On a picturesque day in Vancouver, British Columbia, Lanny Barnes felt right at home.
Blue skies. Sunshine. Whistler Olympic Park could just as easily have been Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. And
having her mom and dad and two sisters there, British Columbia could just as easily have been Durango.
It was just an awesome day out there," Barnes said in a telephone interview Thursday night. It reminded me a lot of
a Colorado day - bluebird and sunny."
Barnes, a Durango native, parlayed her comfortable environs into 23rd place, the best Olympic finish for an American
in the women's 15-kilometer individual biathlon since the 1994 Winter Games, 16 years ago in Lillehammer, Norway.
It's good to race like that," said Barnes, who sounded tired and proud but not all that impressed with her
accomplishment. Definitely, my goal is to finish higher than that."
Tora Berger of Norway won the 15K in 40 minutes, 52.8 seconds, 20.7 seconds ahead of silver medalist Elena
Khrustaleva of Kazakhstan and 28.2 seconds ahead of bronze medalist Darya Domracheva of Belarus. The 28-year-old
Norwegian provided the Scandinavian country with its 100th gold medal in the Winter Games.
For all its strengths, even Berger's run wasn't flawless. She missed one target.
Barnes, the 27-year-old daughter of Thad and Deb Barnes of Durango, cleaned 20 of 20 targets in her second Olympic
event of these games, something she's never accomplished in a four-stage race.
That was the goal going in (Thursday)," she said. I hit all my targets in the range. Whistler Park is a super-easy
range, so I knew the rest of the women were going to shoot just as well.
I felt a lot better with everything (Thursday)."
Barnes was disappointed with her 78th place finish in the 7.5K sprint Saturday. She said after the race she felt a
little off physically."
I'm not sure why," she said Saturday.
Barnes received reinforcements for Thursday's race: fellow Olympian and twin sister, Tracy Barnes.
Having her out there made a big difference," Lanny said of Tracy's belated arrival in Vancouver. Tracy Barnes, who
competed with her sister at the 2006 Torino Games, was the final cut on this year's U.S. Women's Biathlon Team.
And having my parents there, my aunt and uncle up from California it was amazing having family there," Lanny
Barnes said. It makes you work a little harder."
We were thrilled with Lanny's race (Thursday)," Deb Barnes said in an e-mail to the Herald. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, and Lanny skied so aggressively."
Barnes' finish was the best since Americans' Joan Smith and Joan Guetschow went 14th and 17th, respectively, in the
1994 Olympic event.
I'm a little tired, but I'm happy with how it turned out," she said.
Barnes will take today off before returning to training. Her next and final Olympic event is the women's
4x6-kilometer relay, which will be at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
I'm super-excited about it," said Barnes, whose U.S. team finished a career-best 10th in the relay in Torino.
Sara Studebaker of Boise, Idaho; Laura Spector of Lenox, Mass.; and Haley Johnson of Lake Placid, N.Y., will compete
with Barnes in this year's relay.
The girls on the team all are shooting really well right now, so we're hoping to improve on the last games, and
that's our goal," Barnes said.