Hakkinen makes good on Olympic dream

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2002

Kasilof biathlete Jay Hakkinen, 24, clinched his second straight trip to the Winter Olympics Thursday in Heber City, Utah.

The eight-member U.S. team was announced following the conclusion of the Olympic Trials for biathlon. The team which will represent the United States in Salt Lake City in February includes three Alaskans in Hakkinen, Anchorage's Jeremy Teela and Anchorage's Rachel Steer.

The team was determined by four races over the past week in Utah. Athletes were graded on their three best races.

The final race was the 10-kilometer sprint held Thursday. Hakkinen finished second in the race, 22 seconds behind Lawton Redman of Florence, Vt.

Since shooters only had to attempt 10 shots on the range during the race, the 10-kilometer sprint favored strong skiers. This figured to favor Hakkinen, a strong skier who won Wednesday's 12.5-kilometer pursuit race despite five misses on the shooting range.

Hakkinen missed on two targets Thursday, while Redman missed on one target.

Hakkinen, along with the rest of the U.S. team, will travel to Germany Saturday for World Cup biathlon competitions in Oberhof and Ruhpolding as preparation for the Winter Olympics.

The team will return in late January to begin final preparations for the games.

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