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Team USA Makes History Once Again In World Championships Men’s Relay

by Sara Donatello

The U.S. men’s relay team makes it two historic finishes for Team USA at the 2024 IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. Just two days after the single mixed relay seventh place finish, the team of Vincent Bonacci (Salt Lake City, UT/Team Crosscut), Sean Doherty (Center Conway, NH/National Guard Biathlon), Campbell Wright (Wanaka, NZL/U.S. Biathlon) and Jake Brown (Saint Paul, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) raced to fifth place, marking an historic World Championships finish in the discipline, and is the best U.S. relay finish since 2016. 


The U.S. crossed the line just +0.31 behind the fourth place German team and +1.22 back from the leading Swedish quartet of Viktor Brandt, Jesper Nelin, Martin Ponsiluoma and Sebastian Samuelsson, who claimed the gold medal. Sweden was joined on the podium by Norway in second and France in third. 


Starting back in bib 14, it was truly an incredible team effort to jump nine spots to finish fifth. Bonacci, using only two spare rounds in prone and cleaning his standing shoot, entered the first exchange in 11th. Doherty took over, and skied his leg with the 10th-fastest course time, cleaning his prone and using three spares in standing but avoided the penalty loop to keep the U.S. in the top 10 heading into exchange two. 


Having a standout World Championships thus far, Wright continued his world class performance with a fourth course time, cleaning his prone and using just one spare round in standing. Entering the third and final exchange, Wright tagged off Brown in sixth place. Brown, under pressure as the anchor leg, delivered his best performance in Nove Mesto. Shooting clean in prone, he sealed a top-six result for the U.S. by using just two spare rounds in standing. The last lap came down to ski speed and Brown proved to be faster than his Czech rival, securing the United States a fifth place finish. 


“It was a fantastic race,” said U.S. Biathlon Team Head Coach Armin Auchentaller. “We had to adapt to changing wind conditions during the race, which was different for each athlete. The whole team reacted to the conditions and were able to communicate to the athletes, who executed on the range. It was a really solid performance from each individual to get us a world class result as the best U.S. men’s relay finish in history at a World Championships or Olympics, and that’s a big accomplishment for them.”


With the final day of World Championships racing on the horizon, Wright and Doherty will have one final go in the men’s 15km mass start, set to begin at 10:30 EST/4:30 CET. For information on how to watch, visit usbiathlon.org/how-to-watch. For spectator resources, visit usbiathlon.org/spectator-resources

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