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Heartbeat: US Biathlon Podcast
45 minutes | 13 days ago
Niklas Carlsson: Leading Biathlon into the Future
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.
47 minutes | a month ago
Leif Nordgren: A Family Affair
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.
61 minutes | 2 months ago
Matt Emmons: Staying on Target
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.
52 minutes | 3 months ago
Clare Egan: Finding Biathlon Mid-Career
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.
34 minutes | 4 months ago
Judy Geer: Passion for Sharing Outdoor Sport
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.
34 minutes | 5 months ago
Chloe Levins: From Fairway to Biathlon Range
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
71 minutes | 6 months ago
Max Cobb: Leading U.S. Biathlon into the Future
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.
56 minutes | 7 months ago
Dan Cnossen: Navy Seal Turned Paralympic Biathlon Champion
Growing up on a fifth generation family farm in Topeka, Kansas was a long ways from the Paralympic ski tracks of PyeongChang. In 2018, Dan Cnossen became the first biathlete to win a Paralympic gold medal, earning a gold, four silver and a bronze in biathlon and cross country. Cnossen's story is remarkable - a decorated war veteran who lost both legs above the knee on a 2009 Navy Seal mission in Afghanistan. A year later, he was on cross country skis at West Yellowstone, Montana. Heartbeat explores his life, motivations and resiliency in an emotional hour long interview with Dan Cnossen.PODCAST TRANSCRIPTHeartbeat Ep 3 - Dan CnossenTom Kelly: [00:00:18] Biathlon is a unique Olympic and Paralympic event. It challenges participants with opposing athletic endeavors in a singular competition. It [00:00:30] combines the heart pumping Arabic aspects of cross-country skiing match with the intense focus of precision marksmanship. Two diametrically opposing forces testing every ounce of physical and mental strength of the athletes. Welcome to Heartbeat. The U.S. biathlon podcast. I'm your host, Tom Kelly, and I'm proud to bring you regular insights into this fascinating sport. Today's guest on Heartbeat is an amazing athlete and a remarkable American. Dan [00:01:00] Cnossen grew up on a farm outside Topeka, Kansas, an unlikely environment for a cross-country skier. In 2009, Lieutenant Commander Dan Cnossen, a leader of Navy SEAL Team One, lost both his legs in Afghanistan when he stepped on a mine. Undaunted, he found a pathway in sport from a hospital bed in Walter Reed Medical Center to the tracks and shooting ranges of Sochi and Pyeongchang. He became one of the most decorated stars of Paralympic sport, [00:01:30] winning six medals in South Korea, including a gold the first ever by a U.S. by athlete. And Dan, it's an honor to have you join us on Heartbeat, the U.S. biathlon podcast. Dan Cnossen: [00:01:41] Thanks for having me, Tom. I'm looking forward to our talk today. Tom Kelly: [00:01:45] So where are you coming to us from today, Dan? Dan Cnossen: [00:01:48] Coming to you from Natick, Massachusetts, a suburb just west of Boston. Tom Kelly: [00:01:52] A beautiful place. Is that your training base? Dan Cnossen: [00:01:56] Yes, it is. For most of the year, minus the time that I'm away for [00:02:00] camps on snow or the occasional surf trip. Not happening this time of year. Right now, the coronavirus and everything going on. Tom Kelly: [00:02:09] I want to get into talking surf a little bit later, but I know all of us are in kind of the same boat right now with Corona virus having dictated our life. And for athletes training and and your goal setting. What have you been doing over the last few months in Natick, Massachusetts? Dan Cnossen: [00:02:27] Well, you know, we came back from our [00:02:30] world championships, which was prematurely canceled before the first race even began. This was going to be an Östersund Sweden and this was in early March. We came back, I believe, on March 12th. And and then since then, I've been readjusting. I'm thinking that it's not at all really appropriate to be complaining about my situation, cause I'm in a very fortunate situation where I can stay healthy and still get my workout worn outside. And a lot of people are in situations like that. So for the most part, I've been following [00:03:00] my training plan, not really going to the gym because gyms haven't been open yet, but that's OK. And I'm enjoying being outside and doing a lot of reading and maybe doing the occasional talk like we're doing and spending time with family, talking to family who are not co present. And also, I decided to start setting for the GRV again to have another test that I'll take in late September. Tom Kelly: [00:03:26] Yeah, you know, I think like all of us, you have to improvise [00:03:30] a little bit without access to the gyms, have you improvise things around home, like for lifting weights or other kind of exercise? Dan Cnossen: [00:03:39] Yes, I have done a little bit of that, but I just had no home gym equipment and it was in high demand. Hard to get a hold of. And I haven't really prioritized getting it. I can do some push ups and things like that and certainly can do core exercises. But really just looking at other ways of getting strength through my [00:04:00] training platforms, through hand cycling, maybe doing hills or through the prone paddleboarding that I do as another form of cross training. And that is certainly a strength intensive activity. So doing sprints and things like that. And it's just been a load for me, honestly, a nice little departure from the norm. And so that's something to be appreciative of. Tom Kelly: [00:04:22] Well, Dan, before we get into talking about your success in PyeongChang and your motivation for the future, let's introduce the listeners [00:04:30] to your background growing up on a farm in Kansas. And, you know, I look at that and, you know, it's just this unlikely background. But tell us about life growing up in Kansas. Dan Cnossen: [00:04:41] Well, yes, I am from a family farm in Kansas, just outside of Topeka, still within the city limits. But right at the edge of comes to Kansas as well. And the fact the farm has been in my family for five generations. This was a homestead property. I grew up playing outside a [00:05:00] lot. And I think there is a connection with the rest of my story that unfolds over time, just that I developed the love of being outside in. In nature, and that was one of the things I'm most. Grateful for with my childhood being able to grow up on a large chunk of land and have that space to be able to roam around and play and be outside every day. Tom Kelly: [00:05:24] What was your sport background as an athlete when you were young? Dan Cnossen: [00:05:28] I was a very [00:05:30] mediocre athlete in the team sports that I played. I did a little bit of baseball, mostly soccer wasn't really that great at soccer. The one thing I was good at in soccer is running. And I may have maybe should have been a cross-country runner, but I was always a little too focused on soccer and and a little stocky to be a great a great cross-country runner. But when I went to the U.S. Naval Academy after high school, I really wanted to make the triathlon team and was good at cycling and good at running, but [00:06:00] not at all good at swimming. And I eventually did make the triathlon team in college at the Naval Academy, but it was a very mediocre triathlete as well, just because I didn't have that swimming, swimming background that is so important for that sport. Tom Kelly: [00:06:14] You know, growing up in Kansas, when you were in high school, what was it that motivated you to want to go to the Naval Academy and become a sailor? Dan Cnossen: [00:06:24] You know, I think it was a variety of things, maybe it was the fact that my father had served in [00:06:30] the Marine Corps in Vietnam. Maybe it was just the fact of what I was naturally drawn to based on what I had been exposed to. Maybe it was just the way I was born. I don't exactly know. But I know that as soon as my freshman and certainly my sophomore year of high school, I was. Completely focused on getting into the U.S. Naval Academy, and my backup was to was to apply to West Point. I knew that I wanted to combine military service with going to college. [00:07:00] And naturally gravitated to wanting to attend one of the service academies. That seemed like the logical decision to make. But I wasn't sure if I would get in. Maybe I just didn't have the credentials to get in. And so I focused. I tried to get good grades. I tried to play varsity sport and demonstrate some leadership in public service. And that did allow me to be accepted into the Naval Academy, which was which was something I was very, very excited about [00:07:30] when I was graduating high school. Tom Kelly: [00:07:32] So at the Naval Academy, you were involved in athletics and I want to take take the listeners now to to your time as a Navy SEAL and how how does one get to join the Navy SEALs? I mean, you had some level of accomplishment you needed to achieve before you had that honor. Dan Cnossen: [00:07:52] Yes, there are. There are two two ways to get into buds training Budd's stands for basic underwater demolition SEAL. It's the basic [00:08:00] school for anyone who wants to become a SEAL. It's about six or seven months long. But even when you're done with that, you're not officially certified as a SEAL. There's many more months of follow on training. I had to go down the route of officers collection now. Officers are not as numerous in a bus classes enlisted, so the other route is to enlist in the Navy, go to boot camp in Great Lakes normally, and then find yourself at buds. But at the Naval Academy there [00:08:30] in my year at least. And I think the numbers have gone up France. But in my year, sixteen midshipmen out of the senior class will be selected to go to butts and is really competitive. And so I had to get better at the water because I showed up at the Naval Academy really afraid of basic drills in the pool that we would do that for summer lifesaving floating and basic stuff. And so I had to work really hard. But my friends who I naturally met the first year were based on common interests and personality. They wanted to be selected for [00:09:00] for the SEAL program. And I had gone to the Naval Academy, wanted to be a Marine. But after the end of my first year, I took a good look around at my friends. And these were the guys that I had so much in common with and they wanted to be selected for the SEAL team. So I ended up kind of shifting my goals and wanted to be selected for it as well. Tom Kelly: [00:09:21] So when you become a seal, I mean, I know that those of us in the general public, we just look with such [00:09:30] amazement at what you do and. And thank you. And all the others for. For your service. But what was the pride that you felt in representing your country as a Navy SEAL? Dan Cnossen: [00:09:42] Thank you. Yes. There was pride. I also at the time, I didn't want any attention from the public. And I think there was an ethos in the teams about being a quiet professional and doing your job training to do your job. Training, [00:10:00] training, training, eventually deploying. Getting to do your job and then coming back and not advertising it. Not not boasting, not telling people what to do. And that kind of quiet professionalism, really at the idealized form really inspires me to just do your job for the sake of doing the job. And that is not wearing military service or patriotism or anything on your sleeve. Just doing what's right. And there are many similarities [00:10:30] between my life as a seal and my life now as an athlete on the Paralympic Nordic ski team. Certainly there's also some differences. But the transition was was for me, a pretty, pretty logical one after my injury. I'm sure we'll get into that later. But there is one thing I don't think I was directed towards wanting to be a seal just because of. Patriotism. 