Russell Currier of Stockholm, who last week was nominated for the U.S. Olympic men’s biathlon team, tuned up for his trip to Sochi next month by competing Friday and Saturday at the International Biathlon Union World Cup stop in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy.
The 26-year-old Currier finished 47th overall and second among Americans in Saturday’s 12.5-kilometer pursuit. Fellow Olympian Lowell Bailey led the U.S. contingent with a 12th-place finish, while Tim Burke did not compete in the race.
Currier finished 60th overall and third among American skiers in Friday’s 10-kilometer sprint. Again, Bailey topped the U.S. competitors with a 19th-place finish while Burke finished 50th. Leif Nordgren and Sean Doherty of the United States did not start the race.
Currier, a Caribou High School graduate and product of the Maine Winter Sports Center in Aroostook County, earned his Olympic team berth by scoring three firsts and one second-place finish to top three other Americans competing for the final two spots over two weekends of competition at Ridnaun-Val Ridanna, Italy, in early January.
Simon Dumont’s bid for a U.S. Olympic team berth in the ski halfpipe likely ended heroically but unsuccessfully at Deer Valley, Utah, on Saturday night.
The 27-year-old Bethel native and Telstar Regional High School graduate had pulled out of Friday’s event at the same venue with what US Freeskiing described as a training injury.
That injury turned out to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
It marked the second qualifying race Dumont had missed, having dropped out of last month’s Dew Tour stop in Breckenridge, Colo., when he was diagnosed with a concussion after losing a ski during a practice run and hitting his head against the halfpipe.
Yet Dumont returned Saturday evening and finished 12th among the 21 competitors entered in the event. He made the first of his two scheduled runs despite the devastating knee injury before taking a symbolic final, non-competitive run down the center of the halfpipe.
Dumont had been considered one of several Americans on the bubble for Olympic team berths entering this final weekend of qualifying races after scoring a fourth-place finish at Breckenridge, Colo., last week and a fifth at Copper Mountain, Colo., in December.
Only David Wise already has clinched a spot with a qualifying race-victory earlier in the season. Aaron Blunck, a 17-year-old from Colorado, also had already achieved an initial criteria for team selection with two top-three finishes, while Alex Ferreira and Lyman Currier boosted their chances by finishing second and third in Friday’s U.S. Freestyle Grand Prix event at Deer Valley.
Currier then won Saturday’s event for his second top-three finish with Blunck, Gus Kenworthy and Ferreira placing 2-3-4.
The ski halfpipe is slated to make its Olympic debut this year.