Tim Burke

First Amer­i­can to Wear World Cup Leader's Bib

SkiTrax - - Contents - by Sue We­myss

Tim Burke, one of Amer­ica’s top biath­letes, has re­tired fol­low­ing a ca­reer that spanned two decades at the sport’s high­est level. Burke achieved spec­tac­u­lar re­sults, shared his wis­dom with younger team­mates and, in 2009, rewrote the his­tory books. For­tu­nately, the 36-year-old will be stay­ing on in the sport by as­sum­ing a new role as ath­lete-de­vel­op­ment man­ager for the US Biathlon As­so­ci­a­tion.

Burke took up biathlon as a young teen, which com­bined his en­joy­ment of shoot­ing and ski­ing. He grew up near Lake Placid in the town of Paul Smiths, N.Y., and com­peted in his first Ju­nior World Biathlon Cham­pi­onships in the year 2000, rep­re­sent­ing the U.S. for the next four years, com­pet­ing as well at the 2003 Ju­nior Biathlon Worlds.

The next sea­son was an un­cer­tain time for Burke, as he de­vel­oped se­vere hip prob­lems that al­most ended his ca­reer, but the Amer­i­can bat­tled back to earn his first IBU World Cup start in Ruh­pold­ing, Germany dur­ing the 2003-04 sea­son. That year, he also qual­i­fied for the Biathlon World Cham­pi­onship team, which would be the first of 11 appearances.

The four-time Olympian made his de­but at Torino 2006, and dur­ing the fol­low­ing win­ter, he earned his first World Cup points in the 20km race at the sea­son-opener in Oester­sund, Swe­den. He also scored his first top-10 fin­ish in a World Cup that year with a sixth in Slove­nia.

The New York na­tive made his­tory in De­cem­ber 2009 by be­ing the first Amer­i­can to cap­ture the over­all lead in the World Cup and earn the yel­low leader’s bib. He did so with top re­sults at the open­ing World Cup in Oester­sund, fol­lowed by con­sis­tent fin­ishes at the races that fol­lowed. The next year, Burke made his sec­ond Olympic ap­pear­ance, this time at Van­cou­ver 2010.

The 2012-13 sea­son held more ca­reer high­lights for Burke. He earned a sil­ver medal in the 20km In­di­vid­ual race, break­ing a long Biathlon World Cham­pi­onship medal drought for the Amer­i­can men. He also achieved his best World Cup sea­son rank­ing, fin­ish­ing 10th over­all.

Burke made his fi­nal Olympic ap­pear­ance at the Pyeongchang 2018 Games, where he cap­tured his best-ever In­di­vid­ual Olympic per­for­mance, fin­ish­ing 17th in the Pur­suit. He was also part of the U.S. men’s re­lay team that fin­ished the 2018 Games on a high note with its sixth- place fin­ish in the 4x7.5km re­lay, match­ing the team’s re­sult at the 1972 Olympics in Sap­poro, Ja­pan.

The fi­nal race of Burke's ca­reer was at the 2018 U.S. Na­tion­als in Park City, Utah, where he crossed his fi­nal fin­ish line with long­time team­mate Low­ell Bai­ley, who also re­tired. Burke now takes on a new role at the US Biathlon As­so­ci­a­tion as ath­lete-de­vel­op­ment man­ager to as­sist de­vel­op­ing biath­letes across the U.S.A. and help them jump to the next level.

Tim Burke be­came the first Amer­i­can to cap­ture the over­all World Cup yel­low leader's bib at Pokljuka, Slove­nia in 2009.

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