His Olympic debut may be history, but the competitive season continues for Maine biathlete Russell Currier.
The 26-year-old Stockholm native, who took part in three events for the U.S. Olympic men’s biathlon team during its two-week stay at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, is expected to remain in Europe for most of March participating in as many as three International Biathlon Union World Cup events.
“Right now there is still another trimester of World Cups ahead of us,” said Currier via email from the Bavaria region of Germany, where he and the rest of the U.S. team are training for the remainder of the schedule. “I’m in for the first one and hopefully the last two series.”
The World Cup schedule is set to resume March 6-9 in Pokljuka, Slovenia, then continue March 13-16 in Kontiolahti, Finland, and conclude March 20-23 in Oslo, Norway.
Currier hopes to use those events in part to improve upon what he considered a disappointing effort in his final Olympic event, Saturday’s 4×7.5-kilometer men’s relay race.
“After the relay I’m just glad to have second chance at a better day,” said Currier, the only native Mainer to compete in the 2014 Winter Games.
The U.S. team was without veteran Tim Burke, who was sidelined by illness, for that relay and teammate Leif Nordgren was fighting through his own sickness to compete in the anchor leg of the race.
“Our relay team wasn’t running at full capacity from the start,” said Currier. “(But) we were optimistic and not even the only team dealing with a similar situation.”
A healthy Lowell Bailey got the U.S. contingent off to a strong start with the fourth-fastest first leg, but Currier struggled with his shooting phase in the second leg, hitting just two of five targets from the prone position at the first shooting station. As a result of those errant shots, the U.S. team was assessed three 150-meter penalty laps and Currier turned the race over to teammate Sean Doherty with the United States in 15th place among the 19 participating nations.
The U.S. team finished the race in 16th position.
“Lowell had a great first leg and tagged off to me in fourth, less than 10 seconds off the leader,” Currier said. “I had a really good draft in behind the Russian team for the first lap. We were closing the gap to the leaders. Unfortunately this is as far my success on the day went. My prone stage was abysmal.
“To be competently honest, I ended whatever chance the USA team had at a great result that day. With the three extra rounds you’re allowed per stage in the relay I still had to leave the range with three penalties. In this situation you’re pretty much out. I wasn’t very pleased to the say the least. I could keep going, but there isn’t much I can do about it now. There isn’t any point in making excuses, but I can say it wasn’t due to lack of effort.”
Currier and his teammates, who did not participate in the Olympic opening ceremonies because they were scheduled to race the next morning, did take part in Sunday’s closing ceremonies.
“It was pretty impressive, said Currier, who also finished 61st in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint and 50th in the 20K individual race while in Sochi. “Everyone else seemed to give it a good review. From the start just walking into the stadium was exciting. The presentation had a lot a variety and went off without any glitches.”
Currier did not indicate when he would return to Maine, but in recent years he typically has come home to Aroostook County in April to visit his family and capitalize on the region’s late snow.