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Sochi Express: More biathletes join Team USA for Winter Olympics

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Two more biathletes have qualified for the Team USA squad destined for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, as announced on Thursday by the U.S. Biathlon federation.

Annelies Cook and Leif Nordgren received this nod of approval based on their International Biathlon Union world cup performances last year, and stretching into this Olympics qualifications season. These first-time Olympians join their more experienced teammates, Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke, and Susan Dunklee, who recently qualified for spots on this “Sochi Express” ride.

Cook and Nordgren have risen through the ranks since the Vancouver Olympics, and have been mentored by the veteran trio. All share their love for cross country skiing and riflery, and enjoy the challenges of this demanding sport.

Last season, Cook finished in the top twenty twice – in the individual (14th) and sprint (18th ) events. "I am very relieved to be named to the Olympic Team; it is something I have dreamed of since I was a kid,” said Cook.

Nordgren, who has raced in mass start, pursuit, and relay events, has been competing in IBU world cups since the Vancouver Olympics. “I'm not sure it's still really sunk in yet, but I'm pretty excited,” said Nordgren.

US Biathlon plans to round out its Sochi Olympics roster next month. All of its nominations require approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

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“Sochi Express” Update: As of December, 23 athletes have been nominated for Team USA. In addition to these five biathletes, four men and women curlers as well as ten lugers have met their federation’s criteria. By late January, Team USA’s Sochi contingent, approximating 250 athletes, will be solidified. And not a moment too late, since the Winter Games start on February 7.

Subscribe to all my articles on Team USA as it prepares for the Big Show!

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