World Biathlon Championships

Susan Dunklee takes surprise silver at world biathlon championships

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As Susan Dunklee watched the top biathletes miss shot after shot, she knew that, if she shot clean, something special was possible at the world biathlon championships.

She did just that.

Dunklee, a two-time U.S. Olympian, earned a surprise silver medal in Friday’s 7.5km sprint, the U.S.’ sixth-ever podium finish at a worlds. She finished in 21 minutes, 19.9 seconds — 6.8 seconds slower than Marte Olsbu Røiseland of Norway, the Olympic silver medalist in the event.

Dunklee matched her mass start silver medal from the 2017 Worlds. She is the only American woman to earn an individual world medal. The U.S. has never won an Olympic medal in biathlon for either gender.

Dunklee was the 34th starter in Friday’s interval order. Ahead of her: Italian Dorothea Wierer, last season’s World Cup champion, had two misses and finished sixth. World Cup leader Tiril Eckhoff of Norway had six misses and placed 59th.

Dunklee was one of four biathletes in the field of 101 to shoot clean over 10 attempts on a windy day in Antholz, Italy. Her best individual World Cup finish the last two seasons was seventh.

“I often get off to a slow start [to the season] and don’t have my best results in December,” she said. “I just have to keep the faith and keep believing I’m capable of this sort of result, and that’s really what biathlon’s about. I think there’s 20 or 30 people on any given day that can be on the podium.”

The top two biathletes at the PyeongChang Olympics — German Laura Dahlmeier and Slovakian Anastasiya Kuzmina — retired after last season.

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2020 World Biathlon Championships TV, live stream schedule

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NBC Sports airs live coverage of every event of the world biathlon championships in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy, starting this week.

Frenchman Martin Fourcade, a five-time Olympic champion, headlines the entrants at worlds, held annually outside of Olympic years.

Fourcade, after an off-year in 2019 with zero world championships medals, is back leading the World Cup standings over Norwegian rival Johannes Thingnes Bø. Bø skipped four races in January (all won by Fourcade) due to the birth of his son.

Norwegian veteran Tiril Eckhoff has taken hold of the women’s tour with six wins in 13 events. Eckhoff, 29, had five career World Cup wins before this season.

The top two female biathletes at the PyeongChang Olympics — German Laura Dahlmeier and Slovakian Anastasiya Kuzmina — retired after last season.

The U.S. contingent is led by Susan Dunklee, a two-time Olympian who in 2017 earned the first individual world medal for an American female biathlete (silver in the mass start).

Clare Egan has been the top American this season, notching a career-best sixth-place finish at a Jan. 24 World Cup individual race.

The men’s roster includes two-time Olympians Sean Doherty and Leif Nordgren.

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Date Time (ET) Event Network
Feb. 13 8:45 a.m. Mixed Relay Olympic Channel | STREAM
1 p.m.* Mixed Relay NBCSN | STREAM
Feb. 14 8:45 a.m. Women’s Sprint Olympic Channel | STREAM
Feb. 15 2 a.m.* Women’s Sprint NBCSN | STREAM
8:45 a.m. Men’s Sprint Olympic Channel | STREAM
Feb. 16 1:30 a.m.* Men’s Sprint NBCSN | STREAM
6:50 a.m. Women’s Pursuit NBC Sports Gold | STREAM
9:15 a.m. Men’s Pursuit Olympic Channel | STREAM
10:30 a.m.* Women’s Pursuit Olympic Channel | STREAM
Feb. 17 12:30 a.m.* Men’s Pursuit NBCSN | STREAM
Feb. 18 8:15 a.m. Women’s Individual Olympic Channel | STREAM
Feb. 19 8:15 a.m. Men’s Individual Olympic Channel | STREAM
Feb. 20 1:30 a.m.* Men’s Individual NBCSN | STREAM
9 a.m. Single Mixed Relay Olympic Channel | STREAM
Feb. 21 1 a.m.* Single Mixed Relay NBCSN | STREAM
Feb. 22 5:45 a.m. Women’s Relay NBC Sports Gold | STREAM
8:45 a.m. Men’s Relay Olympic Channel | STREAM
10:15 a.m.* Women’s Relay Olympic Channel | STREAM
Feb. 23 6:30 a.m. Women’s Mass Start Olympic Channel | STREAM
9 a.m. Men’s Mass Start Olympic Channel | STREAM
Feb. 24 1 p.m.* Women’s Mass Start NBCSN | STREAM

*Delayed broadcast

Susan Dunklee’s historic silver caps incredible biathlon worlds for U.S.

Susan Dunklee
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Susan Dunklee capped the U.S.’ best-ever biathlon world championships by becoming the first American woman to take an individual medal, a silver, at an Olympics or worlds on Sunday.

Dunklee also became the first woman in any sport to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team and the second overall. Lowell Bailey previously qualified after winning the first U.S. Olympic or world biathlon gold medal on Thursday.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Dunklee, a 31-year-old who raced at the Sochi Olympics. “We’ve believed in the U.S. that we can get these world championships medals in the past. A [U.S.] woman winning a world championships medal is a really big thing.”

Dunklee missed gold by 4.6 seconds in the 12.5km mass start, clocking 33 minutes, 18.4 seconds in Hochfilzen, Austria, on Sunday.

German Laura Dahlmeier took gold for the fifth time in six races at worlds. Dahlmeier has now earned medals in all 11 world championships races she has entered the last two years.

Dunklee led Dahlmeier after each of the four shooting stages — both shot clean — but Dahlmeier erased a 5.1-second deficit in the final 2.5km skiing loop.

“Oh my gosh, we’ve never had anything like this,” Dunklee, the daughter of two University of Vermont cross-country skiers, told Dahlmeier as they waited for the podium ceremony. “It’s so cool.”

Dunklee has never won a World Cup race but did finish third and fourth this season, plus sixth in the worlds 15km individual last week.

Her fifth-place finish from the 2012 World Championships was previously the best individual result for a U.S. woman. The U.S. women’s relay team took bronze in 1984.

Dunklee earned her first World Cup podium one month after the Sochi Olympics, a third place, the first time an American woman made a top-level international podium since 1990.

The success of Bailey and Dunklee gives the U.S. hope that it can win its first Olympic biathlon medal in PyeongChang. Biathlon is the only Winter Olympic sport where the U.S. has yet to earn an Olympic medal. Its best finish was sixth in the 1972 men’s relay. Its best individual finish was Bailey’s eighth in the 20km individual in 2014.

Between Bailey and Dunklee, the Americans picked up six finishes at worlds that were better than their best-ever individual Olympic finish.

“We believed that we can get a gold someday, and Lowell did that this week,” Dunklee said. “We just have all this positive momentum going right now.”

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