Biathlete Burke places 4th, his best finish in 4 years

Biathlete Tim Burke, center, celebrates his fourth-place finish in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint with U.S. Biathlon coaches and staff today at the BMW IBU World Cup 4 in Oberhof, Germany.
(Photo provided — Nordic Focus)

Biathlete Tim Burke, center, celebrates his fourth-place finish in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint with U.S. Biathlon coaches and staff today at the BMW IBU World Cup 4 in Oberhof, Germany. (Photo provided — Nordic Focus)

OBERHOF, Germany — Three-time Olympic athlete Tim Burke shot clean and placed fourth in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint at today’s BMW International Biathlon Union World Cup 4 in Oberhof, Germany.

Burke, who grew up in Paul Smiths and lives in Lake Placid, finished 20.1 seconds behind the leader, Martin Fourcade of France, and 10.2 seconds behind third-place finisher Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway.

It marked a major comeback for Burke, who had to drop out of last winter’s biathlon tour because of health problems that were later diagnosed as mono.

“It’s great to be back,” Burke told U.S. Biathlon. “Last year was a really tough year for me. I had to end my season early, so to come back here with a strong result means a lot to me.”

It was Burke’s best finish in an individual World Cup race in roughly four years, since he placed third in the sprint in Ostersund, Sweden, during the 2013-14 season.

Burke attributed it to staying in Europe and training over the holidays.

“I decided not to go back to the U.S. for this break,” he said, “so I spent the break in Saalfeld, Austria, training, and it seems like probably that was the right decision.”

Though Burke finished fourth, he shot clean, unlike third place winner Boe, who missed twice.

“I felt pretty good in the range today,” Burke said. “I feel like the wind was doable — you could hit. I’ve spent a lot of time training here, so I was used to it and had a good game plan for today. The rain was tough. You’re wet immediately, but I think they did a great job today preparing the tracks. The hills were totally fine, they were firm, so it was as good as we could hope for in conditions like today.”

Fellow local Olympian Lowell Bailey, who grew up and resides in Lake Placid, did not compete in this race.

Burke qualified for the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics in mid-December of 2017. Bailey qualified last winter.

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