a solo album he could do worse than to call it The Low-ell Down!!! 😉

Good luck for next season Lowell and don’t spend too much time alone in your room with that guitar!

Check out Lowell’s website: http://lowellbailey.com
you can find links to his music there on Myspace.

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