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Archive for February, 2013

World Championships here in Nove Mesto are drawing to a close and it has been a great couple of weeks! Tim’s silver medal, the first biathlon championship medal for Team USA since 1987, highlighted a strong week of racing for our crew. I feel very happy about my races; although the Sprint and Pursuit didn’t go great, I had a great Individual, and had my best relay legs yet.

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I competed in our Mixed Relay as the second leg and enjoyed the opportunity to ski head to head with Germany’s Miri Gössner and Belarus’s Darya Domracheva. In our anchor leg, Leif put on an exciting sprint finish with Slovakia and we ultimately finished 8th. (Photo: USBA/Nordic Focus)

This year, the Individual fell on my birthday. Last year at World Championships, I hit 19/20 of my targets in the Individual race and placed 5th. That was a very special day indeed. I was hoping for another good day but I tried to stay relaxed and be realistic. With biathlon, the harder one tries to have good day, the less likely it will pan out well.

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(Live stream screen shot captured by Linda Jager).
This year I finished 15th with 2 penalties, one of my best results of the season. With that result, I met the pre-qualifying criteria for the Olympics. It was an awesome birthday!

Sometimes life’s most interesting memories come from moments of misfortune. In the last loop of the Individual, I fell on a downhill and broke the end of my rifle stock. Biathlon stocks are highly personalized, they take weeks to custom order, and can be costly. Breaking one is a major bummer. The positive thing about breaking a stock at World Championships is that the expertise needed to fix it is on site.

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Benjamin from Anschütz worked overtime to help get mine repaired before the Women’s Relay. (Photo: Armin Auchentaller)

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We just needed some wood, but since there was none to be found we salvaged some off the end of a broom handle. L to R: Benjamin, me and my coach Armin. Armin told me this was one of the “most interesting projects” he has seen in all his years of coaching and “will mean something 21 years from now.” (photo: Armin Auchentaller)

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I think the broom helped me “clean”- I hit 100% of my targets in the next race, a first for me on the World Cup.

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This week we had more familiar faces from home! This time the Dreissigacker Family came to cheer. It was Hannah’s first World Championships!

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After our World Championships races finished, we could devote all our energy to cheering our guys in their last races. Thanks for lending us the face paint Czech guys’ team!
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Our spirited crew

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We were all very surprised by the number of spectators that came to watch the races- it felt a lot like Ruhpolding or Oberhof. The line of people streaming out of the stands post race just kept coming. Thanks for creating such a positive atmosphere Czech! (photo: Sara Studebaker)

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The womens team’s biggest form of entertainment this past week came from a “Hollywood makeover” website. Hannah put her photoshop and graphic design skills to use on many of our staff and teammates. We weren’t sure how it would go over at first, but luckily our guys thought it more hilarious than offensive.

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That’s when we decided that we should showcase some of our coaches’ and techs’ portraits on our waxroom door. Finally, a bigger female presence on the staff!

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Another great form of entertainment was checking out the downtown shops, which were full of fun clothes and styles. Annelies just had to get this wig.

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One of the last mornings in Czech we made breakfast with the Swedish girls. It was a lot of fun being able to cook and share!

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World Championships have begun here in the Czech Republic. Over the next week and a half we will compete in 6 different types of races. Starting it off is tonight’s mixed relay tonight under the lights with Annelies Cook, Lowell Bailey, Leif Nordgren, and myself. Stream it live at 11:30 am EST from biathlonworld.com.

Before all the craziness of racing takes over, I want to look back at the last few weeks with the team and share a little bit about what life is like when we aren’t busy training or racing. We ski a lot and we work hard, but life on the road also features a lot of down time in hotel rooms. Having interesting and fun people on the team makes a huge difference in our quality of life. I truly believe we have one of the most enjoyable and supportive team atmospheres of any country on the World Cup circuit.

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This year the guys brought several remote control helicopters with them. Tim especially has logged many flying hours and is ready to study for his pilot’s license.

In Antholz we had 4 guitars, one banjo and one concertina between the staff and athletes. I can’t say it always sounded pretty (except when Lowell was playing of course), but we kept ourselves entertained.

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We spent the two week break before World Championships training near Antholz, Italy. Here we are enjoying some après ski coffees and soaking up the Dolomite sunshine at Platz Weise. Talk about a rough day at the office! Tim heard from Andrea that the German team was stuck training in the Oberhof Ski Hall that same day due to rain. Photo: Sara Studebaker

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During the Antholz World Cup, several of us had parents and relatives visiting who formed spirited cheering sections. It was a rare treat to hang out with my family (and other teammates’ families) in the middle of five months on the road. Photo: Lowell Bailey

In Italy, much of the day revolves around meal time. We would often spend at least an hour at lunch and 2+ hours at dinner crammed together around one long table. In the breaks between courses we had plenty of time to make (hilarious) conversation. I think I logged at least one hour every day laughing- that has got to be good for your health! We heard the same five pop songs 3 times a day (once every meal) and started composing our own words for them. Occasionally we ordered a couple bottles of wine as a treat and we learned that drinking the local La Grein turns your teeth and tongue purple.

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One of many fancy courses we enjoyed in Antholz. photo: Elise Munn

While the food here in Czech isn’t bad, it isn’t quite as nice as in Italy. Since we have a lot of free time in the morning due to a late training schedule, Annelies and Hannah suggested we make our own breakfast yesterday morning. We had French toast (with Vermont maple syrup), fresh fruit and yogurt. It was awesome!

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Leif

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Chef Hannah

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A happy group

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After a 10th place relay in Antholz, we are excited to see what World Championships might bring! Photo: Elise Munn

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