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Guardsman takes 9th in Olympic biathlon

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  • Guardsman takes 9th in Olympic biathlon

    By Lauren Gustus - Gannett News Service
    Posted : Monday Feb 15, 2010 8:00:53 EST

    WHISTLER, British Columbia — Thirteen was a lucky number for biathlete Sgt. Jeremy Teela on Sunday morning at Whistler Olympic Park.

    Teela drew the No. 13 starting spot for a wild men’s 10-kilometer sprint in which competitors raced through rain, snow, fog and, at the very end, a little sun. He took advantage of the early position — and the reasonable course condition at the time — to finish 9th overall in 25 minutes, 21.7 seconds.

    When Teela, a Vermont National Guardsman in the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program, came across the finish line he had no idea his result would hold up, or that the course had deteriorated for those who followed him.

    “I was really hoping it was going to start snowing really hard because then everyone behind you has no chance,” he said. “But it looked like it stopped and it’s going to be pretty fair.”

    Teammate Tim Burke didn’t think so. Burke started 29th, in the midst of a flash snowstorm that made for poor visibility on the shooting range.

    “That was by far the most unfair race I’ve ever been a part of,” said Burke, a World Cup overall points leader who many think could medal at these Games. “The people starting in the middle of the pack had no chance today, and unfortunately I was one of those.”

    France’s Vincent Jay crossed first in 24:07.8 to win the gold medal.

    “I had a lot of luck with the weather conditions today,” said Jay, who had the No. 6 starting spot.

    In biathlon, skiers’ starts are staggered at 30-second intervals. On Sunday, of the top-15 finishers, just three started after the No. 15 position.

    Teela missed two targets — one prone and one standing. One fewer miss would’ve bumped him up into top five in the standings.

    Whistler appears to be growing on the 33-year-old. His two best finishes — Sunday’s ninth and a third place in a World Cup race last March — have come at this venue. Sunday’s finish was an Olympic highlight, beating his previous best of 14th in the 2002 individual race.

    Teela was the first American to start, and he finished better than his teammates Burke, Lowell Bailey and Jay Hakkinen.

    “It was a first race to get the jitters out, get the nerves out,” Teela said. “... But we’ve got four more races after (Sunday).”

    Next up for Teela is Tuesday’s pursuit. He will also compete in the 20K, the mass start and the team relay.

    Teela is one of five athletes representing either Army or National Guard units.

  • #2
    Re: Guardsman takes 9th in Olympic biathlon

    it's too bad that we never do good in the nordic events.

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