FIS Biathlon World Cup 2016/17 Wrap
Career-best Top Performances from U.S.A.'S Bailey and Dunklee
The U.S.A.'S Lowell Bailey and Susan Dunklee raced into the history books with Bailey placing a best-ever eighth overall in the final men's and Dunklee finishing 10th overall in the final women's IBU World Cup season rankings. Both delivered personal- and team-best results along the way. Here's a look at the highlights of the 2016/17 season.
Dec. 7-11, 2016 – Pokljuka, Slovenia
Beginning in December at Round Two in Pokljuka, Slovenia, Dunklee of Craftsbury, Vt. matched her best-ever performance in a World Cup Pursuit race, landing a fifth-place finish in the women's 10km event. She had started in 11th, got off to a blazing start by clocking the fastest opening loop in the 57-woman field and calmly knocked down her first 15 targets. A miss in the final standing session dropped her to seventh, but she dug deep and rallied to finish fifth at 24.1 seconds behind winner Laura Dahlmeier (GER), who rebounded after losing the lead following two penalties in her second prone, closing a 37-second gap to claim her second consecutive win. Finland's Kaisa Makarainen also had two penalties to finish in second, 16.8 seconds back. Czech Republic's Eva Puskarcikova hit the podium for the first time in her career, finishing in third, 18.7 seconds back with one penalty.
Dec. 13-18, 2016 – Nove Mesto, Czech Republic
At Round Three in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, a crowd estimated at 30,000 saw Dunklee land on the podium with clean shooting and fast skiing to claim bronze in the women's 7.5km sprint at 5.1 seconds behind Russia's Tatiana Akimova, who earned her first-ever World Cup victory with clean shooting
March 1-5, 2017 – Pyeongchang, South Korea
Following a brief hiatus after the Biathlon Worlds where she won historic silver, Dunklee didn't miss a step, shooting nine out of 10 and finishing a stellar fifth in the women's 7.5km sprint competition at the IBU World Cup in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Germany's Dahlmeier won the race in a time of 20:43.7, 8.4 seconds ahead of Norwegian Tiril Eckhoff. Chevalier finished third, 41.6 seconds back. All three podium finishers shot clean.
At the same event in the men's 10km sprint, Bailey from Lake Placid, N.Y. continued his winning ways following his gold at the Biathlon Worlds by scoring the silver medal. Bailey shot clean to finish behind Austria's Julian Eberhard and ahead of France's Martin Fourcade. He missed only one shot in the last five of his races, all top-six performances.
Bailey then came into the men's 12.5km Pursuit to break his streak with two misses – one in the first prone stage and another in the first shooting stage. Despite those misses, he held onto ninth position, 1:20.6 behind winner Fourcade of France, who, matching Ole Einar Bjorndalen's 2005 single-season as well. Anais Chevalier of France also shot clean for a personal-best second place.
“Nove Mesto is one of my favourite places to race,” said Dunklee. “The stadium crowd roars like thunder and every metre of the course is packed with spectators.”
Dunklee continued her world-class performances the next day with a personal-best fourth in the women's Pursuit despite two penalties. Chevalier took the win with one missed target for her first-ever World Cup victory.
Canada's Julia Ransom matched a career-best World Cup Pursuit result in 19th. The 23-year-old from Kelowna, B.C. shot clean until her fourth and final stop on the range, where she missed one target.
win record, gave a nod to the legendary Bjorndalen: “I am part of this generation who grew up watching Bjorndalen on television . . . I want to thank him for being as inspiring as he was as I was growing up.”
March 9-13, 2017 – Kontiolahti, Finland
In Kontiolahti, Finland, Dunklee and Bailey paired up to deliver a stellar silver in the Single Mixed relay at the BMW IBU World Cup #8. Using five spares, they combined forces to win the U.S.A.'S first team medal in 23 years.
Dunklee recovered from a fall on a downhill section and Bailey out-sprinted two other teams to secure the podium for the American duo. It was the first Single Mixed relay competition for both Dunklee and Bailey and the first team medal for the U.S. since a silver medal in the women's relay at the 1994 World Cup in Canmore, Alta.
Following a superb season, the U.S.A.'S Dunklee finished a career-best 10th overall as the IBU World Cup wrapped up at the Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway. After 26 events, Germany's Dahlmeier took the overall World Cup title, also claiming the Pursuit title. The Czech Republic's Gabriela Koukalova was second overall, also taking home the sprint and mass-start globes. Makarainen rounded out the overall World Cup final podium. Rosanna Crawford was the top Canadian in 50th.
Bailey finished a storybook historic season with a career-best eighth overall in the men's World Cup overall rankings. Fourcade took the men's title yet again for his sixth series victory. The Frenchman also won the overall titles in the men's mass start, sprint and Pursuit rankings. Russian Anton Shipulin finished second to Fourcade in the overall, also finishing second overall in the Pursuit and third overall in the mass start. Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway rounded out the World Cup overall in third. Scott Gow was the top Canadian male in 50th.