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Growing up as a cross country ski racer in Idaho, Sara Studebaker-Hall didn't give officiating too much of a thought. But a helpful mentor pointed her in the right direction after her two-Olympic career with U.S. Biathlon. Today, she's the first U.S. woman to achieve IBU technical delegate certification. Here Sara's story and her encouragement to others on how to follow their pathway
In his World Cup finale at Holmenkollen this year, Leif Nordgren was hoisted onto the shoulders of his teammates, celebrating a distinguished career that took him to three Olympics. Leif talks to Heartbeat about his pathway to biathlon and what a decade on the international tour meant to him, and his plans to remain with the Vermont Army National Guard as a pilot - as well as the excitement of watching from Beijing as wife Caitlin gave birth to their first child back in Vermont.
Both Susan Dunklee and Clare Egan had their share of top international results. But as they retire from the international tour to pursue the next chapter of their lives, both will be remembered most for the spirit and leadership they brought to biathlon. In this episode of Heartbeat, we'll hear from Susan and Clare as they ski down memory lane, speak to their futures and take us inside their own legacies in the sport.
Beijing Recap

Beijing Recap

2022-03-1649:39

The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games provided some strong highlights for the U.S. Biathlon Team. Heartbeat explores Beijing with US Biathlon High Performance Director Lowell Bailey and recaps highlights of the Youth and Junior World Championships at Soldier Hollow with Development Director Tim Burke.
A native of Minnesota's Iron Range, Salmela had a strong career as an athlete on the U.S. Biathlon Team, then as a coach with the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. He is most noted for his broadcast voice with NBC and Peacock TV, where he will be calling his fifth Olympics for the network at Beijing.Salmela has been at the microphone for cross country skiing and biathlon for the network. But his most famous call was his masterful and exuberant commentary as Jessie Diggins battled Stine Nilsson of Sweden to the finish for cross country gold in 2018.Tune in to NBC and Peacock TV to hear Chad Salmela's commentary of the Olympics in Beijing.
Biathlon will be one of the most viewed events at the upcoming Olympics in Beijing. And it comes with long history, from the days of hunters on skis with bows and arrows 1,500 years ago to the military patrol event at the first Winter Olympics in 1924. Art Stegen, one of the foremost historians on the sport, joins Heartbeat for some fascinating history taking us from times of old to the modern Olympics and how biathlon forged its pathway as one of the Games' most popular events. Stegen, a New York state native, is the author of Unique and Unknown: The Story of Biathlon in the United States.
Paul Schommer wasted no time in November, qualifying for an Olympic spot for Beijing at the opening races of the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon. The Wisconsin native had a promising career as a wrestler in high school, before discovering cross country skiing. While at St. Scholastica College, he found biathlon. Schommer is also known as the visionary behind Biathlon Uncharted, his. YouTube channel where he tells the inside story of biathlon and life with the U.S. Biathlon Team.
Dickinson is a fascinating young athlete. She was just six when her parents followed family friends in a move to Winthrop, Wash. at a time when the community was starting to make a splash as a premier nordic center in America. Cross country skiing became a way of life, with junior racing and high school as she forged her path in the sport. For Dickinson, her joy of shooting came early on an impromptu range. And while she followed her skiing dreams to Sun Valley after high school, she always kept biathlon in the back of her mind. She was recruited by biathlete and coach Chad Salmela to ski at St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. and quickly discovered another cultural hotbed of the sport in the Midwest.Biathlon ultimately became her sport direction, moving her way up the ranks from biathlon Junior World Championships to becoming a regular on the IBU Cup. In early January, she'll be one of a select group of U.S. athletes battling for the final Olympic spots for a spot in Beijing.One of the influencing factors in Dickinson's career has been women coaches, going back to her days in the Methow Valley and continuing on at St. Scholastic with Maria Stuber. She's channeled that passion into an organization, the Women Ski Coaches Association, which works to develop, retain, and advance women in ski coaching leadership.
