Tim Burke, Sean Doherty and Clare Egan make it five biathletes qualified for the U.S. Olympic team.
The trio clinched berths with the conclusion of the fall World Cups in France this weekend. There is one more set of mass-start races Sunday, but no U.S. biathletes not already qualified are entered.
Burke and Doherty join world champion Lowell Bailey via top-30 finishes this season. Egan joins world silver medalist Susan Dunklee as the other top-finishing U.S. woman this season.
Burke is the biggest name of the trio. The 35-year-old former standard bearer of U.S. biathlon is going to his fourth Olympics.
Burke was once the hope to win the first U.S. Olympic medal in biathlon, the only Winter Olympic sport where the U.S. has yet to make a podium.
He led the World Cup overall standings in 2009 and won a 2013 World Championships silver medal but hasn’t been better than 18th individually at the Winter Games.
Bailey, also going to his fourth Olympics, succeeded Burke as the top U.S. man in recent seasons. Burke’s best World Cup finish since Sochi was sixth.
Doherty was the first U.S. teenage biathlete to compete at an Olympics in 2014 at age 18. He only competed in the relay in Sochi but has since grown to become the No. 2 American behind Bailey this season.
Doherty ranked No. 71 in last year’s World Cup standings. This season, he’s No. 27.
Egan will go to her first Olympics at age 31. She made her World Cup debut in 2015 and finished 20th and 22nd in two races at last season’s world championships.
The rest of the U.S. Olympic biathlon team — up to 10 biathletes total — will be determined in January.
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.