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Harden Furniture Sponsors U.S. Biathlon Olympian

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McConnellsville, N.Y.-based Harden Furniture is a sponsor of Bailey, a member of the 2006 U.S. Biathlon team, which achieved the best finish ever for a U.S. team for the relay event at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, last February. Biathlon—a combination of cross-country skiing and riflery—is the most popular winter spectator sport in Europe, drawing large crowds who brave freezing temperatures to watch athletes execute feats of physical prowess and precision. The Biathlon World Cup is a grueling 9-event competition held at venues all over Europe. Ranked 27th in the world for the 2005/2006 season, the 25-year-old Bailey has already shown his mettle at Biathlon World Cup events in Sweden and Austria. At the Hochfilzen, Austria, World Cup event, Bailey powered from a 96th place starting rank to 18th place, a personal best that qualifies him for the World Championships in Antholz, Italy, next February. Bailey emerged onto the international biathlon scene from the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF), an organization that lends financial support and professional guidance to winter sport athletes of all ages. Greg Harden, chief executive officer of Harden Furniture, has coached teenage Alpine skiers through the NYSEF for the last ten years. Bailey is also a recent graduate of the University of Vermont, where he was an All-American. Training for the 2006/2007 biathlon season began for Bailey and the U.S. Biathlon team in October at an Olympic venue in Utah, followed by intense training sessions in Germany, Bailey’s native New York and Sweden. The first round of World Cup competition began on November 27 in Östersund, Sweden. The rigorous training and travel schedule places many physical and financial demands on athletes, therefore corporate sponsorship is key to offsetting travel expenses, lodging and other costs. In turn, athletes like Bailey are able to perform at the top of their game and to represent their local communities and their country on the international stage. Harden Furniture has actively supported a myriad of community events and development projects since the company’s beginnings in 1884. Greg Harden, the fifth-generation leader of the company, says, “We are proud to support Lowell Bailey and the U.S. Biathlon team. Their dedication and excellent performance reflect the values to which Harden Furniture aspires.”

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