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US biathletes training for Vancouver Olympics in Midway



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MIDWAY -- The country's best biathletes are in Utah, preparing, ultimately, for the Vancouver Olympics. The team was just in Europe for seven weeks of training, and every fall they come to Midway to train.

The athletes are training extra hard because this is the first year the team has a solid shot at winning a medal in the Olympics--something they've never done before.

At an exhibition race, Sara Studebaker finished strong, hoping to be among the four women who will travel to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics. She can't believe it's only four months away.

"All the sudden, the summer's over," Studebaker says. "There's not much time left."

She is hoping to qualify for the Olympic team in the World Cup this December in Sweden.

"It's really an exciting time to be in U.S. Biathlon. For the first time, we are in the mix for a medal," Studebaker says.

Tim Burke, her teammate, is one of two biathletes who have pre-qualified for the Vancouver Olympics.

"Thinking about the Olympics is something I do every day in every practice," Burke says. "It's very motivating. I can't wait to get there."

Training at Soldier Hollow is one of his favorite places.

"Everywhere else people are training, there is snow, or it's 30 degrees and raining. So, it's nice to be out here in the sunshine and at such a great venue," Burke says.

There are three spots left on the men's Olympics team. A hometown favorite--Jeremy Teela, from Heber City--hopes to be going too. He's competed in Torrino and Salt Lake.

"Being back at this venue in Utah brings back memories," Teela says. "This is where we prepped for the 2002 games, and that was my first Olympics, it it's really motivating to be here."

The complete U.S. Biathlon team who will represent our country in Vancouver will be announced in January.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

Amanda Butterfield

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