Growing up in Wisconsin, Deedra Irwin loved to run. She had never heard of cross country skiing. But a friend introduced her to the sport as a winter training opportunity. After a strong high school and college career at Michigan Tech, she was ready to retire until another friend, biathlete Joanne Reid, introduced her to biathlon. Now in the national guard biathlon program, Irwin is a rising star for U.S. Biathlon. Heartbeat explores her pathway and what made biathlon so exciting for her, and the opportunities both U.S. Biathlon and the national guard are providing her.
Lowell Bailey and Tim Burke grew up together in Lake Placid, both finding their passion in biathlon. After strong careers that saw them each win World Championship medals, they are still together leading the next generation of biathletes onto their pathway to success. Lowell and Tim explore their career successes, but also look forward to the future of U.S. Biathlon in this episode of Heartbeat.
Here’s a snapshot of the Heartbeat interview with Sean Doherty.How important is your camp at Soldier Hollow?One of the big things is just it's great pre-season with the altitude here. Coming out for three weeks really gives us a nice physiological benefit as we plan on also the Beijing Games being at a similar elevation. The scenery helps keep the focus fresh. And it's like this camp kind of marks the final push of the dryland training season. So it's a nice kind of capstone event. Come out to Utah, better weather typically than the Northeast, you finish off this training Season, you Get to see some new places and let's say, just a great venue to train in.What was your pathway into biathlon?I started out getting more involved in cross country skiing. And then a family friend of ours kind of planted the bug in my ear. He connected me with some events or races. And then I did some clinics and some other events. And then I met Art (Stegen), a member of the board, and then he introduced me to Algis Shalna in Jericho. And from there, I started really pursuing it, really training, in high school, but training pretty seriously for it and kind of making it a goal and then was able to qualify for the Junior World Championships team. And then once I saw competition in Europe, I was all in. This is what I wanted to do. This is great stuff. So that's the short version. The road all the way in. So, you joined the National Guard?Yes, right - joined the Army and became a member of the National Guard Biathlon Team, which is a really cool program, a really unique program that allows us to be supported through the military biathlon team, which is actually a pretty common thing in biathlon. We have a World Military Championships at the end of March, right after the World Cup in Oslo. There's a lot of career benefits after biathlon to joining the army and also the ability to to receive a great level of support independent of the national team. It gives you a much stronger sense of job security that is often hard to find as a high level skier so those were a lot of the factors to go into it. It's been great.Now that your girlfriend Tara Geraghty-Moats is returning to biathlon, do you talk shop?We talk racing all the time, that's one of the great things we have in common. We both love to compete. We both love to race and to study the game. You know, there's a lot of similarities between competition in many different events, and it's fun. Now that she's coming back to biathlon, we talk a lot of shooting. I really enjoy it because it's great dialogue and just fun to sit around sometimes and discuss the fine details of the struggle of biathlon.
Any athlete will face highs and lows in their career. For biathlete Maddie Phaneuf, the 2020-21 COVID season had a crazy blend. But amidst the challenges, a pair of consecutive career-best IBU Cup finishes have put her on a promising pathway for the future. She talks about her career as an athlete and her passion as a sustainability advocate with Protect Our Winters in this episode of Heartbeat.
Athletes need to be methodical, with the virtue of patience guiding their careers. Minnesota native Jake Brown's career best 12th at World Championships was just another step for the soon-to-be 29-year old biathlete who discovered biathlon after a successful collegiate career at St. Olaf's and Northern Michigan University. He speaks to Heartbeat about his pathway and where it's headed next.
In just 18 months at the helm of the International Biathlon Union, Niklas Carlsson is modernizing the international sport federation for the future. Carlsson talks about the direction of the sport and how the unusual combination of cross country skiing and marksmanship can capture such a huge global following. The episode was recorded at the 2021 IBU World Championships Biathlon in Pokljuka, Slovenia.
