Bailey, Burke close out careers

Lowell Bailey. left, and Tim Burke, ski in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (AP photos)

The professional biathlon racing careers of Lowell Bailey and Tim Burke came to an end Sunday after the World Cup 4×7.5-kilometer relay in Oslo-Homenkollen, Norway.

The four-time Olympians who both live in Lake Placid teamed up with Sean Doherty and Leif Nordgren on Sunday to place seventh in the 25-team field. The same relay team placed sixth at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in February.

The Americans crossed the finish line 2 minutes, 1.5 seconds behind the winning Norwegian team. Team USA used eight spares and didn’t have to ski any penalty laps. Austria was second in the race, 50.3 seconds behind Norway, while Russia took third, 56.9 seconds back.

Bailey’s career highlights include a gold medal in the 20K individual race last year at the world championships in Austria, a first for an American, and an eighth-place finish at the same distance in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Burke’s best Olympic showing came in Pyeongchang with a 17th in the 12.5K pursuit. The Paul Smiths native became the first biathlete in U.S. history to wear the yellow bib as the World Cup points leader during the 2009-10 season and earned a silver medal in the 2013 world championships.

The U.S. biathletes are boycotting the final World Cup event of the season in Russia.

Susan Dunklee, of Barton, Vermont, closed out the World Cup season Sunday in Oslo-Holmenkollen, Norway with a bronze medal in the 10K pursuit.

“I felt like I had the best preparation all summer and fall that I ever had and was really excited for the Olympic season, where so much pressure is put on that,” Dunklee said. “That was tough on me, but being a biathlete is all about being resilient, being able to pick yourself up over and over again. I am so happy to have this payoff at the end.”

Starting in the fourth position, 36 seconds behind leader Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia, Dunklee slipped back to seventh place after skiing the penalty loop following a miss in the first prone shoot. She regrouped to clean the second prone which moved her up to fourth, 25.9 seconds from the lead.

Dunklee’s only other miss at the range came in her first standing stage which knocked her all the way back to ninth, 32.1 seconds off the pace. Coming into the final shooting stage, Dunklee was in 10th position, but after clearing all her targets she exited the range in a battle for third with Japan’s Fuyoko Tachizaki right on her heels.

Dunklee gradually pulled away from Tachizaki for an eight-second advantage at the line to secure the bronze medal in 31 minutes, 6.9 seconds. She was 29.5 seconds behind winner Darya Domracheva of Belarus who attacked on the last loop to pull away from Kuzmina for a 9.2-second victory.

On Saturday in the 12.5K World Cup race, American Sean Doherty, of Center Conway, New Hampshire, finished 17th with a time of 33:05.8, 1:34.2 behind multiple Olympic gold medalist Martin Fourcade, of France.

  Bailey also had a strong race Saturday. Except for two missed targets in his first standing stage, Bailey was clean at the range, allowing him to move up 14 places from the start to finish 28th, 2:07.2 back of Fourcade.

Rounding out Team USA in the men’s pursuit were Nordgren (Marine, Minnesota) in 40th (+3:07.5) and Burke in 47th (+4:12.6). Both had four penalties.

Fourcade raced to his 72nd World Cup victory in 31:31.6 with two penalties. Lukas Hofer of Italy, with one penalty, finished second, 18.1 seconds back, while third place went to Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe with four penalties.