PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA – Leif Nordgren was doing laps on the warmup course in preparation for skiing the anchor leg in his final biathlon race of the Olympics when he looked at the leaderboard.
His teammate Sean Doherty had moved the U.S. team from 11th place to sixth in the 4x7.5-kilometer relay.
“That was really exciting for me,” said Nordgren, a Forest Lake High graduate. “That kind of got me going, [thinking] that we’re in this for sure.”
The relay team moved as high as fifth but couldn’t close the gap and finished sixth Friday night at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre.
Nordgren’s team tied the best finish ever for the U.S. in the men’s Olympic relay. The Americans also finished sixth in this event at the 1972 Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.
Nordgren ran into some trouble from the prone shooting position. He left two targets standing, forcing him to ski two penalty loops. He only dropped one position in the race, though.
“Honestly, it’s a little disappointing,” he said. “We were gunning for a lot more as a team. I had some mistakes in prone and that hurt a lot since we were right there in contention with some of the top teams in the world.”
Gusty winds affected race conditions again, an issue Nordgren has battled throughout these Games.
“In prone, I was just getting thrown around by the wind,” he said. “It’s kind of given me trouble the whole couple of weeks here. I obviously never quite figured it out. That’s how biathlon goes sometimes unfortunately.”
Nordgren competed in four events in these Games. His best finish was 50th before the relay.