Tim Burke (biathlete)

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Tim Burke
2018-01-06 IBU Biathlon World Cup Oberhof 2018 - Pursuit Men Tim Burke cropped.jpg
Burke in 2018
Full nameTimothy John Burke[1]
Born (1982-02-03) February 3, 1982 (age 36)
Paul Smiths, New York, United States
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Ski clubLake Placid Biathlon Club
World Cup career
Indiv. podiums5
Updated on 14 February 2013.

Timothy John "Tim" Burke (born February 3, 1982 in Paul Smiths, New York) is a retired U.S. biathlete. On December 20, 2009, he became the first ever US biathlete to lead the overall Biathlon World Cup.[2]


Early career[edit]

Burke first took up biathlon in 1997[3] and soon became a promising prospect on the national level, first competing for the United States in the Biathlon Junior World Championships in 2000.[3] Burke competed in the World Junior Championships another three times, but without ever finishing in the top 10.[3]

Burke's formative years were plagued by ill health.[4] Most critically, he had career-threatening hip problems in 2002, eventually managing a full recovery after surgery.[4] He also suffered from mononucleosis.[4]

First World Cup seasons[edit]

Burke debuted in the Biathlon World Cup in the latter half of the 2003–04 season at Ruhpolding, Germany.[3] This season also marked Burke's first World Championships; however, he failed to make an international impact, not achieving any World Cup points.[3][4]

Burke made his first US Olympic team in 2006,[3][5] and came quite close to achieving his first World Cup points (the Olympics being part of the Biathlon World Cup), placing 35th in the sprint and 36th in the following pursuit.[3][note 1] However, his moment of international attention came as Jay Hakkinen surprisingly brought the US team to the first exchange in first place.[5][7] Burke, on the second leg, thus had the honour of leading the Olympic relay.[5] However, this did not last long, as US dropped to 8th place on Burke's leg with him needing all three spare rounds in both shootings; they eventually finished 9th.[7]

Per Nilsson of Sweden became the head coach of team US in 2006.[4] Burke, whose results soon improved markedly under Nilsson's guidance, credits the Swede with "teaching me what hard training really looks like."[4] The 2006–07 season was a great success for Burke, who got the first World Cup point of his career already in the season-opening 20 km individual at Östersund, Sweden with a 30th place[8] and followed up with another five points finishes, including the first top 10 finish of his World Cup career in a sprint at Hochfilzen, Austria.[3][9] Burke got his season-best 6th-place finish in a mass start at Pokljuka, Slovenia on January 21, 2007.[10] At the World Championships in Antholz, Italy, Burke placed 7th in the individual competition. He eventually finished a very respectable 25th in the overall World Cup standings.[3]

The 2007–08 season was a disappointment as Burke suffered from health problems again[11] and failed to improve on the previous year, finishing 29th in the overall World Cup.[3] However, Burke finished that year on a high note as in the second-last race of the season, a pursuit at Holmenkollen, Oslo, Norway he became the first ever US biathlete to have the best scratch time in a World Cup competition;[4][11] though as he entered the pursuit from a meager 45th place, he still only finished 7th.[11][12] In the last race, a mass start, he placed 8th despite four penalty loops.[11][13] These were his best finishes that year.[3]

2009–10 World Cup season[edit]

The first half of the 2009–10 Biathlon World Cup season marked Burke's breakthrough to the absolute elite of biathlon. In an individual 20 km competition at Östersund, Sweden, the opener of the 2009–10 World Cup season, Burke became the second ever US biathlete to finish 2nd in a Biathlon World Cup competition.[14] (Josh Thompson had been the first.) Burke continued to produce solid results in the following competitions, consistently finishing in the top 20.[3] This solidity – combined with the absence of Norwegian World Cup leader Emil Hegle Svendsen from the third competition weekend at Pokljuka, Slovenia[15] and the disastrous 103rd place[16] of Austria's Christoph Sumann in the Pokljuka sprint – meant that on December 20, 2009 Burke, despite never winning a World Cup race, became the first ever US biathlete to capture the overall World Cup lead.[2]

