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US Biathlon nominates first athletes to Olympic Team

Tim Burke

Tim Burke of the US crosses the finnishing line to place second in the men’s 20km individual event of the IBU Biathlon World Championships in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, on February 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey and Susan Dunklee are the first three 2014 U.S. Olympic biathletes.

US Biathlon nominated the three on Friday, which means they will be on the Sochi Olympic Team if approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee, as they are expected to be.

Burke, Bailey and Dunklee qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team eight months ago via World Cup results last season.

Burke and Bailey competed at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics. Dunklee, 27, has not participated in the Olympics before. More U.S. Olympic biathletes will be named in December and January.

“It feels great to meet the early qualification standard for the Sochi team,” Burke said, according to a press release. “This allows me to focus all of energy on being my best at the Olympics and not worry about qualifying for the team. I look forward to a great season ahead year of training. I will do everything possible to be at my best for Sochi.”

A U.S. biathlete has never won an Olympic medal; no individual has done better than ninth. Burke, 31, is the best hope to end that drought.

Burke wore the yellow bib as the World Cup sprint leader in the month before the 2010 Olympics, but his best finish in Vancouver was 13th in the relay.

He came back to win a silver medal at the World Championships in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, in February.

The biathlon World Cup begins in Ostersund, Sweden, on Sunday.

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