Athletes come into sport through many different pathways. One of the most common is family. Among America's top biathletes for a decade, two-time Olympian Leif Nordgren's story is one of family. He joins Heartbeat from northern Italy to talk about his passion for biathlon and the role both U.S. Biathlon and the National Guard are playing in his story.
Matt Emmons: Staying on TargetWhen a biathlete squeezes the trigger, it takes just .15 seconds to strike a two-inch target 50 meters away. The precision is incomprehensible. Matt Emmons, an Olympic shooting gold medalist, has brought a new range of knowledge as U.S. Biathlon Team shooting coach. Emmons tells a story of a challenging sport and how he’s making a difference for his athletes in this episode of Heartbeat: Staying on Target with Matt Emmons.Now in his fifth season with the team, Emmons has brought skill development to athletes but, most of all, a sense of confidence on the range. And it’s shown!An accomplished shooter, Emmons picked up cross country skiing while he attended school in Fairbanks, Ak. It was a natural move, in a way, when he came to U.S. Biathlon in 2017. In the interview, Emmons goes into great detail about the integration of cross country skiing with shooting, and the minute elements that can make a difference on the range.Talking to Emmons you’re quickly struck by his down-to-earth attitude and the wealth of knowledge he is eager to share. Talk to athletes and his name invariably comes up. But what really stood out in his Heartbeat interview was the lesson he’s learned from sport and the philosophy he shares with athletes. It’s simple, really. And core to what sport should mean.Listen to Staying on Target, the Heartbeat interview with Matt Emmons to learn more.You’ll also find out how a missed target and a lost gold medal landed Emmons a wonderful Czech family. You’ll chuckle at family stories of hunting with grandpa. You’ll learn how the friendship of a teammate helped him land his Olympic gold medal. And he may even tell you where he keeps his medals hidden!What are the basics of shooting?When you get back to the very basics, it’s the very simple things like just be good on the trigger, see the recoil, pay attention to your breathing  - and it's a little bit different for each athlete what that key might be! But when I know the athletes well enough and I know what they're doing and what they've been working on, then I can get them back to that key and it's like ‘go back to this key and just do this one thing.’ Well, that's all you need to worry about and then just basically let them go and do their job. Were the Olympics a goal of yours?I wouldn't say winning the Olympics was the ultimate goal for me. That was kind of a piece of the puzzle. I had a bigger goal, which was to actually be to try to be a legend in the sport, to be someone who set a good example for others and make a mark on the sport to take it a step further. Winning a medal or multiple medals at the Olympics was just part of the process.How would you characterize biathlon?Biathlon is difficult because you're combining so many aspects. It's such a technical sport from a ski standpoint when you look at everything that goes into the physical training and just being able to be fast. The shooting part of it is also so technical because you have the rifle itself, the accuracy of the rifle, the ammo testing, the positions. And then, on top of that, you add the mental game. There are so many things that you have to be good at to be a great biathlete.
