By Viktoria Franke - USA Biathlon February 21, 2009 www.biathlon.teamusa.org
"Girls, I think you just made history!" US Biathlon Executive Director Max Cobb proclaimed after the finish of the women’s relay during the World Championships in Korea. And they did: Finishing 10th in the relay competition in front of World Champion Norway really made the whole team proud. It was the best World Championship relay finish for the women since ninth place finish in 1997.
Lanny Barnes started first and managed to stay clean in the first shooting. That put her already in a good position, with only two extra shots in the second shooting she managed to stay in a good 12th place. “I am really glad that the WCHs are over. I felt quite tired on the track but I am satisfied with my shooting”, Lanny stated after her race. Haley Johnson took over as 12th and managed to stay on that position until the next exchange – although she needed five extra rounds overall. “Actually this is a good result for me. I was scared that I would have to go in the penalty loop but it’s great that I actually hit some targets”, she said with her usual sense of humor after the race. “And I felt really good on the track as well.” Laura Spector was “so excited about the race. I didn’t even want it to be over. I felt so good on the course although it was hard to know in which position I might be because the order changed all the time. But I knew I was in a good position so I just kept on going.” Spector had some problems with the windy conditions at the shooting range but managed to stay out of the penalty loop with three extra shots. The last competitor was Tracy Barnes and she put up one of the best performances of her life: Not only that she stayed clean at the shooting range, she also presented the fastest shooting time of the day. “I just watched my sister’s race and that somehow put me on a high. It was so inspiring I didn’t even know if I hit all the targets when I left the range. I really didn’t notice anything besides me.” Having Tora Berger, the strongest Norwegian woman, fighting with her for place ten also gave her an extra portion of motivation. “I can’t believe we managed to finish the race ahead of the Norwegians. That is simply awesome!” Coach Per Nilsson was not only happy with the skiing performance but also the result at the shooting range. “We had the third best shooting performance of the day and those were really tough conditions. I am really proud of the girls!”
In the wax room, post race.
Putting a "good luck wish" for the women's team on top of Dragon Mountain above the resort and venue this morning.