9/11 did happen my senior year at the Naval Academy. But at that point, I was already very much focused on wanting to be [00:11:00] a SEAL. And this had an aspect of personal challenge. Could I get through it? Could I even be selected to go to it? There was also an aspect of my friendships at the Naval Academy. This is what my best friends wanted to do. And so I wanted to do it with them. And so those are the fundamental reasons they got me into that program. Tom Kelly: [00:11:20] You know, one of the lessons I think people take out of a program like that is learning the value of teamwork and the support of others. And even though you're in an individual [00:11:30] sport, as a bi athlete, as a Paralympic biathlete, you really rely on all of those around you, don't you? Dan Cnossen: [00:11:37] In absolutely in seal training, I, I, I. Did to the utmost. I don't. If I had gone to the program to Bud's right after high school, not only do I not have the water proficiency and comfortability, but I wouldn't have known anyone. And it would have been so much more different. Now, fast forward four years. I've been to the Naval Academy [00:12:00] and I'm reporting for Budd's with five of my best friends and living with them in a small apartment and many really too small of an apartment to have six people jammed in there going through stressful training like we were. But knowing that every night or whenever we could come home at night that I would be living with my friend. There was no way I was going to quit. I needed that external motivation. I also needed the internal motivation of wanting to get through this and wanting to do the job after and wanting to be part of that community. [00:12:30] So it was a combination of both personal and I would say peer of forces that kind of got me through the toughest times Hell Week, which is a very famous, infamous week. And as well as many other difficult training sessions and days and weeks that I had through the training process. Tom Kelly: [00:12:51] Now, I know that your life changed in 2009 on that nighttime mission when you stepped on a mine. Talk to us as much [00:13:00] as you can about that in and how that led to a new pathway for you. Dan Cnossen: [00:13:08] It was a it was a nighttime assault mission in Afghanistan, I think I should back up, though, and just say that I did do several years in the SEAL teams deploying. I was I was deployed not to the places where I felt like my skills and my training in any leadership position that I was in would be put to the ultimate test. I was going [00:13:30] to Asia, for instance, Southeast Asia. And so by the time two thousand eight and two thousand nine came around, I had been in the SEAL teams for six or seven years. And although I loved it and was very proud of it and loved the people that I worked with, I had a little bit of professional insecurity going on because I wasn't a combat experienced seal. And that was a point of insecurity for me, because you either have the combat experience in the SEAL teams or you don't. And [00:14:00] the guys who had gone through the initial training with many of them, many of them most had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. And I did deploy to Iraq in 2007, but I was in a support role. I wasn't in the SEAL platoon. So I came back in 2008 from that, having no combat experience and then two quarters to become a platoon commander. And we went through our 18 month platoon work up and did very well. Dan Cnossen: [00:14:20] We were selected to go on a high risk deployment to Afghanistan. And so now finally, the stars were lining up for me professionally in my career. And I had aspirations to go on and do other things within the [00:14:30] community. But this was this was really going to be an ultimate test type of deployment where all of my leadership, my skills, my training would be put to the test in a very long and demanding deployment. Now, I deployed in advance of the rest of my platoon so that as a key leader, the officer in charge of that platoon and I could get on the ground and learn how the SEAL platoon that we would be replacing was planning and conducting operations so that by the time my guys showed up. I [00:15:00] would be ready to go. They could flow seamlessly and operations. This is this is important to say that because I was injured so early on before the rest of my platoon even arrived. We went out one night. The two simple tunes, one of which we would be replacing. So my platoon, my guys are not even really in country at this point. And I'm just observing, kind of shadowing and seeing how they're planning and conducting the operation. So we had inserted via a helicopter late at night, middle of the night dark. We planned it [00:15:30] that way. Dan Cnossen: [00:15:30] We foot patrolled into an area that was a Taliban compound deep, deep in Taliban controlled territory. And I was part of an element that was assigned to hike to the top of a large hill that overlooked the target component and secure that that elevated ground to own the high ground, so to speak. And in so doing, I stepped on a pressure plate. And this is a bomb that went off and I was laying in the dirt and not knowing if my teammates were OK. I. [00:16:00] Can it really do anything I couldn't move, it was dark. Now, my helmet had been blasted off. And so I just remember laying there feeling totally helpless. But then my teammates were upon me before I knew it, and none of them had been injured, fortunately. And the medics started putting Tunicates on. I had to go through the application of six chernick weights on my lower body and that each one of them was very painful. And it was the first time that I was really feeling the pain because the blast itself left me in shock. And [00:16:30] then there is this race to try to get the helicopters back, to get me out of the situation, they had dropped us off and gone back to Kandahar. But that that airfield was so far away. And so time and fuel are getting critically low. Dan Cnossen: [00:16:45] And my teammates had to drag me off the hill. And this was a steep, craggy. Rocky, dark, descent, and so carrying me just wasn't working. And we kept falling. So they tried to drag me in. This [00:17:00] is very exhausting for them to do. But these guys, my teammates up there, these are actually not members of my platoon. I didn't know many of them at a deep level, but we had the bond. We had common training, and they were doing everything that they could to get me out of the situation, to drag me down that hill. Now, that pain of being dragged off this mountain over craggy rocks and dark descent was more than anything I've ever been in in my life. It was all I could really do to try to stay awake and hang [00:17:30] onto the medics words and just focus on that. And eventually they did get me down off the hill and loaded onto a helicopter right before the helicopter had to leave because of low fuel. So everything really was close, really close. And it all depended upon my teammates, upon the leadership, upon rehearsing all of these contingency scenarios, the pilots and of course, in all the echelons of medical care going from Kandahar airfield all the way through Germany. Back to. [00:18:00] Washington, D.C.. The medical professionals. All of these people. I really owe everything to. Tom Kelly: [00:18:09] You know, stories like this are just so moving. And you think back to all of those little pieces that had to fall in place and all of the people who had to make that happen to get you back to the U.S. and and to get you into the surgeries you needed. And then on to the rehabilitation. So [00:18:30] I've I've having worked with with many Paralympians, you know, I've heard in many different stories of how that spark ignited for something new. And how did it how did it go for you, Dan, as you're, you know, going through rehab, that you connected with cross-country skiing and ultimately biathlon as a pathway for you back? Dan Cnossen: [00:18:58] Yes, I. I'm reminded of whatever [00:19:00] I've done or whatever I think I've done. I really have to take myself out of it and realize that I was always part of a team and a network of people. This was very evident. In the steel teams, it was evident in the story I just told from my injury. And it certainly was evident at Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Army Medical Center at the time, they were two separate hospitals. Now, they've since merged, but started at Bethesda Naval Hospital, where I was going through surgery after surgery, after [00:19:30] surgery. It was really, really an awful difficult period. And I wasn't seeing much progress. But by the time I shifted over to Walter Reed, I was doing prosthetic physical therapy, learning how to walk on these new knee units and working with Crossette prosthetic technicians, working with physical therapists, working with the surgeons, working with the wound care team. And this very well coordinated and integrated machine at Walter Reed was really doing [00:20:00] a good job trying to support injured service members. And I was going through physical therapy with dozens, you know, at Walter Reed in 2009 and 2010, there were in the low hundreds of injured service members, some of some missing three, in some cases four limbs. So we had this environment where you're immediately reminded of how fortunate you are because there was always someone who had it worse and there were some people who were the worst and didn't have that [00:20:30] frame of reference. But in my case, I certainly saw people that had it so much worse than I did. And it's not to say that because they had it worse, that meant that I felt better about my own situation. But it just it did create a perspective that I don't think I would have had if I had been just completely in a cocoon, not seeing the challenges the people go through. Dan Cnossen: [00:20:52] But as it near the end, I was introduced to a liaison from the Paralympic organization, and they have [00:21:00] logically were trying to recruit injured service members. This is a very of ready supply of people who now often qualify for the Paralympics and are young and they're motivated and are looking for a challenge. And so I fit into that mold. I went off to San Diego for a sports recruitment camp, and that's where I met Rob Rosser and James up. And they started talking to me and I was really interested in this biathlon sport. I thought it was running and swimming. It turns out it's cross-country skiing and shooting. And so [00:21:30] I was invited to the West Yellowstone camp in late November at the rendezvous trails. And I went out there totally unprepared and not only not only physically, but also in terms of my clothing. And it was kind of a miserable camp because of that. But but I was hooked because I was getting back in the woods again, finally. And when you lose your legs and you love mountaineering and show running, it's really frustrating because the prosthetics aren't that aren't