World Cup competitions slated Friday through Sunday at NHC

13 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The athletes have arrived and the E.ON IBU World Cup Biathlon #7 is set to begin its competition schedule Friday at the Nordic Heritage Center.

The sport of biathlon combines cross country skiing with small-caliber rifle target shooting.

The men’s 10-kilometer sprint will be held beginning at 9:30 a.m., followed by the 7K women’s sprint at 12:15 p.m.

On Saturday, the mixed relay will take place. This event consists of two women and two men competing in a 12K race beginning at 2:30 p.m.

The pursuit event is highlighted Sunday. The men’s 12.5K pursuit gets underway at 10 a.m., followed by the women’s 10K race at noon.

The United States team was among the first to make it to Presque Isle as they arrived at the Northern Maine Regional Airport Monday afternoon. The men’s team is headlined by 28-year-old Tim Burke of Paul Smiths, New York, an Olympian who placed 14th in the World Cup standings in 2009-10. Burke trained for three years in Fort Kent.

Other male competitors are Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid, N.Y.; Jay Hakkinen of Kasilof, Alaska; Leif Nordgren of Marine-on-St. Croix, Minn. and Jeremy Teela of Heber City, Utah.

Members of the women’s team are Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake, N.Y.; Haley Johnson of Lake Placid, N.Y.; Laura Spector of Lennox, Mass.; and Sara Studebaker of Boise, Idaho.

Bailey, Nordgren, Cook Spector and Studebaker all have competed in the Olympics and all nine of the U.S. athletes have trained in Aroostook County.

This weekend’s events will also feature Norway’s Ole Bjoerndalen, the most decorated athlete in the history of biathlon. He has accumulated 11 Olympic medals, including six golds, and has 34 World Championship medals to his credit. He is currently fifth in the World Cup standings through the first six events.

The current leaders are Kaisa Makarainen of Finland on the women’s side and Tarjei Boe of Norway for men. Spector leads Team USA by placing 39th in the current women’s standings, while Burke is 37th to lead American men.

Tickets can be purchased at the Forum in Presque Isle through Thursday and at the Nordic Heritage Center throughout the weekend of competition. The cost is $5 per ticket.

Following Sunday’s race, the athletes will venture to Fort Kent for the World Cup #8 set for Feb. 10-13 a the 10th Mountain Ski Center.