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Lowell Bailey had a break-out day in Sochi, which could bode well for two races still to come. Photo: © Nancie Battaglia
Lowell Bailey had a break-out day in Sochi, which could bode well for two races still to come. Photo: © Nancie Battaglia

Lowell Bailey's very good day in Sochi

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The big news yesterday for the North Country's contingent at the Winter Olympics was Lowell Bailey, the veteran biathlon skier from Lake Placid.

After two frustrating races early in the games, Bailey notched an eighth place finish in the men's 20k race. That's the best-ever finish for an American in biathlon, a sport that combines target shooting and cross country ski racing.
Right after crossing the finish line, he spoke with the Adirondack Daily Enterprise's Chris Knight, one of our correspondents in Sochi.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

Bailey said he knew it was a good race, “I had a feeling, just from—you know—how you’re doing on the course, and then of course, hitting 19 out of 20 [shots]. You hope that’s good enough.”

He said bouncing back from those hard early races took a lot of effort and support.

“Most of it was mental,” he said. “You spend your whole life working for something that to see it fall apart in a matter of 35 minutes—it can really beat you down if you don’t step back and gain some perspective.”

Chris Knight has been following Lowell Bailey's big ups and downs through this first week in Sochi. He says watching Bailey bounce back yesterday was powerful. It was amazing to see, Knight said, the highlight of the games for him so far, “Lowell had a tough first couple of races, finishing in the mid-30s in the sprint and the pursuit. After the pursuit, when he walked through the zone where the media and the athletes get together, he just couldn’t even say anything, couldn’t talk.”

Before the individual race, Knight said, “He really went back to the basics. He worked on some fundamentals in training. He talked to his mom, he talked to his coaches. You know, a lot of it was just mental. He was at such a low point that he needed to find a way back.”

Knight said Bailey had the race of a lifetime. “He missed just one target (shooting) out of 20. If he hadn’t missed that one target, we’d be talking Lowell Bailey on the podium here.”

Biathlon racer Tim Burke from Paul Smiths finished in 44th position yesterday.

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