that good or at that point even able to be used in the [00:22:00] trails. Then I was hand cycling as the closest. I was really getting going through Rock Creek Park in D.C., but that's not nearly the same as cross-country skiing on trails with no cars honking. And so I was I was just took Adam at a fundamental level. I decided I'm going to do this because it gets me in the woods. Tom Kelly: [00:22:20] And what year was that if you were injured in 2009 and you went out to West Yellowstone, I think you said in November. What year would that have been? Dan Cnossen: [00:22:28] Yes. Thanks for for specifying. [00:22:30] And I went out there in late November 2010 and I still had an I had a colostomy bag at the time and that was not working well being on it. So my last in major surgery was less than a few weeks after that first camp, and it was in December of 2010. And that that was to take away my colostomy bag, a really big, big event for me because I had the class me back for about a year and a half at that point. And so there was a really, really long recovery after [00:23:00] that. But I had been introduced to sit skiing and I knew I wanted to get back into it. And that brings us up into 2011, recovering from the colostomy reversal surgery and then trying to, at this point, get out to snow where I could and also still finishing up my my physical therapy at Walter Reed. Tom Kelly: [00:23:18] You know, it's remarkable to me, Dan, that this year, just a year and a half after the incident in Afghanistan, and you're on the trails in West Yellowstone. Dan Cnossen: [00:23:28] Well, it's you know, [00:23:30] at the time, it seemed like I was so far out of my injury, but yes, looking back a year and a half is hardly anything. But at the time, I felt like, you know, so much has changed and has been so long since I was injured. And that's not really the case. But I did feel at the time, like I was I was ready, ready to be thinking about what happens next after I leave, walk or read, because you don't really want to be learning how to walk when you're 30. But I did want to invest [00:24:00] the time and energy and I wanted to make sure I had that fundamental skill down. And then I'd be ready to live an independent life. But still looking what is gonna be next? Because so much of my identity was wrapped up in being a seal. Now it's gone. What am I going to do next? Those thoughts just kind of kept creeping into my head, even though I had a lot of immediate task at hand to be focusing on. I still was thinking about what's next, what's next. When I got into the camp at West Yellowstone, though, it [00:24:30] was very clear to me that this is this is going to be what I'm gonna be doing next. It just I just knew it. I don't even have to make the choice. And I think often in life, that's when that's when we have very strong signals that something is the right thing to do, when it doesn't even feel like it's a choice. Tom Kelly: [00:24:46] So many athletes come into biathlon first as cross-country skiers and then learned the marksmanship aspect of it. I imagine with your Navy SEAL training that you were a good marksman but had probably never [00:25:00] been on cross-country skis. Dan Cnossen: [00:25:02] Well, if I say that I was a good marksman. Many SEALs are gonna laugh at me because I'm an officer saying he's a good shooter is kind of a joke in the SEAL team. My job was to do mission planning and an execution and be a ground force commander and to be an overall manager. Now, of course, I was shooting a rifle from time to time, but I just I laughed any time. I call myself a good shot because the reality is the enlisted [00:25:30] team guys are just much more adept operators in that sense. Now, with that said, I did have some mixed experience shooting and. That experience. I say maybe it maybe helped me a bit in the beginning, but really to be a good biathlete. You need to train to be a biathlete. And there's there's no substitute for that kind of training. And I certainly never had shot an air rifle, which is what we shoot in the Paralympics at 10 meters. I didn't know [00:26:00] how the wind affects a pellet coming out of an air rifle. And, you know, I'm used to shooting rifles with optics and things like that. And so it was different. The fundamentals of shooting are always the same. But that familiarity with the specific air rifle was was certainly lacking for me as as would anybody. First starting this. But I did, I think, have some fundamentals are shooting probably that I [00:26:30] got a little sloppy on that. I needed to just, you know, re retrain myself in the very, very basic fundamentals I really needed to focus on in the beginning. Tom Kelly: [00:26:40] So you're an athlete in training for a new sport. But again, less than two years after your injury, you were on the competitive circuit. You went to the world championships. What were the early days of your competitive career like for you? Dan Cnossen: [00:26:55] Well, in the beginning, you know, we have I think the team I wasn't on the team at the 2010 Vancouver [00:27:00] games, but I think there's a bit of reorganization after the pull and the shift over to the U.S. Olympic. Now, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee happens, so integrating with U.S. Paralympics under the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee getting. And then and then just re re organizing the way the team is structured. And so it was a rebuilding year and I kind of timed it quite well to be able to get over to Europe to experience competition before I really were ready. But for me, [00:27:30] it wasn't discouraging to finish at the back or, you know, even dead last place in some of these races because it was really, for me, invigorating to travel over to Europe, see new places I love to travel, and also see how impressive some of these Paralympic many of these Paralympic athletes are, not just in the category that I'm racing and where I can. And I can understand that the best because I'm trying to become a better sit skier. But seeing athletes doing on who may not [00:28:00] be able to see anything or just dealing with varying degrees of visual impairment or other bodily situations that just make. Watching them raise and compete or really inspiring thing. So I was hooked. Some athletes maybe in that situation would be discouraged. And that's something coaching staffs are always aware of. For me, it did it did kind of make me fired up to want to train because I could see how how dominant the Russian athletes are and how fast my own U.S. teammates are on Hallstatt and any [00:28:30] Indy school and wanting to be a part of it was really great for me, traveling, training, working towards goals. It seems like a good fit coming from the military life. Tom Kelly: [00:28:41] You know, a few years later, you qualified for the Paralympics in Sochi. Did you go into the Sochi Games with any particular expectations or goals? Dan Cnossen: [00:28:52] I didn't have any goals in terms of results, but I think I had expectations on myself. I was still on active duty [00:29:00] at the time and I saw no real reason I had put all this pressure on myself. I don't know why. I think I think I was just. I had gone out to northern Colorado in my whole life, was just training and competing. And so when your whole life is this one thing, of course, you want to do well. And that starts to create this pressure, this sense of expectation. I was a new athlete, though, and really didn't have I mean, we all know what [00:29:30] was going on in the 2014 games. I didn't have much of a chance of coming home with with hardware. My teammate Andy Sewell really came close. And of course, Oksana Masters and Tatiana McFadden did come away with medals, and that was awesome. So to come out of that games with with a few team medals was really, really great for me. I think I was a little overtrained because, again, I was dedicating my whole life to training and I didn't have other avenues to kind of occupy my time. [00:30:00] So so that that was a big difference between the 2014 experience and the twenty eighteen experience that I had. Tom Kelly: [00:30:09] You know, we know about the success you had in PyeongChang. And again, same question. What what did you expect when you went to South Korea? Did you have any inkling that you would come home with six medals? Dan Cnossen: [00:30:23] No. No, not at all. I knew I did know that with the Russian athletes, whether they were representing Russia or being neutral, [00:30:30] they in the male category weren't allowed to compete. And I didn't know that that opened up a big opportunity. However, I was in a totally different mindset in twenty eighteen. I was in graduate school at the time, going to Harvard Divinity School, working on a math, a full time master's degree. I was I was consumed with trying to balance training with academics. And I knew that. Well, I considered most likely. My at my competition wasn't really doing everything [00:31:00] that I was doing, and so I thought that no one expects me to do well. I'm not really on the radar. I haven't I've done I've done competition at the at the minimum level that I could accommodate with my very busy class schedule in order to qualify for the games. And I had been racing locally at the Western ski track or getting up to cross-breed Vermont at the outdoor center there. Wonderful place and and doing a lot of local train. I knew I was ready to go, but I didn't have the the pressure. I just [00:31:30] really was in a mindset of trying to just do what I could. Each race in that past race performances, whether they were good or bad, didn't matter because every day is a new day in future races. Dan Cnossen: [00:31:45] They don't matter either because they haven't happened yet. So really trying to just focus on what matters and what matters is what I can control and what I can control is what's going on. The second I can't control. Ten seconds ago or a minute ago. And if I focus on [00:32:00] what I can do right now, that sets me up for future success in that race. Really just kind of we also have time child races. Other than our cross-country sprint over races, our time trials. So it really does lend itself to get this mindset. I just want to see what I can do. What can I do? And I'm going to go as hard as I can and see what I can do. And whatever happens happens in many, many times. You could ask I think you could ask me, how did the race go? [00:32:30] The second I cross the line and I would say. That was a good race because I dug as deep as I could. But the second you say, well, you got tenth place. And I feel like, oh, it wasn't a good race. But so separating results from the process and just focusing on the process and the results that they come or they don't come, they will be what they will be. But really, really, really diving into that kind of here and now mindset was my. Tom Kelly: [00:32:59] I think [00:33:00] that's a process that most successful athletes go through, is trying to separate out the results aspect and just knowing you've given it your all. You couldn't give it any more and let the results fall where they may. That when you can master that, you're going to tend to do better in the results site. Dan Cnossen: [00:33:17] I think so, and that is not just on game day, on competition day. It is also throughout the training cycle. You don't just summon inhuman reserves of strength and energy on the day of competition. It [00:33:30] is it is the focus on the process in the training, day in and