It’s an anxious weekend for Stockholm native Russell Currier, one of four candidates for the remaining two spots on the U.S. Olympic men’s biathlon team.
Currier, Leif Erickson of Marine, Minnesota, Paul Schomer of Appleton, Wisconsin, and Jake Ellingson of Minnetonka, Minnesota, have spent the last two weeks in Europe vying to join Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke and Sean Doherty on the U.S. team that will compete next month in the 2018 Winter Olympics at PyeongChang, South Korea.
One spot is set to go to the contender with the two best results from last weekend’s International Biathlon Cup IBU 4 event in Breznouo-Orsblie, Slovakia, and this weekend’s IBU Cup 5 competition in Arber, Germany.
The final nomination will be a discretionary pick by U.S. Biathlon and the U.S. Olympic Committee, but it’s believed these two IBU competitions will weigh heavily on that selection.
The last two spots on the U.S. Olympic men’s biathlon team are scheduled to be announced Monday. The U.S. women’s team — including Clare Egan of Cape Elizabeth — already has been announced.
Currier has one first, one second and one third-place finish in three races over the two-weekend stretch, the third-place effort among the American contingent coming Saturday during a 10-kilometer race as part of IBU 5.
The 2006 Caribou High School graduate struggled with his marksmanship during that race, missing twice from the prone position and twice from the standing position to finish 40th overall, 2 minutes, 7.6 seconds behind winner Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen of Norway (26:46.3).
Nordgren, who finished first and third among the Americans in the IBU 4 races, added a second first-place finish Saturday. He had a clean shooting program en route to a 16th-place effort overall, 59.2 seconds out of first place and in all likelihood will secure the fourth berth on the U.S. team.
Another indication of Nordgren’s Olympic hopes was that he was selected to join Bailey, Burke and Doherty in a IBU World Cup relay race Friday at Ruhpolding, Germany.
Schommer, who had a second and fourth in Slovakia, was second among the U.S. squad Saturday while Jake Ellingson did not start the Arber race after a fourth and third among the Americans in Slovakia.