U.S. men finish 7th in biathlon relay

Posted: Friday, January 12, 2007

The U.S. men’s relay team finished seventh on Thursday in a World Cup relay in Ruhpolding, Germany.

According to the Web site of U.S. biathlon, Max Cobb, the executive director of U.S. Biathlon, said he could not remember the U.S. ever being in seventh place in a relay, which like all other biathlon events is dominated by Europeans.

The 4-by-7.5-kilometer relay was won by Norway, which finished in 1 hour, 29 minutes and 17 seconds. The U.S. finished 2:27.4 back.

Kasilof biathlete Jay Hakkinen led off the relay. Hakkinen did not have an outstanding race, but he kept the U.S. in solid position, tagging off in 10th place.

Hakkinen needed three extra rounds in the prone shooting stage and two extra in the standing stage. In the relay, each athlete gets a clip of five rounds for each stage. If a target is missed, the athlete has three additional rounds at each stage that can be loaded, one by one, manually. The loading of the round takes valuable time. If all the targets are not down after the three manually loaded rounds, the athlete must ski a penalty loop for each target standing.

After Hakkinen’s leg, Tim Burke of Paul Smiths, N.Y., came through in a big way for the U.S. Burke had just one miss on the range and moved the team up to seventh position.

Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid, N.Y., continued the momentum, moving up to sixth place. Jeremy Teela of Anchorage then finished up by dropping back into seventh place.

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