The Winter Olympic Games have begun in Sochi, Russia, with several competitors with local ties taking place in the early rounds of competition.
Perhaps the best showing in the first five days of competition went to Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake, who finished 13th in the luge competition Feb. 9. Tucker West, a National Sports Academy student, followed in 22nd. Mazdzer was sliding in his second Olympic games, while West was making his debut in Sochi. Mazdzer was timed in 3:29.954 while West posted a time of 3:31.217.
In men’s biathlon, Tim Burke of Lake Placid finished 19th in the 10K sprint Feb. 8 with a time of 25:23.3, 49.8 seconds out of the lead. Burke missed one standing shot and none from the prone position. Teammate and fellow Lake Placid resident Lowell Bailey finished 35th in 26:04.1, 1:30 behind the winner, missing one shot in each the prone and standing positions.
In the 12.5K pursuit Feb. 10, Burke finished 22nd in a time of 35:37, 1:48.4 behind the gold medal. In four shooting stations, Burke missed once from the prone position (first station) and standing (fourth). Bailey finished 38th in 36:34.8, with one miss in each of the final three shooting stations (one prone, two standing).
In women’s biathlon, Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake missed a pair of standing targets in the 7.5K race Feb. 9, finishing in 53rd place with a time of 23:23.4, only 2:16.6 behind the winner. Cook was perfect in the prone shooting position.
In ski jumping, National Sports Academy alum Nick Alexander placed 34th in the first round of the normal hill event with a score of 116.0 Feb. 9. He did not advance to the final round along with Peter Frenette of Saranac Lake (45th, 107.2) and Plattsburgh native Anders Johnson (47th, 104.2).
In speed skating, Lake Placid Central alum Shani Davis finished 24th in the 500-meter race Feb. 10 with a two-race time of 1:10.98, 1.67 seconds off the winning pace.