Winter Games Athletes
Burke is bidding to become the first American to medal in biathlon at the Olympic games. He enters off arguably the best season of his career, highlighted by a silver medal in the 20k individual event at the 2013 world championships in the Czech Republic. Burke became the second American to medal at the worlds, joining Josh Thompson from 1987. Any cause for optimism from Burke's fans could be tempered by what happened four years ago in Vancouver. Burke sizzled in the build up to those Olympics, becoming the first American to take the coveted Yellow Bib as the overall leader in the World Cup standings at one point. The Vancouver Games were a nightmare as Burke finished in 18th place in the 15k mass start along with finishes outside of the top 40 in his other three individual events. Burke said the media hype in Vancouver caught him off guard since he was a relative unknown in biathlon circles when he made a non-descript Olympic debut in Turin in 2006. A monthlong training camp in Germany this year was part of his preparation, and he can also take inspiration from longtime girlfriend Andrea Henkel - one of the world's best female biathletes in history. Henkel is a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Germany, and she and Burke claimed silvers in the 2013 worlds in the individual event - appropriately enough right before Valentine's Day.