day out, in the long, often unnoticed workouts that you have to do in the base season that no one's paying attention to. It's that that is where the focus and the mental toughness really come in. And also then trying to just time yourself for peak performance, because you can always try as hard as you can go. But but really being at that. Right. Place on the on [00:34:00] the performance curve to where you can not only just mentally right there, but physically right there, that that is this almost impossible quest. That is the true art and science behind training and competing in endurance sports like cross-country skiing and biathlon. Tom Kelly: [00:34:20] You know, setting aside some of those principles and also setting aside the principle you talked about earlier, that as a Navy SEAL, you kept that internal, you didn't [00:34:30] you didn't talk about that. You didn't really take credit for that. But I have to think that winning those six medals in PyeongChang, that gave you a very special sense of pride that you probably enjoyed sharing and being a part of. Dan Cnossen: [00:34:46] You're correct. And it's it's been something that I've personally. Thought about in the last two two years and some change. It's this balance between No. These [00:35:00] are just medals. They don't really don't inherently mean anything of themselves. A trinket really go, you know, just a device. It represents what you want it to represent for me. I am reminded of this journey and all the people along the way that have been there with me. The process, though, hard work. But really, every athlete at this level competes hard and trains hard. And so when [00:35:30] you break it down, it was the difference of seven seconds on a race and it was a time trial. It's almost like a flip of a coin. And there have been times that I've come out on the other side of it. This time I won that gold medal race. I came out on the other side of it. Fortunate for me. But it's it's really something where I just wanted to focus on the next race. And I didn't I didn't really appreciate or let it soak in until after. And it's open doors. And those doors weren't available [00:36:00] after the 2014 Paralympics. So I'm thinking sometimes to myself, I was the same person back then. What's the difference now? Because of a race that was in many ways arbitrary, a flip of a coin. And I had a D I had a really good day, but it wasn't a perfect day, but. So I just I deal with this. And so what is the proper balance between talking and sharing my story versus just doing my job and just training and going in and competing and not worrying about results? So this is something that I struggle with and [00:36:30] trying to find the right balance. Tom Kelly: [00:36:32] Well, it is. It is a balance, but I think good athletes such as yourself, you find that balance and just as you're speaking of it here, you will motivate others and you will serve as a role model, not just for the medals that you won, but how you went about it. Dan Cnossen: [00:36:47] I hope so. And in the Paralympic world, as in I think it's. Similar somewhat with some of the Olympic sports. But we have a fairly big spotlight once every four [00:37:00] years. And I know the biathletes are used to competing in IPU races in Europe in front of thousands of people. And we don't we don't get that on our circuit. And so sometimes between between four years, that's a long time. And you you feel like you're doing so much focus on so much. You're focusing so much on your training. It lends itself to this kind of self-centered existence that I think now that I'm still evolving [00:37:30] as an athlete. It really it really does help to be involved in organizations where you feel like you're giving a piece of what you've learned back to the community, back to future athletes, back to kids, back to people that are struggling. And so I encourage any athletes that are listening to this to just think about that. And I do think that it would be a very gratifying thing to complement and support your training, even though at some level it does take away from training [00:38:00] and recovery. But it is really important to find a higher sense of purpose beyond just doing your own training. Tom Kelly: [00:38:08] The you know, kind of on that at that point, I want to talk about the U.S. Olympic Committee, which is now the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and to many, maybe that was a small change of name. But to you as a Paralympian, how much did that mean to you and your fellow athletes to have that level of recognition? Dan Cnossen: [00:38:28] I think it's very important. It's a very, very, [00:38:30] very strong signal. Now, on one hand, it's just a name change. There needs to there should be substance behind it. But but at a surface level, this is a very important signal. And. In the substantive realm, you've seen an equalization of metal pay for Olympic and Paralympic athletes at the Games. That is a substantive change that really does make a difference. So I think the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is absolutely going in the right direction. [00:39:00] And we all know things needed to change in there and it's going down that road. So I'm really impressed with the current leadership and I think they got a lot of work to do. But they're heading in the right direction. Tom Kelly: [00:39:12] So will we see you on Team USA in Beijing? Dan Cnossen: [00:39:18] I don't think I can answer that question. I don't think anyone in the world can answer that question right now. And so, no. As an athlete, what I can do, I can do my. I can do my training and I can focus on my training plan. [00:39:30] And I can also focus on ways that I can stay connected and hopefully help other people and just not live a totally self centered existence right now, an isolated existence. Tom Kelly: [00:39:45] Well, we certainly hope we see you there and I want to talk a little bit about U.S. biathlon now. I know that you're. Your program is managed separately under the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. But I know from talking to our U.S. biathlon team members, they actively [00:40:00] follow you and they're really well aware of what you've accomplished. I know you probably have some interaction with them. You maybe trained together in places like Kraft, Sperry or out at Soldier Hollow, but how much are you able to follow that team? And do you do you gain anything from watching some of the stars of the sport, like Lowell Bailey, world champion from a couple of years ago, Susan Dunklee, Claire Egan and others? Dan Cnossen: [00:40:26] Absolutely. And we all on the Paralympic Nordic team follow [00:40:30] the biathletes when we're in Europe, we're watching IPU races every weekend and cheering them on and more than more than results. Susan, in those medals at the world championships. They're good people. That's the most important thing. And to the extent that Paralympic and Olympic biathlon has been integrated, you know, I think that's just a great thing for us. It's really special to be incorporated. And I would like to see more integration and training camps [00:41:00] at Lake Placid would be would be really, really great. And, you know, kind of hard to catch that you have to catch them in the fall or the summer before the winter because they're in Europe. Another another thing would be the integration of IBU Cups with Paralympic biathlon, World Cups. We did this most recently with FIS in Dresden, with team spirit, with sprints. And so for the first time in my career, nine years, I was at a World Cup just for sprinting. And the rest of our World Cup occurred [00:41:30] in a different location. But for the sprints, we were combined with the sprints that fist was doing. And I think, you know, this is something that could be done with with IPU. We we competed Östersund. That's where our world championships were supposed to be in March. And I'd be goes to Justin. And that's that's an awesome venue that could could absolutely support I'd be you and in Paralympic skiing. So that would be something I would like to see in the next few years. Tom Kelly: [00:41:55] It would be great to see that. I know the Fist's cross-country World Cup sprint in Dresden [00:42:00] was a was an amazing event, and I'm glad you had a chance to participate in that. I know as many athletes do, you have spent a lot of time giving back. And I was trying to do the math on how you get all of this done. How do you train as an athlete? Get to I think you have two master's degrees from Harvard now and still have time to give back to organizations like O2X and maybe tell us a little bit about what it means to you to give back to organizations like that [00:42:30] and how do you use your leadership skills that you've gleaned over the years to help others? Dan Cnossen: [00:42:37] Well, I do think as much as we train that in an endurance sport like cross-country skiing, biathlon, there is a lot of the day that you're not actually training that, especially as a upper body athlete like the six skiers. We were not training five hours a day, maybe three or four counting drive time and things like that. But, you know, I was very [00:43:00] I was very self focused when I was living in Colorado, very self focused when I was in graduate school. I had I just didn't have much spare capacity. And then after graduating in twenty eighteen, I was exposed to classroom champions, which I got involved with. I've been involved with ever since. They're pairing Olympic and Paralympic athletes now. Now professional and college athletes with with kids in sometimes underserved communities and creating partnerships and relationships to help [00:43:30] and show how goal setting and dealing with adversity in the athletic world can help kids in their own lives and in the classroom. So that's a wonderful organization. And then I've been doing work with company started by my friend, and it's called O2X, and we do workshops for firefighters and first responders. Dan Cnossen: [00:43:52] And I'm a resilience specialist. Now, this is I just recently had a workshop with Boston Fire Department last week where in person I got to present [00:44:00] a class on resilience and goal setting. And these workshops have really taken a hit because of the virus. But hopefully getting it back up and running and to us is also done some work with professional organizations like the Chicago Blackhawks. So this is a chance for me to interact with athletes, but also tactical athletes, firefighters who are, you know, wanting to perform to the best of their ability in a tactical environment and ensure longevity in their life, both mentally and physically. So this [00:44:30] is something that it doesn't happen a lot in the winter because a demanding schedule. But when I come back in the spring, summer and fall, be a part of these workshops, it really bridges the gap for me between my military service, my athletic career, and then helping people in a similar a similar situation, this case, firefighters. So those are those are two things that I spent a lot of my time now dealing with. Tom Kelly: [00:44:56] Dan, I'm intrigued by what is a resilience expert. [00:45:00] I have some thoughts. But tell us tell us what resiliency is all about. Dan Cnossen: [00:45:04] Well, I I am not an expert on results, and I say that in the class and they do have oh, Travis has trauma and sports psychologists presenting to firefighters as well. I think where I come in is just some lived experience going through