Former Oroville man doing well in Olympic Biathlon

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Jeremy Teela, who was born in Tonasket and raised in Oroville, was in ninth place after the first day of the biathlon event at the 2010 Winter Olympics as of Monday, Feb. 15.

“I competed on Sunday, Feb. 14 and we have four more games,” Teela said. “I finished the first day in ninth place and the goal is obviously to bring home some hardware in the form of a medal, but ninth place is a good start for the first day.”

Teela said he competed in the biathlon in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah and also in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy in 2006.

“I finished 14th, 20th and 23rd in Salt Lake City,” Teela said. “In Torino, I switched coaches a few years before and messed up the preparation before it, so the outcome wasn’t up to my expectations.”

Teela, who now lives in Heber City, Utah, said he is from a lot of places but was born in Tonasket and lived in Oroville. He said he used to ski at Sitzmark when he was young but he hasn’t been back in a long time. Teela said he is enjoying his time in Vancouver, skiing at Whistler.

“We’re up in Whistler for the mountain and it’s nice up here,” he said. “I’m getting to see a lot of different people from different countries and a lot of different sports. There’s a lot to do but you’ve got to focus and keep your mind on the competition because that’s why we’re all here.”

Teela’s brother, Eric, said the biathlon is even is bigger than the Super Bowl in Europe. He said the event is cross country skiing and .22 caliber rifle shooting from 50 meters. The World Cup Biathlon event in Europe has 40,000 spectators every year, Eric Teela said.

Since he competes in the World Cup every year between the winter Olympics, the biathlete said he knows many of the people he is competing against and that the atmosphere is very relaxed after an event.

“During a race, we’re all competitors and there are no friends on the race course,” he added.

As of press time, Teela had not yet competed in the second biathlon event, a 12.5 km pursuit on Tuesday, Feb. 16. On Thursday, Feb. 18, he will be competing in the men’s 20 km individual race. Then, on Sunday, Feb. 21, he will compete in the men’s 15 km mass start and finally, on Friday, Feb. 26, Teela will compete in the men’s 4 by 7.5 km relay.

For the event on Feb. 14, France took home the gold, Norway won the silver and Croatia won the bronze.