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Irwin and Wright Clinch Historic U.S. Single Mixed Relay Result at World Championships

by Sara Donatello

Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, WI/Army World Class Athlete Program) and Campbell Wright (Wanaka, NZL/U.S. Biathlon) teamed up for the second time this season to race in the 2024 World Championships single mixed relay event. The duo claimed an historic seventh place finish, the best U.S. result at a World Championship single mixed relay event since the discipline was introduced. 


Finishing +1.07 back from the leading French pair of Lou Jeanmonnot and Quentin Fillon Maillet, who claimed the top range performance, Irwin and Wright fell in a three-way tie with Germany and Austria for the second-best performance, shooting 0 (+4). France was joined on the podium by Lisa Vittozzi and Tommaso Giacomel of Italy in second and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold and Johannes Thinges Boe of Norway claiming the bronze medal. 


As has been the case throughout these World Championships, both Irwin and Wright claimed top course times, a nod to the US wax technicians and their tireless efforts. Despite his young age, Wright is skiing with the best, claiming the ninth course time on his first leg, just 11.6 seconds behind Boe, and fourth course time on his second leg, 17.6 seconds back. “I was really happy with my skiing,” said Wright. “We were in the fight.” 


Feeding off the energy from Wright, Irwin held a seventh course time, just 14.2 seconds behind Jeanmonnot, on her first leg and tenth course time, landing 35.7 seconds back from Tandrevold on her second leg.   


“I felt pretty good going into the race,” said Irwin. “We’ve had top skis all week from our wax staff and even though I was feeling a little tired from all the racing, I was confident that we would be in the mix again.” 


The single mixed relay event relies heavily on quick shooting time and both Irwin and Wright delivered. Cleaning prone and standing on his first leg, as well as prone on his second leg, Wright ended his part of the race having used just one spare round in his last standing shoot. Irwin followed suit with speedy range times, despite using one spare in both prone and standing on her first leg and prone on her second leg. She secured the U.S. a top result by cleaning her final round of standing, a difficult feat at that stage in a relay race.  


“The range was perfect for shooting and cool to be in the top six all race,” Irwin added. “Campbell had world class shooting and even with my spares, I’m super proud of our focus on the range. It’s been really cool to see Campbell find his stride on Team USA and perform well in the relays. I think we will make a great team going forward.” 


“We had an awesome race and were up with the top nations in the world,” said U.S. Biathlon Team Head Coach Armin Auchentaller. “Deedra and Campbell did an unbelievable shooting race as we were the second-best shooting team, and had a fantastic skiing race. They both had world class performances and showed that we are very competitive in this format. It was a big accomplishment for both of them.” 


The duo will have one last shot at a single mixed relay at World Cup 7 in Oslo, Norway, slated for March 3. For now, the focus turns to the final two World Championship race days, featuring the women’s 4x6km relay and men’s 4x7.5km relay on Saturday, February 17, and the women’s 12.5km mass start and men’s 15km mass start on Sunday, February 18. Information on how to watch can be found at usbiathlon.org/how-to-watch. For spectator resources, visit usbiathlon.org/spectator-resources.

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