Clare Egan shoots during the 4x6-kilometer mixed relay at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

Cape Elizabeth’s Clare Egan helped Team USA to its best mixed relay biathlon finish in U.S. Olympic history in Beijing early Saturday morning.

The U.S. team of Susan Dunklee, Egan, Sean Doherty and Paul Schommer placed seventh in the event in a time of 1 hour, 8 minutes and 58.3 seconds for the 4-by-6-kilometer event.

Twenty nations fielded teams in the race, which was won by Norway.

Clare Egan skis during the 4×6-kilometer mixed relay at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. Credit: Frank Augstein / AP

Each biathlete on the two-woman, two-man teams skied a 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) lap, shot prone, skied the lap again and shot standing before returning to the stadium to tag off to the next skier. Each racer was allowed to use up to three extra rounds per shooting bout.

The race was contested amid windy and cold conditions that challenged the competitors, particularly during the shooting portion of the competition.

The U.S finished Dunklee’s opening leg in 10th place, but the 34-year-old Egan had the second-fastest time in the second leg of the relay, 17 minutes, 38.2 seconds, to leave the United States in fourth place overall at the midpoint of the event. The U.S. was still in fourth place entering the final leg before settling for seventh place.

Team USA finished eighth in the event’s debut at Sochi, Russia, in 2014 before placing 15th in 2018.

Johannes Thingnes Boe won a three-way sprint to the finish line as Norway captured the gold medal for the second time in the last three Olympics.

The Norwegians finished in 1:06:45.6, while 2018 gold medalist France won the bronze in 1:06:46.5 and the ROC claimed the bronze with a time of 1:06:47.1 during a race in which Sweden, Italy and the United States also were in medal contention at different stages of the event.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...