US women back in full force for biathlon

After having just one biathlete qualify from the 7.5km sprint for Monday’s pursuit, the full U.S. contingent will take part in Thursday’s 15km individual.

The event, originally set for 6:05 a.m. ET. Wednesday, was rescheduled due to weather to 3:15 a.m. Thursday.

Emily Dreissigacker was the lone U.S. athlete to qualify for the pursuit with her 51st-place finish in the sprint. The 29-year-old from Morrisville, Vermont, went on to finish 47th in the pursuit.

Susan Dunklee, seen as one of America’s best biathlon chances in PyeongChang, came down with a cold early in the Games and finished a disappointing 66th in the sprint.

The 31-year-old Vermont native finished 34th in the individual race at the 2014 Olympics and has competed five times at the world championships, with her best individual race finish at that level coming with a fifth-place performance in 2012. She was sixth in individual at the 2017 world championships, although she won silver in the 12.5km mass start event, her only medal so far on the world stage.

The rest of the American women’s biathlon contingent consists of Olympic rookies in a 30-year-old Maine native Clare Egan and Joanne Reid, a 25-year-old from Palo Alto, California.

Biathlon, which combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, has the dubious distinction of being the only sport at the Winter Olympics in which the U.S. has never won a medal.

The best individual finish any American biathlete has had at the Olympics came four years ago when Lowell Bailey, who is competing in his fourth Olympics in PyeongChang, placed eighth in the men’s 20km individual in 2014.

However, the mixed relay and women’s relay teams finished eighth and seventh, respectively, during those same Olympics. And with the Russian women’s relay team being disqualified from their fourth-place finish, the U.S. women can technically lay claim to sixth place in Sochi.