Burke positions for fourth Olympics

Paul Smiths native Tim Burke moved one step closer to qualifying for his fourth Olympic Games on Friday after placing 10th in the 10-kilometer biathlon sprint race at the World Cup event in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France.

Burke, who only needed a top 30-finish to achieve the performance requirement for nomination to the United States biathlon team that will compete in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February, shot cleanly Friday. It was his best finish in an individual race since the 2015-16 season.

The US Olympic biathlon team roster will be announced Jan. 15.

“I was very happy with how I executed my race today,” Burke said. “I was able to stick to my plan from start to finish, so I have to be happy with the result. I am definitely not in top ski form yet, but I’m hoping to save that for February. Now I am looking forward to what will surely be an exciting pursuit (Saturday).”

Teammate Sean Doherty, of Center Conway, New Hampshire, also shot clean on Friday on his way to a 17th-place finish. Lowell Bailey, of Lake Placid, finished 35th with only one penalty and Leif Nordgren took 56th. All four earned spots in today’s 12.5K pursuit race.

The men’s field of 103 enjoyed near-perfect conditions on windless, cloudy and fast tracks. The prone shooting reflected the great conditions with 48 men cleaning that stage.

“With perfect shooting conditions and a fast track, I knew that the race would be really tight,” Burke said. “That’s exactly how it played out. This was a good confidence boost for me heading into the holiday break.”

Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe led from the moment he left the start house until the finish, shooting clean and skiing fast to take the men’s sprint in 22 minutes, 16.9 seconds. Burke finished 1:08 behind Boe, while Bailey was 1:49.5 back.

It was the fourth win of the season for Boe who topped home team hero Martin Fourcade, who also shot clean, by 21.1 seconds. Third place went to Fourcade’s teammate Antonin Guigonnat who shot clean for his first career podium, 34.7 seconds behind Boe.

  Paul Schommer rounded out the American contingent with an 85th-place finish, 3:19.3 behind the leader.

The IBU World Cup in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand continues today with the men’s and women’s pursuits. The women’s 10K pursuit featuring Susan Dunklee, of Barton, Vermont, begins at 5:45 a.m. EST, followed by the men’s 12.5K pursuit 8:45 a.m. EST. Dunklee earned her spot with a 10th-place finish in Thursday’s 7.5K race. Live streaming coverage of both races can be seen on the Olympic Channel website.

COMMENTS