Cross country skier and runner Clare Egan didn’t take up marksmanship until she was 25. Today, at 33, she’s established herself as one of the top biathletes in the world. What inspired her to take up biathlon mid-career? And what are the motivational factors that push her to continue her quest for excellence? Clare spoke to Heartbeat from Kontiolahti, Finland where the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon tour is underway amidst strict International Biathlon Union COVID-19 protocols.Athletes come into biathlon via myriad pathways. As a young girl, Cape Elizabeth, Maine native Clare Egan loved to run. She had the physiological engine for it and rose quickly as a cross country runner and later a cross country skier. Biathlon wouldn’t cross her radar for some time to come.A strong runner and skier in high school, she was also an emerging leader. She weighed her interest in sport as she looked at colleges. And while she was strongly considering an NCAA skiing direction, she ultimately chose Wellesley College where she ran division three cross country. But there was no ski program. So, she started one! Her leadership - as a coach and program manager - set Wellesley on a productive path in the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association club program.Her passion for sport grew after college, inspired by friends Susan Dunklee and Hannah Dreissighacker. She moved to Craftsbury in Vermont. At 25 she tried shooting for the first time. A year later she was competing. She narrowly missed the 2014 Olympic Team but became an Olympian in 2018. Today, she’s one of her sport’s most respected athletes and leaders.Clare Egan’s story is unique. But so is every other biathlon story. At 33, she cherishes each season. She’s proven by her results that she’s among the best in the world. She’s a leader as an athlete representative to the International Biathlon Union - a pro-active spokesperson in a now highly-respected sports federation. And she’s a role model for the next generation of biathletes.Clare Egan joined Heartbeat host Tom Kelly from her hotel in the eastern Finland city of Joensuu during the opening IBU World Cup Biathlon competition week in Kontiolahti. She speaks openly about her pathway to find training solutions during COVID-19 and her decision-making process that has led her to continue her pursuit of excellence on the road to Beijing 2022.Listen to the full interview with Clare Egan from the World Cup opener in Kontiolahti. Learn about her late entry into biathlon, how she’s taken on leadership and what motivates her towards the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.Clare, you’re now back to World Cup competition. What has it been like given the pandemic?Well, in some ways, it's been the most normal thing I've done all year - that's basically how I would sum up my experience on the biathlon course. But, in other ways, it’s definitely different. Sometimes I don't even recognize people I'm seeing for the first time in several months because everyone's masked up. I had a test the morning before my race. So there's definitely a layer of newness and difference. But there's also some things that are exactly the same. And that's refreshing.Every sports organization is experimenting with protocols to continue competition and keep athletes safe. How has biathlon been managing?The IBU, the International Biathlon Union, has done a tremendous amount of work and just gone above and beyond to do everything they can to make this event possible. So, basically every event participant, whether that's an athlete, a coach, an official, media personnel, needs to take a COVID test before they arrive and have a negative test within 72 hours of arrival. And then once you arrive on site, you get tested right away again. Once that is negative, then you can have your accreditation for the event and you can move around as normal within the event space. Then you're also on a testing regimen every four or five days. So there's a lot of testing involved. There are also rules in place. For example, mask wearing is required everywhere other than when you're in your own personal hotel room or actively competing or training. So that was really new for a lot of people. Amidst the pandemic, what were some of the decisions you had to make last spring?It wasn't only that I didn't know what my training was going to be like, I also didn't know what the 2020-21 season would look like. And, in some ways we still don't. It's a question mark all the time. As a thirty three year old athlete. I certainly do not view this year as a building year or training year. Every year I have left in the sport is really an important competition year for me. And so it was definitely a question of whether or not to continue the spring. Do I want to dedicate another year of my life to training for something that I don't even know will happen? That was the biggest question on my mind in those months.If I can pair the shooting I did this year with the skiing I did last year, I can be one of the top athletes in the world.’ And that's an inspiring thing. I knew that I still have more to give to the sport.How did you come to your decision to continue?I still have work to do here! I was coming off a tough season in terms of my skiing, but I had increased my shooting percentage to a point that I was really pleased. And the previous year I had skied really well. I was looking at those two things and saying, ‘OK, if I can pair the shooting I did this year with the skiing I did last year, I can be one of the top athletes in the world.’ And that's an inspiring thing. I knew that I still have more to give to the sport.I'm hopeful that when it's time for me to be done, I'll know it's time for me to be done. I wasn't quite at that point last spring. And so I guess that and then paired with the confidence in the International Biathlon Union to make sport possible, I decided to go ahead.How did your training base work out in Lake Placid?We had to make some adaptations. But one thing that we are really fortunate to be able to do in biathlon is to train outside and use the great outdoors as our training environment. We can hike in the mountains and ride bikes and run and roller ski and do pretty much all of the things that we need to do outside.How did you manage coaching and teammates?We were really able to do all of our summer training, despite the pandemic. It just was different in the fact that I didn't see my coach until later and we didn't have any organized camps until October. I did have a couple of teammates who also live in Lake Placid - Maddie Phaneuf and Chloe Levins both were based in Lake Placid. And we did a lot of training together this summer, but we didn't have any full team camps until October.You were able to get to Europe for an IBU meeting in the fall. How did you parlay that into a training opportunity, as well?I had a great experience, just an excellent, really productive camp training with Armin. And also I had some great training partners. I trained with a Finnish athlete, Mari Eder, as well as some Italian, mostly younger junior athletes, and also the Estonian women's national team. They were all in Antholz training while I was there. It just made a big difference to have some of those training partners. As soon as I got to Antholz and I had my coach there in person able to see me shooting and what was going on, I just felt like we made a couple of really important changes and improvements already within the first few days that then I got to put in to really put into place and solidify over the next three weeks.Your pathway to biathlon was unique. Where did it begin?I'm from Cape Elizabeth, Maine. I started my athletic career as a runner, my parents would probably tell you from a very early age, I was running maybe more than they would have liked. I fell in love with running and did a lot of track and cross country through middle school. I actually only started cross country skiing in seventh grade and that was sort of a natural progression, I think, from my cross country running team. A lot of my friends who did cross country running in the fall did cross country skiing in the winter. So I sort of followed my friends into that. And I competed throughout high school for my high school team, Cape Elizabeth High School, and. When I had the decision to ski in college or not, I was really on the fence because if you ski in college, it really sort of limits your college choices. Or so I thought. I was thinking NCAA skiing and there's just not very many schools that have that. And I ended up going to Wellesley College. It's not a member of the NCAA ski league. And I ran cross country and track at Wellesley division three and I actually started a cross country ski club that was part of the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association. I really did more coaching than skiing on that club, but it was really fun and it's a legacy I'm really proud of. There were 40 people on the Wellesley ski team last winter.How did you get back into racing?I jumped into some division one races and I really surprised myself by qualifying for the NCAA national championship as a guest skier. And that was kind of coming from this club program where I was the coach. And so I think from there I thought this is something that I'm good at. I love doing it. And I really like to have more opportunities to be on a higher level team and be coached. So from there, I went to the University of New Hampshire as a graduate student, and since I had spent my whole junior year abroad at Wellesley, I had an extra year of NCAA eligibility remaining, That was my stepping stone to the Craftsbury Green Racing Project in Vermont. I lived in Craftsbury for about four years. I was a member of their cross country ski team. I learned about biathlon and started to get involved. Susan Dunklee and Hannah Dreissigacker were both based in Craftsbury. I did a lot of training with them in the summer, but then they would go off in the winter and do biathlon and they had great success.How old were you when you first picked up a rifle and started to shoot?I was 25 and then 26 when I did my first competitions. It was 2015 when I did my World Cup debut. At that point I was 28.How did you learn the marksmanship aspect?With a lot of good coaching and a lot of time! It didn't happen overnight. Both the physical skills and the psychological skills took a lot of time because they're totally different than anything I had ever done before. I still feel that every year my skills and shooting improve and you can just see that on my shooting statistics year after year. You are a part of an important period of U.S. Biathlon history. How does your team work together for the benefit of all?We've set a high bar, but it's always going up. Our junior athletes see that and you can already see, for example, our junior boys are now competing sometimes with our senior athletes. It’s athletes always helping other athletes. I look at what Susan has done and how it helped me do what I've done. Hopefully what I do can help somebody else do even better. That's how it works.Internationally, how do you look on your role as an athlete representative to the IBU executive board?It’s pretty interesting - that wasn't even on my radar, and then my previous coach basically handed me a piece of paper and said, ‘we think you would be good at this. You should run.’ I thought no one even knew my name. And it's the other athletes who are voting. But at the time in 2018 the IBU and a lot of winter sports were in the middle of a major crisis in terms of doping in sport. And I had been really outspoken about that. And I ran for this position and I got the most votes by a lot and it shocked me. But it made me realize that when I had been outspoken against doping, people actually had been listening and they really cared about it. Since then a lot has changed including major fundamental changes to the organization and the response to doping and other integrity issues. So it's been a great progress that I'm happy to be part of.Do you feel the IBU is listening to athletes?Yes, I do. Since I was elected, the IBU's added a position on its board for an athlete representative that didn't exist before. There was no listening to athletes before because they weren't even in the room. And I feel completely respected and heard by my board colleagues and by the IBU staff, particularly the people who are working there every day and who are responsible for things like anti-doping and managing events and everything with our sport. With good leadership and with integrity, you can solve any problems.You became an Olympian in 2018 - was that a lifetime goal?For me, it was definitely not a lifetime goal. I didn't believe it was possible. I didn't even understand how people do that or it was just totally out of my field of view until 2014. I participated in the biathlon trials in 2014 -  they were among my very first biathlon competitions that I ever did. I was quite close to making the team. I got close enough that I knew then and there this is definitely possible for me and I'm going to do it in 2018.One thing that I really cherish about my experience as an athlete is the opportunity it's given me to to travel internationally, to meet people from other countries and to be part of this global community. It's such a privilege to have these experiences and it's an honor to represent my country in these experiences. Clare, looking back on your career in biathlon and Olympic sport, what has that brought to your life as an athlete?Oh, that's a good question - there are so many ways that I could answer. One thing that I really cherish about my experience as an athlete is the opportunity it's given me to to travel internationally, to meet people from other countries and to be part of this global community. It's such a privilege to have these experiences and it's an honor to represent my country in these experiences. I think since I was a child, I always envisioned some kind of career for myself in international relations, maybe as a diplomat or something like that. I'm not quite doing that. But there are definitely aspects of this job that I have as an athlete that feel like that. And those are some of my favorite things.Learn more about U.S. Biathlon Team star Clare Egan in her Heartbeat interview. What’s her favorite biathlon venue? Why was she mountain biking across the southern USA this spring? How did her ability to speak Korean help the team in Seoul after the 2018 Olympics? Oh, and how many languages does she really speak? Finally, what one word describes how she feels about biathlon? Heartbeat is available on all major podcast platforms. If you enjoy the content, take a minute to give us five stars. And make sure to subscribe so you have every episode of Heartbeat delivered directly to you.
Judy Geer: Passion for Sharing Outdoor SportBuilding a Venue that Feels Like HomeOlympians Judy Geer and Dick Dreissighacker had a vision when they bought an outdoor sports center in 2008. Today, the Craftsbury Outdoor Center has become one of the most vital sports centers in the country for biathletes and cross country skiers. From her home in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, tucked amidst the maples, aspen and larches, Olympic rower Judy Geer talked about her passion for outdoor sport in an episode of Heartbeat: The U.S. Biathlon Podcast.HEARTBEAT NOTESIt was a late fall day at Craftsbury. Light snow still blanketed the ground. Most of the leaves had fallen. In typical fashion, Judy was juggling a busy day balancing grandmotherhood with a desire to get in yet another rowing session on the water. When COVID-19 gripped our world last spring, Judy and husband Dick joined with athletes to come up with a pact to keep Craftsbury an active and healthy environment. That bond between the athletes and the venue kept it open and alive, with athletes sequestered in a self-imposed bubble - looking out for each other.Judy Geer is one of those very special individuals for U.S. Biathlon. Listen in to Heartbeat to learn more about her own upbringing, where she gained her passion for sport and how she loves to give back today.HEARTBEAT PREVIEWTo hear more, listen to Heartbeat: The U.S. Biathlon Podcast, as Judy Geer talks