Burke initially held that position for just one competition, as he only finished 19th in a 10 km sprint at Oberhof, Germany in adverse weather conditions.[17][18] The winner,[17][18] Evgeny Ustyugov of Russia, in turn captured the World Cup leader's yellow bib for the first time in his career. However, Burke recaptured the lead in the very next race (the first mass start of the season) by matching his career-best 2nd-place finish.[19][20]

Burke then entered a slump with a season-worst 31st place the next weekend in a sprint at Ruhpolding.[21] His bad form continued at Antholz, Italy, as he finished 29th in the 20 km individual competition and 21st in the sprint.[3][22]

2010 Winter Olympics[edit]

At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, Burke had big expectations and aimed to win a medal but instead left at one of the lowest in his 14 years as a USA national team member.[23] This came as a disappointment to him as prior to the competition, he had medalled on the World Cup Tour.[24] In addition, there was media hype around his participation as he was the first American to lead the Biathlon World Cup standings and was a strong medal contender.[25] The increased media attention may have impacted his possible success, as he felt he did "a bad job dealing with that".[26] There was also poor snow conditions which can lead to more friction for the athletes, resulting in slower speeds.[27] Burke placed 18th in mass start, 45th in individual, 46th in pursuit, 47th in sprint and 13th in relay.[28] His first race was the individual, where landing him at 45th place came as a shock to him as it was his lowest finish that season.[29]

After his 15k mass start race, his coach, Nilsson, believed that Burke did not find the balance "between calm and aggressiveness".[30] Burke reflected on his own race, suggesting it may have been the pressure that ultimately got to him and caused him to make the three misses that ended his chances in medalling.[30] Evgeny Ustyugov from Russia, Martin Fourcade from France and Pavol Hurajt from Slovakia placed first, second and third, respectively.

After the Olympics[edit]

Burke's problems continued in the last races of the season. He fell ill after the Olympics[31] and failed to score another top 20 finish until the second-last individual race of the season, a 10 km sprint at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, where he finished 11th despite one miss at both shooting stages.[3][32] Thanks to his strong early season, he still finished a career-best 14th in the overall World Cup.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Since October 25, 2014, Burke has been married to former German biathlete Andrea Henkel.[34] He has expressed support for stricter gun control in the United States, stating during the 2018 Winter Olympics that although he was a keen hunter, "if locking up all my sport rifles and hunting rifles meant saving one life, I would do it".[35]

Biathlon results[edit]

All results are sourced from the International Biathlon Union.

Olympic Games[edit]

0 medals

Event Individual Sprint Pursuit Mass start Relay Mixed relay
Italy 2006 Turin 58th 35th 36th 9th N/A
Canada 2010 Vancouver 45th 47th 46th 18th 13th N/A
Russia 2014 Sochi 43rd 19th 22nd 21st 8th
South Korea 2018 Pyeongchang 41st 47th 17th 6th 15th
*The mixed relay was added as an event in 2014.

World Championships[edit]

1 medal (1 silver)

Event Individual Sprint Pursuit Mass start Relay Mixed relay
Austria 2004 Oberstdorf 61st 71st 18th
Austria 2005 Hochfilzen 63rd 66th
Italy 2007 Antholz 7th 35th 32nd 24th 9th
Sweden 2008 Östersund 29th 9th 10th 25th 15th
South Korea 2009 Pyeongchang 14th 11th 21st 28th 21st
Russia 2011 Khanty-Mansiysk 30th 31st 30th 6th
Germany 2012 Ruhpolding 56th 10th 28th 23rd 10th 12th
Czech Republic 2013 Nové Město Silver 28th 32nd 30th 12th
Finland 2015 Kontiolahti 31st 15th 20th 14th 14th
Norway 2016 Oslo Holmenkollen 44th 14th 17th 12th 8th
Austria 2017 Hochfilzen 36th 40th 32nd 7th
*During Olympic seasons competitions are only held for those events not included in the Olympic program.
**The mixed relay was added as an event in 2005.


