SOCHI, Russia — Stockholm biathlete Russell Currier posted a 50th-place finish Thursday in his second event at the Winter Olympics, the 20-kilometer individual race.
Currier finished third among four Americans in the event with a time of 55 minutes, 7.5 seconds for the race held at the Laura Cross-Country and Biathlon Center in Sochi’s Mountain Cluster.
The 26-year-old Caribou High School graduate had four misses among his 20 shots in this combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.
Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid, N.Y., placed eighth overall, the best-ever finish by an American individual in an Olympic biathlon event. The previous best U.S. finish was ninth in the 10-kilometer sprint by Jeremy Teela at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“I feel a lot better than I did the last two races,” said Bailey, who had finished 38th in Monday’s 12.5-kilometer pursuit and 35th in Saturday’s 10K sprint. “I was the most disappointed that I’ve ever been after the pursuit. I knew I could be better than that. Fortunately, I have a group of coaches, trainers and support that I think are the best in the world.
“They really helped me wake up the next day and realize that those were only two races out of hundreds of races that I’ve done. I’ve spent the last two days working on skills and getting back to the fundamentals that we’ve worked on for the last 20 years.”
Tim Burke of Paul Smiths, N.Y., finished 44th Thursday in 54:21.2, while Leif Nordgren of Maine on St. Croix, Minn., was 83rd among the 88 finishers in 58.47.6.
France’s Martin Fourcade won his second gold medal of these Olympics in the race with a winning time of 49.31.7. He missed only one of his 20 shots.
Fourcade also won the 12.5K pursuit.
Bailey similarly missed just one shot en route to his time of 50.57.4.
“It wasn’t until the fifth loop, when I witnessed the emotion of one of our staff members, that I knew it was a good race,” said Bailey. “I had a feeling it was a good race because you kind of know how you are doing on the course, and then hitting 19 of 20 you hope that’s good enough to do something.”
Currier improved upon his debut event at the Sochi Games, a 61st-place finish Saturday in the 10-kilometer sprint.
Temperatures climbed to 55 degrees on the course Thursday afternoon, making for unique conditions.
“I’ve been in every Olympics since 1992 and we’ve never had temperatures like this for a competition,” said U.S. Biathlon CEO Max Cobb.
The next Olympic men’s biathlon event is the 15-kilometer mass start race scheduled for Sunday.
Additional men’s biathlon events remaining are the mixed relay next Wednesday and the men’s 4×7.5-kilometer relay on Saturday, Feb. 22.