about gaining a passion for outdoor sport as a young girl, evolving into one of the nation’s top rowers while qualifying for three Olympic Teams and the mission she and her family have put in place at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Here’s a preview.Judy, welcome to Heartbeat. I imagine you’re in that transition season in Vermont?We had a really gorgeous, vibrant peak foliage season. It seemed a little early. We've been very dry here and we were initially worried it was just going to not be that great because of the dryness, but it ended up being lovely. And then after the oranges and reds of the maples, we moved into the yellows of the birches. And then we have this third season that I really love, which is the larches or tamarack season, where those trees turn just really golden before they drop their needles. It's been really lovely. And then earlier this week, we got eight inches of snow. And so it's you know, it's been a roller coasterHow did you gain this passion for outdoor sport?When I was a young girl, I got into swimming and I swam winter and summer - summer in salt water and winter in the pool. I grew up at a time when there weren't that many sport options for young girls, to be honest. And you weren't able to do as many things as boys were. But swimming was there and it was very active and it had good coaches. I enjoyed the competition and I think that really gave me an aerobic base that set me up well for my future sport endeavors.How did you find your way into rowing?When I got to college, I heard of rowing and it just sounded intriguing. I'd grown up in water. So I was very comfortable with the whole idea of being on water. When I then saw the sport of rowing, I was just immediately intrigued with it. I started college at Smith College. Smith and Wellesley had rowing for ladies. They've had rowing for a long time. It was proper rowing for young ladies. It was very different than the rowing that I ended up doing, but it taught me how to row. And then when I transferred to Dartmouth, they were just starting a women's rowing program. I joined it and I rode the Head of the Charles for the first time that fall. I was totally hooked.How did your family get into biathlon?It started with my son Ethan. He was a boy and he was into guns. I was a mom who was not thinking I wanted my son to be into guns. It's sort of that classic situation. But I thought, OK, if we're going to be into guns, let's learn about them. Let's learn about how to use them in great, positive ways. How did your acquisition of Craftsbury come about in 2008?It happened over a number of years, back to 1986. We would go to Craftsbury as guests and sculling coaches. We would bring the kids along - sort of a working family vacation. Later, we knew that Russell Spring, the owner and the founder, was getting older. He was starting to think about what the future was going to be. And so we began talking with him and we spent a couple of years chatting with Russell and about our vision and their vision and did it align. For us, it was the idea that we were in a position to make it a nonprofit.What is the mission of the nonprofit at Craftsbury?The mission has three prongs. The first priority is to promote participation and excellence in lifelong sports with a special focus on rowing, skiing, biathlon, running and we've added mountain biking. The second prong  is to use and teach sustainable practices. And the third is to be good stewards of the land in the lake and the trails. So you've got sport, sustainability and stewardship. Sustainability is an important part of your mission!When we took over the place in ‘08, we wanted to get that off of fossil fuels by 2012. We didn't make it by 2012, but we did it by 2013. So that's that's that's too bad. We sort of expanded and renovated the dining hall recently, and that's geothermal. We use the waste heat from our snowmaking generator to help heat the buildings. And we also burn firewood that is sustainably harvested.When the pandemic hit, how did you approach it to continue to provide support to athletes?We've been actually quite conservative here in terms of COVID.  The last thing we want to do is be the place that brings COVID to Craftsbury, Vermont.  We've created a bubble that's good for the community and good for the athletes. We have a long code of conduct - a pact, and all of the athletes had to sign onto that.Craftsbury has played an important role for U.S. biathletes. Did you feel a special pride last February watching her win a second World Championships medal?Oh, absolutely! I've been watching Susan for quite a few years. My own girls have been on the team with her and Claire Egan was one of our athletes, as well. So it's just terrific to watch all of that. And it does come back to the kids here - the little kids. The whole cross country community now knows the sport of biathlon, they follow it. They're big fans. So when you get a success like that from one of our athletes, it's just it's just so exciting for everybody. FUN FACTS YOU’LL LEARN ON HEARTBEAT As a young athlete, what motivated her to being named to three Olympic teams? When not rowing or skiing, what does Judy like to do? How had grandmotherhood changed her. Take a listen to Heartbeat featuring Judy Geer to learn more about her past and present, along with insights on what has made the Craftsbury Outdoor Center such a vital part of the biathlon ecosystem in America.
