Wins Historic Biathlon Worlds Gold for USA
After a successful 17-year career with US Biathlon, Lowell Bailey, 37, from Lake Placid, N.Y. announced his retirement following the 2017-18 season. The four-time Olympian made history at the 2017 IBU Biathlon World Championships, winning the first-ever Championship gold medal by an American biathlete.
Bailey grew up with cross-country skiing in his blood, competing in his first race at the age of three, and with the help of childhood ski-coach Bill Brooker, the young rising star was invited to a US Biathlon talent-identification camp when he was 13 years old. The opportunity to combine shooting and skiing became his passion, and he focused on competing at the Junior Biathlon World Championships from 1999 through to 2001, where he achieved his best result, finishing 11th in the Pursuit.
As he graduated from the junior ranks, Bailey narrowly missed out on his first Olympic berth in 2002 for the Salt Lake City Games. However, the next year he qualified for the senior Biathlon Worlds in Khanty-mansiysk, Russia, the first of 11 appearances at Worlds.
During the 2003-04 season, Bailey put his international career on hold to race for the University of Vermont’s (UVM) Catamount ski team. While attending UVM, he placed second on two occasions at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.
Bailey returned to full-time training at the Maine Winter Sports Center in Fort Kent, Me. He went on to make the U.S. Olympic team in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.
At 30, he had a breakthrough season in 2011-12 with two top-five World Cup performances, finishing the season in 14th overall. He surpassed that ranking during the 2016-17 season, where he finished a record eighth overall, the best-ever result by an American biathlete.
Bailey reached a new high point of racing achievement for the men’s US Biathlon team at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The Lake Placid native registered the best result at an Olympic Games for an American biathlete, placing eighth in the Individual 20km race. Soon after, he followed that up with his first World Cup podium in the men’s 10km sprint at Kontiolahti, Finland.
In 2015, he tied the knot with Erika Edgley and started a family. By the next year, he was considering hanging up his skis for good to focus on his new family life. Fortunately, the chairman of the board of the Crosscut Mountain Sports Center reached out and offered Bailey a job as a consultant for its new biathlon-training facility, allowing him to work while away at competitions.
Bailey took the opportunity, and in 2017, he scored his most iconic victory of all, a win at the Biathlon World Championships in men’s 20km Individual at Hochfilzen, Austria. He shot clean in all four shooting rounds on his way to gold, and his victory held American fans in awe.
He took home another World Cup podium the next month at the Pyeongchang Test Event, scoring the silver in the 10km sprint, and a week later, he won silver in the Single Mixed-relay event with teammate Susan Dunklee at the IBU World Cup in Kontiolahti, marking the U.S.A.’S first team medal in 23 years. The duo took home bronze in the same event at the IBU Open European Championships on Jan. 28, 2018 at Ridnaun-val Ridanna, Italy.
Bailey concluded his career at the 2018 US Nationals in Park City, Utah, crossing his final finish line together with longtime teammate Tim Burke, who also retired. Bailey and his wife, Erika, are now expecting their second child in July, and are now based in Bozeman, where he is the executive director of the Crosscut Mountain Sports Center.
Team USA celebrates Lowell Bailey's historic gold medal.
Lowell Bailey made history in 2017, winning the U.S.A.'S Biathlon Worlds gold medal.