February 9

Hometown fans cheer Maine Olympian Russell Currier in Caribou

Many attend the Caribou Downtown Ski Festival and get to watch their local hero compete in the Sochi Olympics.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Televisions showing a live-stream of the Olympics 10K biathlon sprint, in which Russell Currier competed Saturday, draw a crowd at the Options RTO store in downtown Caribou. Many of the viewers took a break from competing in the Caribou Downtown Ski Festival to watch Currier, who grew up in nearby Stockholm. The only Maine native in the Games, Currier finished 61st in a field of 87 with a time of 26:58.5.

Michael C. York/Staff Photographer

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Maine’s Russell Currier in the biathlon 10K sprint Saturday.

Jack Gruber/USA TODAY Sports

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(Penalties in parentheses)

Gold: Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Norway, 24:33.5 (1)

Silver: Dominik Landertinger, Austria, 24:34.8 (0)

Bronze: Jaroslav Soukup, Czech Republic, 24:39.2 (0)

U.S. Finishers

19. Tim Burke, Paul Smiths, N.Y., 25:23.3 (1)

35. Lowell Bailey, Lake Placid, N.Y., 26:04.1 (2)

45. Leif Nordgren, Marine on St. Croix, Minn., 26:17.4 (0)

61. Russell Currier, Stockholm, Maine, 26:58.5 (4)

Packard, wearing a No. 87 bib on her red World Junior Biathlon Championships jacket, said there was no place she would rather be.

“I’m here because Russell had a sixth-place finish in a sprint a few years back,” she said. “Before anything else, all the other events going on, I wanted to see this race. Before this (opportunity) came up, I was asking, ‘What’s happening? Where’s the party? Where are we watching?’ ”

Most people here said they would have been watching it at home, either on their computer or television. They knew a tape-delayed broadcast was scheduled to be on NBC’s afternoon telecast, but didn’t want to miss the chance to see it live.

Currier appeared briefly as he was preparing for his prone shooting. But the telecast switched to a Canadian biathlete, prompting many groans.

Then, as the camera panned away, Sarah Dominick of Stockholm said: “He’s getting up. I know that skate anywhere.”

Dominick has known Currier since he was about 13, “when he didn’t want to ski at all. He was into watching TV and riding his four-wheeler.’’

Now, she said, “it’s pretty exciting how much impact his success has had on our community, and the young people in particular.’’

That was evident in the town races, as middle schoolers and younger skiers sprinted along Sweden Street, with proud parents and friends watching, taking photos, in chilling temperatures.

Currier missed qualifying for Monday’s pursuit race by one spot. The top 60 qualified. He will race again in the 20K individual at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Those who know Currier best can take heart in the quality of his skiing on Saturday.

“He skied fast,’’ said Packard. “And that’s important.’’

Max Cobb, the CEO and president of U.S. Biathlon, put it this way in an email: “He was skiing very fast.’’

And his shooting has always been the weakest part of his game. But he did hit all five targets from the standing position, which was impressive.

“It was a solid effort,’’ said Dominick. “I’m sure he’s frustrated for missing four (from the prone position). I’m sure he’s disappointed. When he shoots clean, he has a chance to be top 10.’’

Those watching said nerves may have had something to do with his misses. “There’s a lot of excitement and it’s easy to have little mistakes,’’ said Dominick.

But Currier didn’t seem too disappointed. In a press release, he said, “It wasn’t the race I was hoping for today, but at the end of the day it’s still the Olympics and it’s great just to be here.’’

Just as it was great to be watching him from home.

“We’re here because we’re all very committed to Russell,’’ said Duepo. “He represents Aroostook County and we appreciate that very much.’’

Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at:


Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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Additional Photos

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Maine’s Russell Currier in the biathlon 10K sprint Saturday.

Competitive Images/Paul Phillips

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Caribou Middle School ski team members watch intently in Caribou on Saturday as the men's biathlon 10K sprint from Sochi, Russia, is live-streamed.

Michael C. York/Staff Photographer

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Lowell Bailey, who trains at the Maine Winter Sports Center, shoots during the men’s biathlon 10k sprint at the Winter Olympics on Saturday. Bailey placed 35th in the event.

The Associated Press

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