The U.S. squad of Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, Joanne Reid and Deedra Irwin made Olympic history on Friday, as all the American women qualified for the 10km pursuit for the first time. To qualify for the pursuit, biathletes had to finish in the top 60 out of 89 athletes in the sprint. They started the pursuit in intervals corresponding to the time they finished.
At the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, the only American to qualify for the pursuit was Emily Dreissigacker with a 51st-place finish in the sprint. The U.S. team saw a major improvement since then with each woman placing within the top 50 at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Dunklee placed the highest out of all the Americans in the sprint in 27th. She was 1:55.2 behind first place Marte Olsbu Roeiseland of Norway, who went on to win the pursuit discipline as well. Reid finished in 34th and Irwin followed close behind in 37th. Egan was the last American to qualify for the pursuit in 46th.
Dunklee is an athlete that thrives off the chase and her favorite event in biathlon is the sprint. The race marked her third championship sprint in a row over a three-year span in which she shot clean. She leads the rest of the young women’s squad as the most successful U.S. female biathlete in history after winning medals at the 2017 and 2020 World Championships during the sprint and mass start events. The 2022 Winter Games are Egan and Reid’s second appearance on the Olympic stage and Irwin’s first.