HEARTBEAT NOTES - FROM FAIRWAY TO BIATHLON RANGEIt’s a bit mind-numbing to think about the schedule Chloe Levins has led as a golfer, mountain biker, biathlete and student. But spend a few minutes talking to her and you learn quickly that she’s a very organized, focused and fun-loving 22-year-old. Biathlon is complex with myriad pathways into the sport. Chloe started younger than many, introduced to the sport at just 13. Her last nine years have been spent learning. In our podcast interview, Chloe shares her pathway into the sport and lessons she’s learned as a biathlete. Whether you’re a fan of biathlon or just like to hear a great athletic success story, listen to this episode of Heartbeat with Chloe Levins: From Fairway to Biathlon Range.- Tom Kelly, Heartbeat HostCHLOE INSIGHTSTraining in Lake Placid with Clare Egan this summerClare is definitely a role model for me and I've looked up to her since we began biathlon together seven or eight years ago under Algas Shalna. So just by being in her presence, it's been a great development for my own training.Goals for the season ahead?Hopefully I can get myself to the IBU Cups. I've had experience on the IBU Cup in the past years. But this year there will be no Junior World Championships for me since I’m a first year senior. So just getting myself to Europe, competing in IBU Cups and getting myself the opportunity to hopefully qualify for a World Cup this season would be great.Your first international experience was Junior Worlds in Belarus? What was that like for a 15-year-old?It was very exhilarating. It was strange at first. Obviously, it was an interesting place to go for my first trip to Europe, not as glamorous, one might say, as Italy or Austria, but nonetheless, there were great crowds at that event and people asking me for my autograph as a 15-year-old girl at her first major biathlon competition. It was pretty funny and motivating, too. But I have great memories from that event. I was really, dare I say, lucky to to clean the sprint in that competition. Just have really great memories of being with my coach (Algis Šalna) in a country where he had trained in when he was an athlete and had so many connections.What was the feeling like for you at the Youth Olympic Games?You just felt the energy like the Olympic energy as soon as you stepped foot into the Olympic Village. At the racing venue, it was just so much different, so much fun. There were thousands of spectators there watching us. Just to get the chance to meet other athletes from around the world that were your age and were committed to their sports just as much as you and also attending school and balancing that kind of sport and life and student. The dynamic was really a good experience for me. I cleaned my first four stage race, which was another kind of stepping stone into the thrill of biathlon and in kind of the addiction that I think a lot of elite athletes feel when they get to clean and when everything comes together on a given day.What’s the secret to biathlon?Biathlon about managing your variables, whether it's yourself, the weather, the zero that you had, the ski conditions, your start time, all these different things. Who knows what's going on in your life on the day that you're supposed to perform. Balancing all those aspects of sport is a really great challenge that I'm still figuring out. Even though I've been doing biathlon since I was 13, I'm definitely a work in progress and have a lot a lot more to do. But I'm excited for it. And the thrill of hitting five, four, five when you're at your limit is second to none.What lessons have you learned from biathlon?The most important lesson, for me, is just to put my blinders on. Use your teammates, collaborate with your teammates, work with your coach, but also just listen to your body and listen to your mind and what it's telling you. And also, even on race day, put your blinders on. You shouldn't know how anyone else is shooting on race day. You should just be so within yourself that the flow comes naturally and everything kind of just, you know, flows out of you.FUN FACTS YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT CHLOE Strangest experience while studying neuroscience? Hint: it was alive! Why she loves Antholz? (it’s the food) Golf course she’s dreaming about playing? (it’s in Scotland) Favorite pandemic Netflix binge? Hint: she’s up to season five
Max Cobb found his way into biathlon while a collegiate skier at Dartmouth. Today, he's piloting U.S. Biathlon into the future as a well-recognized Olympic and international sport leader. Known widely as his support of athletes, Max talks about his own past and traces the growth of biathlon as a sport in America. He rekindles memories talking about past medals but also takes a look at the future of U.S. Biathlon.
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