seal training and how weak and some of the lessons I learned and then applied after my injury. How do you how do you think about mental toughness? Well, I think it's something that needs to be [00:45:30] practiced. And you you you become mentally tough by going through difficult situations. You know, we're not looking to create trauma or anything, but you can develop these things for me. It's also goal setting. The goal setting really helped me, whether I knew it or not, after my injury. Having the ability to create long term goals that we're really in need and organic to me was important. But if I thought about them for too long, there was too much uncertainty [00:46:00] around them. I kind of associate timeline's with these goals. So I had to develop the flexibility to go from this this ultra laser like focus on what I need to do to get through today or just focusing on today and not thinking too far into the future, too, to then realizing what the bigger picture is. So that's kind of what I talk about when I talk to the firefighters. And so in a tactical environment, maybe they're in extremis. They need to really have this laser like focus on what they need to do right now, prioritizing that and [00:46:30] executing that within in the way that they structure their. They're their day to day existence going stretching into weeks and months and years than they need. That's where they need the long term medium term goals. Tom Kelly: [00:46:42] You know, I really love the concept of this, a good friend of mine was for many years a wildland firefighter. And, you know, I think about what those firemen go through day after day fighting wildland fires. And, you know, you've got to be tough. You've got to be resilient and [00:47:00] persevere through that. Dan Cnossen: [00:47:02] You do. You do. And it's just like on a race day, you don't just summon inhuman reserves of strength because you're trying as hard as you can. It comes through training and preparation. This is both the body in the mind. And so that's that's the goal of O to X. And it's if you can if you can try to improve just a little bit with your sleep routine in your nutrition and your hydration and your physical conditioning and [00:47:30] then your mental skills and then your team skills, you add all that up and then you stretch it out over 20, 30 years. This can create massive changes. Tom Kelly: [00:47:40] It's amazing to think about that. Dan, one more serious question before we close out with a little bit of fun stuff, but I think a lot of us, as fans of sport, you know, for us, it's, you know, it's watching on television or on the Internet and seeing who won the race and seeing the thrill of victory. But you're someone who has an amazing life story. It's a life story that began when you were [00:48:00] young. It manifested itself for you as a Navy SEAL and now as a Paralympic champion as you look back on your life. What are the what's the main lesson that you take away that you can share with others to help them? Dan Cnossen: [00:48:16] Well, I would say there's a there's a strong power and in believing in yourself and then having a solid network of friends and family around you. You don't get anywhere all alone. And [00:48:30] there were times when I. Although I hadn't goals and I had internal motivation, there were times that I needed the people around me. Absolutely. And so it's a combination of believing in yourself, but also learning how to lean on the people around you in times of need and support one another. And that's Tom Kelly: [00:48:50] It's about teamwork. Dan Cnossen: [00:48:51] Absolutely. And as individual athletes on ski team, there's a little bit of a. Situation [00:49:00] difference in the sense that if let's say if you take the the women biathletes, if one of them wins, that means none of wethers did win. And so it's a different situation than in the military where if the platoon or any individual within the platoon wins, so to speak, in a tactical scenario, the whole platoon does well. So there is a bit of a difference. But I really believe if you can if you can really develop [00:49:30] a sense of teamwork, that that one person winning doesn't mean that the others didn't win, but the team still won. So looking at it like that is it's just a difference of framing, I believe. But it's a little you know, it's it's a challenging thing when other people are doing well. And then that means that you yourself are not doing well. So how to deal with that is a challenge. But but this is incumbent on coaches and [00:50:00] leaders and athletes, too. I guess you don't go through the difficult work. And this is very important with team building to create this kind of atmosphere where individual success equals team success for the people who may not have had the individual success. Tom Kelly: [00:50:17] Important thoughts. Dan, thank you so much for sharing them. So we're going to move on and just close it out with a little bit of fun stuff that I call on target. I'm going to have a series of short little questions for you to learn a little bit more about you and have a little bit of fun [00:50:30] and Dan Cnossen: [00:50:30] Putting me on the spot. Tom Kelly: [00:50:32] Oh, yeah. It'll be easy, though. Don't worry. No trick questions. I don't think anyways. You've had an opportunity now with biathlon, the Paralympic biathlon, to travel the world and be in many great places. What's your favorite competition venue around the world? Dan Cnossen: [00:50:48] Östersund, Sweden. Tom Kelly: [00:50:50] Östersund Sweden. And what are the things that have gravitated you towards Östersund? Dan Cnossen: [00:50:57] Well, anywhere in Scandinavia [00:51:00] is particularly good, but I think the trails for sit skiing are just so fun there. The the. Venue is wonderful for cross-country racing as well as biathlon. You have a fun town with stuff going on. Museum, little university cafes, things like that, restaurants and people are very friendly. And then there's a whole network of trails. And so just it all lines up being a really wonderful spot. Tom Kelly: [00:51:27] Cool. Favorite participant sport for you [00:51:30] outside of skiing. Dan Cnossen: [00:51:33] I'm I mean, my initial thought is searching, but I don't know if I consider is for me at least surfing the sport. Tom Kelly: [00:51:41] Well, it can be an activity, let's talk about surfing, because that intrigues me. Dan Cnossen: [00:51:46] I love to surf. I've got I've gotten into it, you know, for someone who is scared of the water. It was interesting that I was I was scared of the water, but I just wasn't exposed to it as a kid. And when I showed up at the Naval Academy, it just was something that I hadn't been exposed [00:52:00] to. And that created, I think, a sense of apprehension, because you're in this environment where in the beginning, in that first summer, there's a lot of pressure. And so you want to perform well and you want to have the respect of the people around you. It was creating some anxiety with me, but I have now since long, long shed that apprehension of the water and fallen in love with surfing because of many reasons. But it's important and also as a surfer, to have that respect of the ocean and to realize that you need to stay within your limits. But [00:52:30] there's this really amazing thing when when I've taken some trips to Indonesia, but in these and elsewhere, but in the certain certain moments that I can recall, everything just seemed to line up where the tide was doing, what it was doing. Dan Cnossen: [00:52:47] The current was doing what it was doing. The ocean had this wave pattern that it had, and I had to know where to put myself and time and space in it all. All of these variables, what the wind was doing, it [00:53:00] all lined up. And I got on a wave and it just really felt free and. I can when I think about surfing. Think about is it competitive? Would I want it to be competitive? Would I want it to be a sport? And the answer is no way. I just love it for what it is. So then this challenge for me is to create this sense of what I have around surfing into. Then maybe try to apply it to skiing into biathlon, because I think we get so caught up in results in competition that we lose [00:53:30] the sense of what it really is. And so for me, surfing, it just naturally is this wonderful thing that doesn't need to be anything else. Tom Kelly: [00:53:40] Yeah, we always have to remember that the reason we participate in these sports is because they're fun. We love engaging in them. Dan Cnossen: [00:53:49] Yes. And so. That is that is the base fundamental level and why? Why did you even get into something in the first place? What was it about? It was the [00:54:00] speed on the snow. Being in the woods, whatever it is, I think I think creating these anchor points is important for for me, surfing is this really special thing. And it can all it can quickly become scary or dangerous. But I've been. I think. Trying to trying to put myself in the comfortable zone where it's still a challenge. And then it can be really fun, but not not tipping over into the point of where I might actually get injured [00:54:30] doing it. So that's that's the balance. Tom Kelly: [00:54:34] Got Dan Cnossen: [00:54:34] And. Tom Kelly: [00:54:34] To keep keep it fun. Dan Cnossen: [00:54:36] Yeah, absolutely. And it really is this meditative kind of thing almost. And so there's a lot of variables going on. But the ocean is just gonna do what it's gonna do. And then you hope that you can put yourself in the right place at the right time. And it all comes together. Tom Kelly: [00:54:52] Right on favorite pandemic Netflix binge. Dan Cnossen: [00:54:57] Oh, I don't have [00:55:00] Netflix. It's probably Tom Kelly: [00:55:01] It could be any Dan Cnossen: [00:55:02] Right. Tom Kelly: [00:55:02] Any content provider. Dan Cnossen: [00:55:04] I mean, I watch I watched World on Fire by. It's actually what was on PBS. And I know that doesn't sound like I'm referring. Tom Kelly: [00:55:15] That's OK. Dan Cnossen: [00:55:16] Yes. But it was on fire. Was it was really good. And I'm I'm looking forward to the next season. It was spring on PBS and it had some historical connections with World War Two. And it was great. Tom Kelly: [00:55:29] Well, I mean, here's the thing [00:55:30] about PBS. It is free and there's amazing content. Dan Cnossen: [00:55:33] Yeah. Tom Kelly: [00:55:33] So that's a good answer. And then last one in one word. Dan, what does it mean to you to be a Paralympic biathlete, biathlon champion? Dan Cnossen: [00:55:46] One word. Special needs to get special is just special for me. Tom Kelly: [00:55:54] It is special. Dan, thank you so much for joining us, telling your story, sharing it with others. [00:56:00] It's been a delight to get to know you a little better. Dan Cnossen: [00:56:04] Thanks, Tom. I've enjoyed your questions and thanks for keeping an interest in me and for having me on the podcast. Tom Kelly: [00:56:10] Well, happy to have you here. Biathlon is a sport of precision and ultimate test of athletes on snow. Paralympic champion Dan Cnossen is a remarkable athlete and a role model for all of us. And Dan, thanks for joining us on HEARTBEAT. Don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast channel. You'll find Heartbeat on Apple [00:56:30] podcast, Google, Spotify, Stitcher and more. We'll be back with more content throughout the summer and in the season ahead. I'm your host, Tom Kelly, from all of us at U.S. Biathlon. Thanks for listening to Heartbeat.
