March 29th, 2011

American Tracy Barnes Wins World Biathlon Shoot-Out

Tracy Barnes of Durango, Colorado beat the very best biathletes in the world in the Shoot-Out phase the Veltins World Team Challenge in Schalke, Germany. The World Team Challenge, held annually in the Veltins Arena, is the equivalent of the SuperBowl of Biathlon. Tracy grabbed top honors in the prestigious Shoot-Out event, a shooting competition for the top 20 biathletes in the world. In this invitation-only event, 10 women competed head-to-head in a four-stage shooting event duplicating the format for a regular biathlon race (two prone, two standing). In the final round of competition, the top three ladies from the preliminary round face off with the top three men from the mens’ first round. Tracy came in 1st for the women’s round AND 1st in the final competition!

Veltins World Team Challenge Shoot-Out

Laser Rifles Used in Shoot-Out
This year, the athletes and the 50,000 spectators at the Veltins Soccer Stadium had to adjust to something new — this was the first time that laser-rifles replaced the traditional .22-caliber rifle. The athletes received their laser-rifles on Saturday and had only one day to practice before the World Team Challenge. Tracy and her U.S. teammate Tim Burke finished 9th in the pairs mass start and 10th in the pursuit race held the same day. Tracy’s personal support team (her husband Gary and her Dad) accompanied her to Germany for this major biathlon event. [Editor’s note: While we don’t want to diminish Tracy’s accomplishment in any way, we think it is unfortunate that event organizers mandated laser guns instead of .22 LR rimfire rifles. Biathlon started as a military training competition. To change from actual shooting to “lasering” is a step in the wrong direction in our opinion.]

Lanny Barnes Stars in Mammoth Lakes Biathlon Festival
Meanwhile, back in the USA, Tracy’s twin sister Lanny Barnes traveled to Mammoth Lakes, California on friday to help with biathlon clinics for several hundred new biathletes ages 10+ and competed in a race at a new biathlon course in Mammoth Lakes on Sunday. Due to the town receiving close to 10ft of snow during the week, flights were canceled and Lanny wasn’t able to make it in for the clinic. She helped with the kids, adults, wounded warrior, and disabled skier biathlon race on Saturday and competed in an elite race on Sunday. She won the race on Sunday that was filmed by Versus and Outdoor Channel and American Trigger Sports Network. Tracy was impressed by Mammoth Lakes — she says it is evolving into one of the best high-altitude biathlon venues in the country. With over 200+ volunteers that dug out the range buried by mountains of snow, the Mammoth Lakes crew put on one of the most professional and exciting biathlon events ever run in the United States.

Mammoth Lakes Biathlon

Twin Biathletes Continue Training for Next Winter Olympics
The twins ended their seasons after those two events and will now take a two week break before starting up their training again for the 2011/2012 season. With three short years until the next Winter Oympics, the twin will be training hard in hopes of winning gold in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

Photos provided courtesy Tracy and Lanny Barnes, rights otherwise reserved by copyright holders.