A Missed New Year, Some German Traditions and an Unusual Cactus
Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK), right now the 28th in the Overall World Cup spent the holidays together with his girlfriend Kristin, their 10 month old daughter Stella and Kristin’s family in Germany. They also supported him during the Biathlon World Team Challenge on the 27th but while Kristin and her parents enjoyed the after-show party, Jay left the party earlier to spend time with his daughter. “I was away pretty long from home so it is great to just be with Stella!” No wonder that it was a rather quiet New Year’s celebration for the young family as well.“I missed the New Year”
His team mates all flew back to the U.S. to spend time with their families and recharge before the upcoming World Cup period. “On Christmas I just relaxed, had some good home cooking, and trained a bit” says Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY). There wasn’t a big New Year’s celebration for him either – well, actually there was none at all: “I got on the plane in Washington at around 6:00 pm EST on Dec. 31, went to sleep, and woke up in Frankfurt at 7:00am CET on Jan. 1, 2009. So, yes, I missed the New Year. I’m guessing I was somewhere over the North Atlantic when it arrived, but then again, I’m not really sure because I was flying through six different time zones that night.” Decorating the Cactus
While the rest of the team flew back to Germany on the 4th of January, Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) and Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) also left the U.S. earlier. “By returning a week early to Germany I will have more time to prepare 100% for the Oberhof World Cup”, explains Burke his early leaving.
Proving the great atmosphere within the squad his teammates joked about Teela also leaving the U.S. earlier: “It is a wonder that he separated from his cactus!” While others have their Christmas tree tradition, Teela and his wife decorate their cactus. “Well, it’s not that unusual for us. I live in Utah so it might look strange to people in other regions but I’m just proud of my cactus.”Three Days of Celebration
Not at all impressed by his cactus story was Lanny Barnes who had to struggle with some unusual Christmas traditions as well. While twin sister Tracy (Durango, CO) went back to the U.S. to spend some time with her husband and her family, Lanny visited the German side of their family. “With most of my relatives living in Germany it seemed only fitting that I start getting to know them better and also their strong German traditions” – some traditions, that Barnes had to get used to first: “The 24th of December I found out was when most Germans celebrate Christmas. I, on the other hand was used to celebrating Christmas on the 25th with the opening of presents in the morning” But to coordinate the date wasn’t a problem at all: “My German relatives promised me three days of festivities and celebration” says a more than happy Barnes. New Years she also celebrated in Germany – together with her boyfriend, who flew over from the US on the 26th.Trials in Altenberg, Germany
Now – with Tracy, Laura Spector (Lenox, MA) and Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, NY) joining her in Germany it’s all about the upcoming competitions: Part of the team will start in Oberhof for the World Cup; the rest will go to Altenberg for the IBU-Cup. Based on the results in Altenberg the coaches will decide who will be in the team for the World Championships in Korea.
So stay tuned for the final decision and more inside scoop of the American Biathlon Team.