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Military Olympians: Solider Shoots for Olympic First
American Forces Press Service ^
| Tim Hipps
Posted on 02/11/2010 3:13:47 PM PST by SandRat
SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah, Feb. 11, 2010 Army Sgt. Jeremy Teela has returned to the site of the best performance of his three-time Olympic career with sights set on becoming the first U.S. biathlete ever to win an Olympic medal.
Teela, a soldier in the Armys World Class Athlete Program, finished third in the mens 20-kilometer individual race at last seasons World Cup stop in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The XXI Olympic Winter Games are scheduled for Feb. 12-28, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The biathlon -- a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting will be held in Whistler.
Sgt. Jeremy Teela, a biathlete with the Armys World Class Athlete Program, has sights set on becoming the first U.S. biathlete ever to win an Olympic medal when he competes at the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Teela said he remembers the March 11, 2009 race as if it were yesterday. That was my day, he said. I made as close to a perfect race as I could.
I got down the course and was maybe a half-kilometer out, and Coach was there saying, Youre in second place. And I was like, No stuff, second place, huh? I always thought if somebody told me I was podium bound, I would have this extra kick in me but I had nothing. I was fighting
just going as hard as I could.
With his third-place finish, Teela became the first American biathlete to win a World Cup medal since Josh Thompson in 1992.
I was coming in second but there was this one German kid who also was having a great race, Teela said. I dont know if I could have done anything to counter his kick, but all in all, third place, I was psyched. He did get me, but that was the best performance of my career.
U.S. biathlon coach Per Nilsson was impressed with Teelas poise under pressure.
I am really amazed how cool he was on the shooting range, Nilsson said. There were two shots that were pretty close to a miss, but nevertheless, he stayed focused and just put his race together.
Teela, 33, who trains in Heber City, Utah, and claims Anchorage as home, expects unprecedented success this year at Whistler. His 14th-place individual finish at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Soldier Hollow remains the second-best U.S. finish at the Olympics.
I think a podium is within reach, Teela said. I showed it last year at Vancouver, but you really have to have the mindset. Your mind has to be in the right spot. I think a podium is in the cards for the team. We have four guys that are strong. And even the relay, I think we have a great shot at podium in that competition as well.
He will be competing at the Vancouver Games with Tim Burke, who medaled twice on the 2009-2010 World Cup circuit since Teelas third-place finish at Whistler. Burke, 27, of Paul Smiths, N.Y., headlines this U.S. Olympic biathlon squad, joined by Teela, four-time Olympian Jay Hakkinen, 32, of Kasilof, Alaska, Lowell Bailey, 28, of Lake Placid, N.Y., and first-timer Wynn Roberts, 21, of Battle Creek, Minn.
You try to be the best that day, Teela said. You dont have to be the best in the world. All you have to do is be the best at the Olympics on that day.
Ive got two jackets. I want the hardware.
Teela says hes honored to represent soldiers and their families worldwide.
Its an amazing opportunity given to you to be able to race and compete at the Olympics and to represent the United States, but its also special for me to race and compete for the Army, he said. Its hard to explain just to show up and have so many people rooting for you.
You show up and you race alone, but theres been a lot of people along the road thats helped you get to where you are. Ive got a big, strong team behind me that says U.S. Army on it.
(Tim Hipps works for Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command public affairs.)
||Sgt. Jeremy Teela, a biathlete with the Armys World Class Athlete Program, practices prone shooting Oct. 21, 2009 at Soldier Hollow, Utah, in preparation for the XXI Olympic Winter Games Feb. 12-28 in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps
||Sgt. Jeremy Teela, a biathlete with the Armys World Class Athlete Program, has sights set on becoming the first U.S. biathlete ever to win an Olympic medal when he competes at the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps
TOPICS: Canada; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; US: Utah
KEYWORDS: 2010olympics; banglist; firearm; gun; olympics; olypian; shooter; soldier; teamusa
posted on 02/11/2010 3:13:47 PM PST
If games were in Chicago, he’d need a FOID.
posted on 02/11/2010 3:33:30 PM PST
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