  1. ^ At the time, only the top 30 were awarded Biathlon World Cup points. This was revised upwards to 40 starting in 2008–09. Burke had previously finished 33rd in a World Cup competition at Hochfilzen, Austria.[3][6]


  1. ^ "Homepage of Olympic Biathlete Tim Burke". Retrieved 2010-02-16.
  2. ^ a b Kokesh, Jerry (2010-01-09). "Tim Burke Wears Yellow Bib in Sprint". IBU. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "IBU DATACENTER/Tim Burke". Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Franke, Viktoria (2009-12-21). "Current World's Best Biathlete: Tim Burke". Retrieved 2010-01-14.
  5. ^ a b c "Tim Burke – Athletes – US Biathlon". Retrieved 2010-01-27.
  6. ^ "IBU DATACENTER". Retrieved 2010-01-27.
  7. ^ a b "COMPETITION ANALYSIS MEN'S 4x7.5 KM RELAY" (PDF). Archived from the original (pdf) on 2011-07-07.
  8. ^ "IBU DATACENTER". Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  9. ^ "IBU DATACENTER". Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  10. ^ "IBU DATACENTER". Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  11. ^ a b c d "Burke Closes Out Biathlon World Cup With 8th". 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  12. ^ "IBU DATACENTER". Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  13. ^ "IBU DATACENTER". Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  14. ^ Kokesh, Jerry (2009-12-03). "Svendsen Wins 20K on a Cold Night". IBU. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  15. ^ Lewis, Michael C. (2010-01-02). "Surging biathletes ready to make noise in Vancouver". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
  16. ^ "IBU DATACENTER". Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  17. ^ a b Kokesh, Jerry (2010-01-09). "Ustyugov Battles Elements to Take Oberhof Sprint". IBU. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  18. ^ a b "IBU DATACENTER". Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  19. ^ Kokesh, Jerry (2010-01-10). "Björndalen in Dominating Mass Start Win". IBU. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  20. ^ "IBU DATACENTER". Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  21. ^ "IBU DATACENTER". Retrieved 2010-01-24.
  22. ^ Franke, Viktoria (2010-01-23). "21st Place for Burke in Antholz Sprint". Retrieved 2010-01-24.
  23. ^ "Q&A with Tim Burke". Eurosport. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  24. ^ Reuter, Lou. "Tim Burke hopes for redemption in fourth Olympic Games". Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  25. ^ Sullivan, Teresa. "American Tim Burke Raises Hopes for First US Biathlon Olympic Medal at Vancouver". VOA News. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  26. ^ Maese, Rick. "American Tim Burke takes aim at Olympic biathlon history". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  27. ^ Casselman, Anne. "Vancouver 2010 to Be Warmest Winter Olympics Yet". National Geographic. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  28. ^ "Time Burke". Team USA. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  29. ^ Hersh, Philip. "A small-town guy shoots - and skis - for the big prize again". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  30. ^ a b Herz, Nathaniel. "Burke's Medal Hopes Fade After 18th in Mass Start". FasterSkier. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  31. ^ Franke, Viktoria (2010-03-17). "Oslo Next World Cup Stop". US Biathlon. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  32. ^ "IBU DATACENTER". IBU. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  33. ^ "E.ON RUHRGAS IBU WORLD CUP BIATHLON" (PDF). IBU. 2010-03-27. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  34. ^ "Biathlon-Olymiasiegerin Andrea Henkel hat geheiratet". Thüringer Allgemeine Zeitung. 2014-10-26.
  35. ^ Calkins, Geoff (20 February 2018). "Winter Olympics 2018: Biathlete Lowell Bailey takes aim at assault weapons". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 19 March 2018.

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