44 minutes | 8 months ago
Bringing Life Experience to Biathlon: Sara Studebaker-Hall
Athlete, coach, program leader, NCAA team champion, two-time Olympian. Idaho native Sara Studebaker-Hall has spent her life in winter sport. This past February she took on the role of US Biathlon’s director of operations. A few weeks later, she and her colleagues were deep in management of how to get the US Biathlon Team home from Finland when COVID-19 travel restrictions broke out. Sara’s vast knowledge of and passion for biathlon is telling. In this insightful Heartbeat podcast, she recounts her pathway into biathlon and how she progressed. She tells an emotional story of making a pact with teammates to make the Olympic Team together. And she smiles as she talks about raising young son August just a few kilometers from the Olympic trails of Soldier Hollow. As operations director for US Biathlon, she makes it all run smoothly. And she also helps tell the story of the sport. “Communications is key.” Her in-depth conversation with Heartbeat host Tom Kelly will take you inside the world of biathlon to learn what Sara brings to the team and to clubs around the country.TRANSCRIPTTom Kelly: Biathlon is a unique Olympic event. It challenges participants with opposing athletic endeavors in a singular competition. It combines the heart pumping aerobic aspects of cross country skiing match with the intense focus of precision marksmanship - two diametrically opposing forces testing every ounce of physical and mental strength of athletes. Welcome to HEARTBEAT, he U.S. Biathlon Podcast. I'm your host, Tom Kelly, and I'm proud to bring you regular insights into this fascinating Olympic sport. We hope you enjoyed our debut podcast with world championship medallist Susan Dunklee. Today, we'll take a look inside the operations of U.S. biathlon and the support it provides to athletes in clubs across the country. Our guest today is a veteran athlete and a two time Olympian. After her retirement in 2014, she expanded her role in the sport as a coach, club leader and an athlete representative. Sara Studebaker-Hall is an Idaho native who spent seven years on the U.S. Biathlon Team competing in both the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games while at Dartmouth College. She was on the 2007 NCAA champion team. She went on to coach at the University of Alaska-Anchorage and Soldier Hollow. She has served on the U.S. biathlon board and as an athlete representative to the USO Pieces Athletes Advisory Council. This past January, she was named director of operations for U.S. biathlon, making her home not far from the Olympic venue in Soldier Hollow with husband Zach Hall and their young son, August. Sara, welcome and thanks for joining us on HEARTBEAT.Sara Studebaker-Hall: Thanks, Tom, it's great to be here.Tom Kelly: So what has your pandemic life been like down in Midway, Utah?Sara Studebaker-Hall: You know, I feel pretty lucky overall, we are in a relatively rural area. We've been able to get outside. My husband and I have both been working from home. And so kind of switching off who's watching August and who's working. So it's definitely has its challenges. I'm currently joining you from a closet. So, you know, we're all just doing what we can. But in general, you know, we we've been healthy. We stay in staying active. And so I can't complain too much.Tom Kelly: Well, then I won't ask you what the view is like from the closet.Sara Studebaker-Hall: No.Tom Kelly: It it it is a pretty amazing place, though, isn't it? Just a great spirit of sport down there and a beautiful mountain setting.Sara Studebaker-Hall: Oh, absolutely. You know, we when we moved to Heber, our experience there had really been as athletes and and we hadn't had a lot of experiences recently. So, you know, we moved there three years ago and saw the venue really starting to come alive with the planned return of the World Cup in it to Soldier Hollow. And it's been a really exciting time to be there. And the community has been really welcoming. And, you know, we love. I love being back in the Mountain West. So that's definitely exciting for me. And, yeah, it's it's been it's been really great.Tom Kelly: Now, Sara, I know that when you took on this new role as director of operations from for U.S. Biathlon, you probably had these grand ideas and the things that you were going to do on day one to put things in motion. But the pandemic really changed your role when you started in February, didn't it?Sara Studebaker-Hall: It really did. Yeah, I think I was at work for about two weeks when things really started to get shut down. And, you know, in some ways I was lucky. I was already working from home. My position is remote. So I'm still based in Heber in Utah, where the headquarters are back in Maine. So it gives us some geographic diversity with an organization, which I think is a really positive, but it's definitely suddenly became a very different situation for all of us within the organization. I mean, you know, right away, when the president made his speech about closing the borders and we were thrown into how do we get the athletes back immediately from Finland? Yeah, things have just been taking everything and every decision day by day, week by week as we move through planning and and all aspects of the U.S. Biathlon.Tom Kelly: You know, I think most people don't realize how unique this situation is. There is no playbook. There are no guidelines that you started out with on how do I handle a team in a pandemic. So you guys have really been inventing things with good background knowledge as you go along.Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah, absolutely. You know, we have a really great team. I think that the one thing that this has really forced us to do is communicate even better with each other. And so we've been, I think, doing a really good job as a staff of staying connected and making sure that everybody knows what's going on as things continue to change every day. There was a while, where things were changing every hour. I mean, I was sending updates every morning and every evening to the whole staff about what the State Department and the CDC were saying about the situation, both domestic and abroad. And, you know, now it's a little bit it's a little bit easier for us because we are out of season. So, you know, we're planning camps and Tim and law are definitely working with the brunt of that aspect. But even as we plan board meetings and think about the season ahead, there's so many unknowns and and really having to create a number of different plans, depending on what might happen, is definitely a challenge.Tom Kelly: Sara, let's go back into your background, and one of the things that I always like to explore with biathletes is how did you get started in the sport? This is such a unique activity and everyone has this slightly different pathway. But what was it for you that got you into the sport of biathlon?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah, you know, I started skiing really young, my family was always really involved in the outdoors and skiing was a big part of our of our family actually started as an alpine ski racer. Thought I would go that direction, but was introduced to the bogus base and Nordic team when I was in sixth grade and started doing cross-country and really loved it. I just started doing that as my main sport. And I had a coach, Eric Reynolds, who had done some biathlon, and he a friend of a friend of mine on the team. And I saw a little blurb in the 98 Olympics about biathlon and just started asking him a ton of questions about the sport. And he ended up actually doing some research and finding and development camp for for her and I. In Lake Placid. And so we went there that summer and really got a crash course in biathlon. And I was hooked and really started doing as much biathlon as I could. I mean, we didn't have a range in Boise, so we would go out to the desert and shoot when we when we had the opportunity and go to go to some races as we were able. You know, I really focused on on Nordic skiing and doing barthe on when I could because I really loved it. But I didn't have as many opportunities in high school as a as I maybe wanted to just because of where I lived in. But then graduating from from college actually took a little bit of a break and went to Dartmouth. And when I graduated, U.S. blacklists starting their development program. And so I was invited over to to join that program in Lake Placid. And, you know, when you're leaving college and someone's offering you a free room and board, it sounds pretty great. So I went over there and, you know, pretty much as they say, I guess the rest is history. It was it was a great, great opportunity for me.Tom Kelly: Sara, going back to you as a young girl, did you have any experience shooting at all or was this your first introduction to the marksmanship aspect of biathlon?Sara Studebaker-Hall: I had no experience shooting - it was totally, totally new to me when I started biathlon and, you know, I remember some of my family friends questioning, oh, you're going to do a sport with a firearm. That's so strange. And, you know, it's definitely very foreign to me. But but I loved it. I love the mental aspect of biathlon. I think, you know, Nordic skiing is awesome. And I loved competing as a as a Nordic athlete. But barf on just brings that extra element of having to calm your mind, having to completely switch gears and focus on shooting in the middle of an intense aerobic effort - I just loved. And I and I think it worked well for me and my personality.Tom Kelly: You were a part of a very strong program at Dartmouth on the cross country team. What did you take away from that experience and being side by side with some really great athletes? Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah, it was a it was a pretty cool time to be at Dartmouth and, you know, that program is is so strong, has been and continues to be. And I think that the biggest thing that I learned as part of that team was that the team is so important. And having that strong team, even though we were Alpine and Nordic men and women, was why we were successful and really supporting each other and and going into the race, even though it was an individual race, knowing that you were racing for everybody on your team was, I think, a huge part of our success and continued to be something that really I brought into my career as a as a biathlete after college.Tom Kelly: Three years after that NCAA title, you were walking into the stadium in Vancouver as an Olympian. Great feeling, isn't it?Sara Studebaker-Hall: It was pretty cool for sure - definitely a lifelong dream that I was. I was pretty excited to have it come true.Tom Kelly: So athletes take many different paths after their athletic period. You chose to go in to a different phase of the sport as a coach and a program leader. What motivated you to make that decision to stay in the sport and to give back?Sara Studebaker-Hall: I feel really lucky about my career because I was able to choose when I was done in 2014, I knew going into the season that that would be my last season and I was really able to achieve the goals that I wanted to achieve. And, you know, not luckily not have any major injuries in my career and be able to decide when I wanted to to stop being a competitive athlete. And I recognize that that was you know, it's not the path that everybody gets, unfortunately. And I was really lucky in that. But that said, I still love the sport. And I knew that I wanted to stay involved somehow and not, you know, not compete and be done competing, but really stay involved. And I always really enjoyed mentoring the next generation. So it was really natural for me to move into a coaching role. And I was I was really excited to have the opportunity to to start that with the University of Alaska, Anchorage and being their assistant coach there really taught me a lot just about coaching in general and and also gave me some freedom in the summer as we we weren't we weren't working. We didn't have athletes on campus. So I was able to help a lot with the biathlon program up there as well. And, you know, it was it was a really awesome introduction to coaching for me to be part of that program.Tom Kelly: Was your experience there specific to biathlon or were you a cross country coach as well?Sara Studebaker-Hall: At the University of Alaska, Anchorage, I was the cross country assistant coach for their program, and then I would help out really unofficially, my husband, Zach, was running the biathlon program up in Alaska, up in Anchorage. And so I would help him out when I was able to, mostly in the summers and and a little bit in the winter, depending on our training schedule. But that was a great opportunity for me to really see what was going on in development, in biathlon and, you know, to to learn more about coaching through my work with the university, but to learn more about biathlon development in the U.S. from his role as.Tom Kelly: Were you and Zach able to influence the culture of biathlon up there in Alaska?Sara Studebaker-Hall: I hope so. I know it was a really cool time to be up there because, you know, cross country skiing in Alaska is huge. And it was really fun for me to see the whole community up there really embracing Nordic sports. And and biathlon is really coming on strong. You know, the time that we were we spent up there, there were several people, several kids. It started to make World Junior teens. And the program continues to be really strong to this day. So I think that, you know, we left a mark and we left it better than we found it. And the coaches that are up there now are really doing a great job and taking advantage of the awesome cross-country skiing that's up there and and the support for the Nordic sports. So, you know, I think that that there definitely is a lot of good stuff coming out of Alaska right now.Tom Kelly: And then what created the opportunity for you to move down to Utah and get a role with the Soldier Hollow venue?Sara Studebaker-Hall: So I think that maybe I'm not sure if it was on purpose or an accident. Max Cobb tried to really set this up, but I was the athlete rep for biathlon. I was at a USOPC event and sat next to Colin Hilton, who is the CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, which manages Soldier Hollow. And he was telling me that they were trying to get a biathlon program started there. And just recently, the funding for for my husband for Zach's program up in Alaska had had stopped. And so he was looking for work and trying to figure out how to continue being involved in biathlon. And so, I said, you know, I might know a coach for you. And he got in touch and and, yeah, we ended up moving down - actually Zach moved down that December. That was in September. And Zach moved to Utah in December. And I followed in May when my contract was up with the University of Alaska. So it was kind of happenstance. Right place. Right time. Great opportunities for for everyone involved. I think.Tom Kelly: You know, you guys actually came at a fortuitous time as biathlon was really making a resurgence here. What was it like being able to be involved with a program like that and a little bit from just the the ground up and building it?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah, it's it was really cool. You know, Zach had kind of started at least part of the biathlon program up and up in Anchorage, and so we had a little experience with that for us. We were walking into Team Soldier Hollow, which had been around for for many years. And Scott Peterson was an awesome coach for them several years ago and continues to be involved with the with the venue. And but they were they at a place where they were really ready for the next step and they needed a professional coach and they were ready to start a biathlon program. We had just been awarded the World Cup for 2019. And there was a lot of work to do for sure. But the community and the team was really hungry for that. And so it was it was great. It was a lot of work for sure, especially those first couple of years getting ready for a World Cup and getting the team off the ground on the biathlon side and and and bringing in coaching staff and making some changes that were that were subtle but were were what the the team and the venue needed. I think it was it's it's been a really cool process to watch and to watch the venue really come alive and grow and come back to the the glory that I remember seeing there in 2002. So it's been really exciting and really fun to be a part of.Tom Kelly: That World Cup in February of 2019 was a remarkable event. I know that the fans who watched it on television or came to the venue were excited about it, but probably didn't realize all of the work that went into making that happen. And you were right in the middle of that for a period of a few years leading up to that event.Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yes. So, you know, in addition to just being on venue and being, you know, one of the people who knew the most about World Cups, we were definitely really, really involved. I was the assistant chief of competition for the event itself, but also really involved in the lead up. We had a couple of site visits in the year leading up to the event. And just, you know, multiple things getting ready for for everything that needed to happen between volunteers, getting the targets rehabbed, getting the courses, making sure that they were good and approved by iView and bringing in officials from outside, we had a great team that came in and helped us and led by Tracy Lamb, who is our chief of comp for the week. And man, it was it was a lot of work, but it was so magical. I remember standing standing in the stadium and watching the first starter go off of that first race and thinking we did it. It's going. It's happening. This is the great.Tom Kelly: First for me, one of the most poignant moments, though, was watching you and Danica and some of the other coaches with these kids from clubs around the country who were able to see the best in the world competing right here in the USA.Sara Studebaker-Hall: Oh, yeah. It was awesome, you know, when we had just started our biathlon program two years prior and getting to have the kids there and Tim and Danica leading a camp for for those kids to to be there and just watch and just see all of these athletes really compete at their best. And see that what is the level of World Cup biathlon and really dream big, because I think when you see it, especially as a young athlete, you get to see that you can you can feel what that should be like for you. And and you can really dream about that in in color, you know, to so to speak, because you've you've seen it.Tom Kelly: It's been interesting over the last few years to see the buzz that has been created over U.S. biathlon, some great international results, a freshness and and a look to the future. Can you describe a little bit about what's been going on in the sport over the last maybe three, four, five years that's created this really positive wave of enthusiasm for biathlon in America?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah, you know, I think a nordic sports in general in our country are really experiencing a lot of a lot of success. I think that, you know, fortunately or unfortunately, success begets success and begets press coverage as well. We've been super lucky to have the talents of people like Lyle and Susan, who have won World Championship medals and to have them be able to inspire the the younger generation behind them. You know, Susan's especially been really great about getting involved in her local community and with law on board. Now, as our high performance director, I think that the understanding of what it takes to to get to that level is becoming more tangible for people. And to see someone especially like, you know, like Susan or Lowell, where kids know, 'hey, that person came out of my program and they're not so different from me, I could do that.' And, you know, I think that I've heard I've heard many of the athletes, people who are on the national team, people who are on the junior national team, juniors in clubs who say things like that, like, yeah, you know, I know that person and they're not so special. I could do that. And I think that's such a great thing to hear to to see that that people are really recognizing that it's a lot of work, but it's not unattainable. And these people aren't so different from any of the juniors that are that are working now or the people on the national team or the development team.Tom Kelly: Sara, you've touched on this a little bit, but I want to explore this a little bit further. The evolution of the staff right now, in particular with Lowell, a world champion, Lowell Bailey coming in to take over high performance. Tim Burke, longtime team member and yourself. Can you walk us through the individual roles that each of you play in U.S. Biathlon today?