Hakkinen leads U.S. in biathlon

Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2001

Kasilof biathlete Jay Hakkinen, 23, was the top American finisher in the 10-kilometer sprint Friday and the 12.5-kilometer pursuit Saturday at a World Cup biathlon event at Soldier Hollow, Utah.

Hakkinen finished 33rd in the 10-kilometer sprint Friday and dropped to 43rd Saturday in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit.

The results helped Hakkinen recover from the 72nd he had in the 20-kilometer race to open the competition Wednesday.

Hakkinen's downfall Wednesday was his shooting, as he missed seven of his 20 attempts. Friday's 10-kilometer race involved 10 shots, and Hakkinen missed just one. That meant he had to ski a 150-meter penalty loop, which adds about 30 seconds to the biathlete's time.

Friday, Hakkinen finished 1:34.5 behind winner Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway, who also had one penalty.

Hakkinen said after the race Friday that it felt good to have an accurate shooting day under his belt.

"I was really nervous today after Wednesday's results," he said in a press release. "I feel much better about my shooting than in the past couple of races."

In Saturday's 43rd-place finish, Hakkinen had no problem with his shooting until he had to shoot from the standing position.

In the 12.5-kilometer pursuit, competitors take their first 10 shots from the prone position. In that position, Hakkinen hit all 10 of his shots. The next 10 shots are from the standing position, and Hakkinen missed four of 10 standing, meaning he had four 150-meter penalty loops.

Hakkinen finished 4:19 behind Bjoerndalen, who won all three races at Soldier Hollow. Bjoerndalen had just one shooting penalty Saturday.

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