Burke headed to fourth Olympics
Lowell Bailey capped off the 2017 biathlon season with a 23rd-place finish in the men’s 15-kilometer mass start race at the World Cup event in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France.
Bailey, of Lake Placid, finished 14th in Saturday’s 12.5K pursuit and came back with a three-penalty performance in Sunday’s mass start. Martin Fourcade took the top prize in the mass start, giving the partisan French crowd exactly what it wanted with a clean-shooting showing and a time of 36:30.3.
French athletes also took second and third in the mass start race.
Paul Smiths native Tim Burke placed 26th in Saturday’s pursuit and didn’t race Sunday. Burke was nominated to the Olympic Team that will head to Pyeonchange, South Korea in February.
Burke, 35, will be making his fourth trip to the Olympic Games. He turned in his best finish in an individual race since the 2015-16 season when he took 10th in Friday’s 10K sprint.
Burke finished 19th in the sprint race at the Sochi Olympics in 2010.
American teammates Sean Doherty and Clare Egan also punch their tickets to South Korea this weekend in France. Bailey and Susan Dunklee, of Barton, Vermont, secured their Olympic positions last season after winning medals at the world championships.
Doherty, 22, will be competing in his second Olympic Games in 2018. He competed in the men’s relay as an 18-year-old in Sochi where the U.S. team finished 16th. Like Burke, Doherty qualified for the 2018 Games by finishing in the top 30 at the recent World Cup races.
Doherty has four top-30 finishes in the past two weeks, including a 17th in the pursuit in Hochfilzen, Austria, and a 17th in Friday’s sprint in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France.
Making her first appearance at an Olympic Games will be the 30-year-old Egan. Other than Dunklee, Egan had the best performance of the U.S. women’s team at the recent World Cups, topped by a 35th place in the sprint at Hochfilzen, Austria.
The final team selection for biathlon will be announced on Jan. 15. All selections to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
The teams now have a couple weeks off for the holiday break before action resumes Jan. 4-7 with the IBU World Cup in Oberhof, Germany.