Tim Burke, the top U.S. biathlete, tends to get asked what, exactly, it is that he does. When he left Europe for Vancouver last month for a final stint of pre-Olympic training, Burke landed in Chicago for a connecting flight and got that very question from a curious customs officer. After Burke told the man that he competes in biathlon, "he asked me if biathlon is a combination of handball and something else," says the 28-year-old Burke. "I can't even remember what the other thing was. I stopped listening when he said handball."
Even though he has never won a World Cup race, biathlete Tim Burke achieved a major breakthrough when he took the lead in the points standings and earned the right to wear the yellow jersey when the season resumes. The honor is similar to the one bestowed on the leader of the Tour de France as the cyclists progress through the stages of the race. No man from the U.S. Biathlon Team has ever worn the leader's jersey, but Burke's sixth-place finish in a 12.5-kilometer pursuit race in Pokljuka, Slovenia, on Sunday left it on shoulders. "I think every biathlete has thought about [wearing the yellow]," Burke, 27, said after the race. "It really hasn't hit me yet."
What a difference a week makes for Lindsey Vonn. The U.S. alpine star had been horrible in Aspen, failing to qualify in the giant slalom and skiing off-course in the slalom. This past weekend, though, she nearly won all three races in Lake Louise, Canada. What's more, Vonn performed brilliantly under the same kind of conditions that often plague skiers in Whistler, site of the upcoming Olympics.