They came. They raced. They shot at stuff.
The opening races went off without a hitch this weekend in Sweden and this afternoon I heard word from my team mates across the ocean. The World Cup and IBU Cup teams have been named!
For the US. The four men starting in the opening World Cup this upcoming wednesday in Ostersund will be Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey, Leif Nordgren, and Jay Hakkinen. The Women will be Sara Studebaker, Laura Spector, Susan Dunklee, and Lanny Barnes. (this will be Susan’s first World Cup start!!!)
This also means that packing up the van and driving to central Europe for the IBU Cup will be Jeremy Teela, Bill Bowler, Tracey Barnes, and Annelies Cook.
Now to make things more complicated teams can (and often do) change. So incase you’ve just started to follow biathlon because you know an athlete let me break it down for you.
As you noticed above we have two international race circuits…
You have the IBU Cup. This circuit is virtually the “Minor League” of biathlon. Good for practice. Great for developing athletes.
Then you have the World Cup. This is the real deal. Best in the world. Legit competition containing a heck of a lot of mindblowing awesomeness.
(You must qualify for the World Cup by placing no more than 15% behind the top three finishers in an IBU Cup race, Open European Championships, World Championships, or the Olympic Games. This keeps the level on the World Cup at or above a certain level and doesn’t allow countries that don’t really have developed teams to just send anyone up to race the big dogs. Slaughtering athletes is not a pretty thing.)
Now you can go back and fourth at the discretion of your National Team. It definitely happens on the US team. If you are doing well on the IBU Cup you can get bumped up to race at a World Cup and if things aren’t going too hot on the World Cup they can send you down for a race (ala back to the minors).
Ah ok. Blahblahblah. Can’t you tell racing gets me all fired up? And this is me racing vicariously…
Here’s the current count down. Twoish more coachless workouts. Twoish more weeks out east. Getting fired up (if only to save me from my own disappointment with not being in europe)!