Written by Eric Gissendanner
SOCHI, Russia – Seven Americans took part in across three biathlon competitions at the Laura CrossCountry Ski and Biathlon Center on Tuesday. The men’s 12.5K sitting event saw five competitors, with one skier in the men’s 12.5K standing and one racer in the women’s 10K sitting.
The event consisted of five 2.5K loops, with four shooting sessions. At the shooting station, athletes fire five shots per round. Competitors in the standing and sitting categories use standard air rifles, while those in the visuallyimpaired events use an electronic blind shooting system that allows the athlete to aim at the target according to a sound heard through a headset. During each shooting round, athletes have five shots to hit five targets placed 10 meters (33 feet) away.
In the men’s 12.5K sitting event, Andrew Soule placed fifth among four other United States competitors, clocking in at 37:04. Daniel Cnossen (National Sports Center for the Disabled) came in 11th at 39:01, while Sean Halstead (Rathdrum Ski Club) finished one spot behind in 39:32. Jeremy Wagner (National Center for the Disabled) skied to 16th place in 40:51, while AugustoJose Perez (Central CrossCountry Ski Team) rounded out the competition with a 19th place posting in 48:40. Soule was perfect in his shots, the only American to do so. He gained ground throughout the race, recording a sixthbest time after 7.5K before passing Maksym Yarovyi from the Ukraine. Soule was also the highestplacing nonRussian athlete. The host nation saw four of competitors take the topfour spots.
For the men’s 12.5K standing, Omar Bermejo (Maine Winter Sports Center/Paralympic Sport Club) was the lone American to compete as he finished 17th in 37:22. Bermejo was third off the starting line and finished sandwiched between Poland’s Witold Skupien and Finland’s Juha Harkonen.
In the women’s 10K sitting portion, Oksana Masters (National Sports Center for the Disabled) posted an eighth place finish in 40:22. Masters was the only American woman to compete in all of Tuesday’s events. The 10K event consisted of five 2K loops with four shooting sessions.
All biathlon events enjoy Wednesday and Thursday off before rounding out six final competitions on Friday.