Through the frozen fog of Ostersund Jay Hakkinen put together a deliberate performance reflecting his good training this summer. His skiing was smart and tactical, only 5 seconds slower than 2008 World Champion Emil Svendsen who won the sprint and finished third today. His 18 of 20 hits on the range were deliberate and quick, giving him very competitive range times. Hakkinens net time (finish time minus his start time) was the eighth best of the day and significantly it was six seconds faster than the net time of 36 year old veteran winner Tomasz Sikora of Poland who won with a time of 34:55.5.
Hakkinen skied the last 2.5 km loop together with Russian Maxim Tchoudov. With 200 meters left Hakkinen out sprinted the Russian who finished 12th, 1.1 seconds behind. "That was good," said the smiling Hakkinen at the finish. "I need more races like that. I was close to Bjorndallen [who finished 2nd] at one point and that was inspiring. I had a great kick, it was fun to be in such a competitive situation until the very end." Hakkinen was 63.2 seconds behind first and just 10 seconds behind tenth.
"This is a great result for Jay," said US Biathlon Executive Director Max Cobb. "He clearly worked hard over the summer and is showing some of the same form he showed in the 2006 Olympic season. And he is back in the top 25 on the overall World Cup ranking list."
Jeremy Teela of Heber City, UT, started 49th and moved up to 41st with a time of 37:37.8 (2:42.3 behind first) despite four penalties on the shooting range. Jeremy too had some energy left for the last loop logging the 13th best time. In the womens Pursuit Haley Johnson of Lake Placid, NY finished 54th with six penalties, 5:45.8 behind race winner Martina (Glagow) Beck of Germany who shot clean (no penalties) and had time of 32:42.4.
Photos of the US Team competing in Ostersund visit | Compete results from the week
The next stop on the World Cup tour is Hochfilzen Austria, and the competitions begin again on Friday December 12 at 5:30 AM eastern time with the mens Sprint. Watch it live at www.USBiathlon.org