February 25, 2010

One Olympic dream lives, another in jeopardy

GLENN JORDAN

— By

click image to enlarge

Staff Photo by Gordon Chibroski, Thursday, January 20, 2005: Wilton's David Chamberlain is one of America's top nordic skiers. He was rececently named to the World Championships team. He is shown here at Gould Academy during a three-hour practice on the atheletic fields in Bethel, Maine.

click image to enlarge

Jack Milton/Staff Photographer: Wednesday, April 2, 2009: Adele Espy, nordic skier at Waynflete School, recently returned from the Junior Olympics in California, and the national championships in Alaska.

Jack Milton

Additional Photos Below

Staff Writer

The Olympic flame started flickering Thursday in Germany for Walt Shepard, a Yarmouth native.

Ten time zones away in Alaska, the flame is all but extinguished for cross country skier David Chamberlain of Caribou, who narrowly missed making the 2002 and 2006 Olympic teams.

In a 10-kilometer time trial among the six U.S. men hoping to earn one of the two available slots on the Olympic biathlon team, Shepard placed fifth Thursday, more than a minute behind the winner, Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid, N.Y.

Zach Hall of Nikiski, Alaska, hit all 10 targets and finished nine seconds behind Bailey, who missed two shots, the same as Shepard. Leif Nordgren and Wynn Roberts were third and fourth, with Kevin Patzoldt sixth.

''I am disappointed to have a fifth-place result,'' Shepard wrote in an e-mail, ''but anything outside the top two would have been equally disappointing.''

Shepard said he felt strong early, but a little stale overall after not racing for three weeks since qualifying for the opportunity in Minnesota last month.

''As far as my shooting goes,'' he wrote, ''I had no nerves on the range. I just took two bad shots and it happened that a few guys hit more targets.''

All six U.S. men will race in the IBU Cup Sprint race Saturday in Altenberg, a village in eastern Germany near the Czech Republic. The top 60 biathletes from about 160 will advance to the Pursuit race Sunday. U.S. officials will consider the top two of the three potential races when determining Olympic selections, meaning Shepard must qualify for Sunday's race to have any shot at the Olympics.

''It would have been easier for me to start off these races with a better placing,'' he wrote, ''but this result won't affect my outlook on the IBU Cup this weekend. This places a little extra pressure on me for the Sprint but I have prepared well, and I am focusing on a top result rather than obsessing about the minimum qualification standard.''

Among U.S. women, six biathletes are competing for three spots. Thursday's winner was Sara Studebaker of Boise, Idaho, who missed only one shot. Laura Spector of Lenox, Mass., who attended the Maine Winter Sports Center, was second with a perfect day on the range, followed by twins Tracy Colliander and Lanny Barnes, Susan Dunklee and BethAnn Chamberlain.

Meanwhile, the U.S. cross country championships are coming to a close in Anchorage, Alaska. BethAnn's husband, Wilton native David Chamberlain, has placed in the teens in three of four races this week, with today's Classic Sprint remaining.

Ranked 17th in the nation among Nordic skiers, Chamberlain, 34, needed to finish among the leaders in a few races to have a legitimate chance of being named to the Olympic team. Instead he placed 13th in a Freestyle Sprint last weekend, 19th in Monday's 15K Freestyle and 17th in Wednesday's 30K Classic Mass Start.

Adele Espy, 19, of Freeport is also in Alaska attempting to qualify for the junior world championships. She placed third among U.S. junior women in a 5K Classic race Wednesday, less than three months after being diagnosed with chronic compartment syndrome and a stress fracture, which required surgery in late October to relieve pain and pressure in both shins.

Several other Maine skiers are in Alaska hoping to qualify for international teams for younger athletes, including Sam Tarling of Cumberland.

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

gjordan@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Staff Photo by Gordon Chibroski, Thursday, January 20, 2005: Wilton's David Chamberlain is one of America's top nordic skiers. He was rececently named to the World Championships team. He is shown here at Gould Academy during a three-hour practice on the atheletic fields in Bethel, Maine.

click image to enlarge

Jack Milton/Staff Photographer: Wednesday, April 2, 2009: Adele Espy, nordic skier at Waynflete School, recently returned from the Junior Olympics in California, and the national championships in Alaska.

Jack Milton

 


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