NOVE MESTO, CZE (February 14, 2013) - Tim Burke
(Paul Smiths, NY) made US Biathlon history today winning a silver medal in the 20-kilometer individual event at the 2013 IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto, CZE. This is the first career World Championship podium for Burke, and the second World Championship medal in US Biathlon history following Josh Thompson's 20k individual silver at the 1987 IBU World Championships in Lake Placid, NY.
Burke posted a time of 50:06.5, with two penalties, to finish +23.5 seconds back from World Cup leader Martin Fourcade (FRA) winning his first gold medal of the 2013 World Championships today with a time of 49:43.0 and one penalty. Fredrick Lindstrom (SWE) took third with a time of 50:16.7 and one penalty.
"I'm so proud. It's been such a big effort by our entire team and organization, and it feels great to help finally make that come together," said Burke after today's podium. "It was one of those races where I ended up being by myself for most of the race, so I wasn't able to judge where I was from the others, but my shooting went really well so I knew I was going to be up there.
I had a disappointing start to these World Championships in the first two races, so today I just wanted to be aggressive and not over-think things, and bottom line just go for it. I knew heading into the last lap that I was in second place, but in an individual race you can never tell how people are doing behind you, so I wasn't ready to start celebrating until after the finish.
We had a strong team day today as well. Thanks to the fans back home for all their support. I got a lot of encouraging messages over the last few days from people telling me to keep my head up and to keep at it, and it worked." added Burke
"This was our first World Championship podium since 1987," said US Biathlon Head Coach Per Nilsson. "Tim Burke did it with a perfect race today, finishing only 23.5 seconds after Martin Fourcade. Everyone here is super excited, and we feel it is so well deserved for Tim."
"We showed the last two or three years that we are really close and we can do it, and today everything came together," added US Biathlon High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler. "Tim was super focused and had really good shooting today. He used the right techniques and had awesome material, and when all of this comes together it's possible to win a medal. It's so well deserved for someone that's worked so hard and put so much into this sport. It's so nice to see that he gets rewarded for that. Per and our staff has bought our program up to another level."
It was a strong performance by all of Team USA today. Leif Nordgren
(Marine, MN) finished 22nd with a time of 52:49.8 and two penalties. Lowell Bailey
(Lake Placid, NY) was 29th posting a time of 53:09.3 with three penalties, and Russell Currier
(Stockholm, ME) finished 60th with a time of 56:13.1 and five penalties. Extended results from today's 20k individual are available here
"In addition to Tim's podium, Team USA did really well today, with Leif at 22nd and Lowell also at 29th," said Eisenbichler. "We will start with two men (Burke and Bailey) in Saturday's mass start, which will continue to push US Biathlon - plus the three Youth World Championship medals from Sean Doherty - in the right direction."
"It's just so exciting and a phenomenal performance by Tim today," said Max Cobb, US Biathlon CEO. "All the evidence that Tim could do this has been there for a long time, but he put it together on the most important day of the year. The whole high performance staff has done an outstanding job, not just here but over the last six years that we've been working towards this. I couldn't be prouder of all of them. The whole group really helped Tim get this done today. It's a phenomenal milestone for Tim and biathlon in America."
Team USA returns to World Championship competition tomorrow with the women's 4x6k relay beginning at 11:15 (EST). Team USA will start with bib 16. Annelies Cook
(Saranac Lake, NY) will ski the first leg for the team, followed by Sara Studebaker
(Boise, ID), Susan Dunklee
(Barton, VT) and Hannah Dreissigacker
(Morrisville, VT), respectively. Tomorrow's relay start list and results will be available here
. The women's 4x6k relay will be webcast live at www.biathlonworld.com