Bailey shoots his way to 15th place

Lowell Bailey had a strong day on the shooting range Thursday to lock up a 15th-place finish in the 20-kilometer individual race of the biathlon world championships in Oslo, Norway.

It was Bailey’s best career performance in a world championships event. His previous best effort came with a 22nd-place finish in the 20k in Pyeong Chang, South Korea. The Lake Placid native is competing in his ninth world championships.

Heavy early-morning fog dissipated about two hours before Thursday’s competition started, leaving partly cloudy skies for the longest and toughest event in biathlon. Bailey completed the course in 51 minutes, 57.6 seconds, putting him 2:43.7 off the winning pace. He hit 19 of 20 targets on the range with his only miss coming in the first standing stage.

“After a disappointing pursuit race, I spent the last three days working on my game plan for today’s race,” Bailey said. “I really wanted to stay focused to my shooting fundamentals and not the actual competition result. It always helps me to focus on the process and not the result.

“I was really happy with the last stage, especially today because I knew what was on the line coming into the shooting range but I was able to block out that distraction and focus on each shot.”

Martin Fourcade of France came back from a penalty in the first standing stage with an impressive skiing performance to win his fourth gold medal of the week. His time of 49:13.9 put him 5.1 seconds ahead of silver medalist Dominik Landertinger of Austria who shot clean. Landertinger’s teammate, Simon Eder, won the bronze medal, also shooting clean, 14.4 seconds back of Fourcade.

The rest of the four-man U.S. team each finished in the top 50 of the 99-man field, with Leif Nordgren placing 27th, Sean Doherty finishing in 34th and Tim Burke, of Paul Smiths, coming in 44th.

The world championships continue today with the women’s 4x6k relay beginning at 9:30 a.m. EST.