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yes. so myself, I just started as our director of operations, and that's a new position for us. We've never had anyone fill this role. So it's definitely a little bit of a moving target in some respects, especially with the current situation. But my role is really at the heart to help us with our fundraising, to help us with our marketing or social media and to generally kind of help connect the staff and make sure that we're we're talking and we're meeting regularly and we all know what our respective jobs are and who's in charge of what. So that things don't fall through the cracks and and, you know, take some of that pressure off of Max, especially because he's really busy with his roles in biathlon. With IBU, NGB Council, everything he's got going on. I think my role is really to try to help. Keep things going on the home front. And then, you know, yeah, like you said, Lowell being World Champion coming in last year to replace Bernd too. Bernd did such a great job of setting the tone for high performance in this country. And I think that law really recognizes all the work that he did and obviously benefited hugely from that. And I think that having someone home grown. In that position is extremely important. Having someone who knows the American system in an out in law started in the club system, he came through, went to University of Vermont, went onto the national team, was part of the junior national team when he was younger. So he knows all of those aspects and I think is going to be so great to have and is already proven to be such an asset to us.Sara Studebaker-Hall: And I'm really excited to be working with him. And Tim, similarly, you know, he's leading up our development side. He's our director of athlete development. I think he has seen a lot of things that have been tried over the years from junior national team to know Drew national team to trying to revitalize the clubs and I think has seen some of the best of each of those aspects. And so having him there to really lead that and Danica's role is really helping him in that development piece and and taking on a little bit more of the education part, helping to make sure that our coaches are are getting the education that they need, that we bring up the level of coaching in this country and that we're better able to serve, especially the clubs in in the US and and allow them to be really feeder's for for our development and national teams. I think, you know, the fact that are the core of our team is now American and has experience at all the different levels of development in this country is so positive. And we all bring a lot to the table. And the fact that we've worked together as athletes definitely doesn't hurt. I think we understand each other. We understand where we where we're all coming from and and who might have the best answer to different questions, regardless of of our job title and.Tom Kelly: One of the other aspects I find fascinating with the program is that the organization is actually based in Maine, and Maine has been a great supporter of biathlon over the years. But now you have a notable footprint at both the Olympic sites in Lake Placid and in Salt Lake City, namely Soldier Hollow. How is that a real asset for you as you work with aspiring by athletes around the country?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah, I think it's really important, you know, it's it's important to look at our country on a map compared to our European friends because our country is giants. You know, you think about a country like Germany that is, you know, they're able to have a really centrally located high performance Team and national team and and never be more than two, three hours from the rest of their clubs. And we don't have that. You have to jump on an airplane or drive for five days and get across the country. So I think, you know, being able to be on the ground and understand what's different in the west from the east and what's different in Lake Placid from northern Maine, for example, I think is is super helpful for us and for us both on to have the ability to have face time with our clubs and different regions is is truly important to be able to have, you know, me out West and and Tim and Leland Dannica and Lake Placid and easily able to get to a lot of those Eastern clubs, I think is is really just going to be positive for us and for our relationship with our clubs and for us being able to deliver what kind of help the clubs need and and whether that's different from what the clubs in the Eastern with the clubs in the West need, you know, remains to be seen a little bit. But we're in. We're well positioned to better understand that now.Tom Kelly: Let's talk about those clubs and the parents and the athletes who comprise them around the country. What are the things that they're looking for as young athletes and parents of young athletes that U.S. biathlon can support them with?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah. You know, I think that when you're when you're in a club and and you're starting out as an athlete, I think you really want to look for opportunities. And that was something that I definitely thought about through my career. I mean, the reason that I went to college, rather than focusing on biathlon or cross-country outside of school, was that I knew that was the best avenue at that moment for me. And I think providing multiple avenues and multiple opportunities for kids to stay involved in sport is really what we're identifying as as a big hang up for us. You know, I think when kids graduate from high school being able to have these postgraduate programs that they can jump into if they're ready for that or being able to have partnerships with colleges, that they can go to school and do biathlon or at least, you know, agreements with and double aid programs where kids can go and and get better at skiing and then return, you know, through a development pipeline or these talent identification programs that Tim has really been leading up to try to bring collegiate athletes who are great skiers over to biathlon after their collegiate careers. I think recognizing there's multiple entry points where we can both gain and lose athletes and making sure that we're providing opportunities for those people at all those different levels is is really important.Tom Kelly: To that point, how important was that partnership that U.S. Biathlon announced earlier this year with Paul Smith's college?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah, that's such an awesome opportunity for us and for the athletes, you know, for me coming from the club environment and you know, we've got two kids that were involved in Team Soldier Hollo that are now going to be going to Paul Smith's. I mean, just to be able to go to school and pursue your athletic goals at the same time is such an awesome situation. And we've never had that with biathlon. You know, it's not an NCAA sport. So creating this partnership is has been a lot of work from Max and from Tim especially to make sure that it it can be the right fit. But I think being able to provide that opportunity to the athletes is is huge and and to the parents as well. I mean, no parent wants to just forget about education because, you know, you're not you're not going to be an athlete forever and you're not going to be able to just ride your athletic career. Let's let's face it. You know, we don't earn a ton of money as athletes in this country. And, you know, we're lucky if we earn any. So I think, you know, making sure that people have opportunities to get that education so that they can go off to whatever their second life is going to be after sport is is important. And we really want to make sure that we're focusing on not just an athlete's athletic career, but their career as a whole person. And, you know, I think we do a disservice to athletes if we don't think about them as as having a life and a world after and outside of athletics.Tom Kelly: You know, when they're athletes, that's the most formative time of their lives, so you really have to pay attention to that whole person as you men. As you mentioned.Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah, absolutely, and, you know, it's it's definitely something that I know that the the Olympic Paralympic movement as a whole is really focusing on now. And and I think I'm really proud to be a part of that. And, you know, from the club world to up to the operations worldwide with U.S. Biathlon, I know that everybody is really thinking about that. And we have really great coaches and really great clubs out there. And they just, you know, will benefit so much from the resources that at the higher level we're able to provide.Tom Kelly: One of the things, too, that has struck me with biathlon is looking at kind of the family atmosphere. Everyone is a part of the family, whether you're a partner like Ariens or Maloja or you're a club or the staff for the athletes. Everybody truly does work together.Sara Studebaker-Hall: Oh, yeah, I. It's my favorite thing about. You know, and I'm sure that if I were as deep in another sport as I am and biathlon, I would I would think maybe similarly. But, you know, we biathlon is my experience. And the community, the family that that is us laugh on an international laugh on is is amazing. And it's it's so fun to work in an atmosphere where, you know, that everybody is really after the same thing and we're all here, you know, not because of the paycheck or anything else then that we love it. We truly, truly love it. And we'll work really hard and do things that are not technically our jobs just to see it succeed.Tom Kelly: Is this unique to America or is this something that's ingrained in biathlon worldwide?Sara Studebaker-Hall: You know, that's that's a really good question. I don't know. I'm sure that there's that there are places around the world that would say the same. I'd like to think that we're a little bit unique here in the U.S. because on isn't as popular of a sport. It's a little bit easier to to think about loving and being passionate about something that is widely televised and well known and well understood like it is in Europe. But in the US, it's it's this pretty small sample size and pretty crazy sport for most people. And we have a huge section of our country that doesn't even get any snow, has no biathlon ranges, has no idea what we're doing. And I think that makes it just a little bit extra special.Tom Kelly: Let's go back to something we talked about early on before we close here. What got you into biathlon? And we talk a lot about the sport, the heart pumping, aerobic activity of cross-country and the precision of the marksmanship in your mind, what describe what that means to you. What it meant to you as an athlete. What it means to you as a program leader today.Sara Studebaker-Hall: And putting that into words is super hard. I think that the thing that I always think about when I think about putting everything together is standing on a start line. And for me, the line I always go back to as Vancouver, the individual race. And I was bib number one, and I had never been the number one I'd raced in like, you know, three or four World Cups to that point. And it was crazy to me to have to start an Olympic race. But it was so cool. And to stand on the start line and see all the people watching me see myself on the big screen knowing that I was being broadcast around the world and start and hear everybody cheer. I think to me that's like everything coming together and realizing that you do this crazy sport and you roller ski in the rain and you do strength workouts when no one's watching and you try to encourage other people to join this crazy thing and then you make it there. And it's not necessarily about how it plays out, but just the fact that you you got there and, you know, you worked hard and that there's a lot of people that also worked hard to help get you there. I think is is just that special to me.Tom Kelly: It's a great sport and Sara, we appreciate you sharing your time today. We're going to close this out with a traditional lightning round, which I am calling On Target to close the HEARTBEAT podcast from U.S. Biathlon. Don't worry, it's hits, not judged. There's nothing tricky. It's really simple stuff. So we're going to start it out with your role model.Tom Kelly: As an aspiring young athlete, who is your role model?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Role model. You know, Miriam, Bedard really comes to mind, the Canadian biathlete.Tom Kelly: Next up, your favorite biathlon venue around the world.Sara Studebaker-Hall: I love Pokljuka. It's definitely yeah, Pokljuka is my favorite for sure.Tom Kelly: Tell us about that.Sara Studebaker-Hall: It is so Pokljuka, Slovenia is going to be the site of the World Championships for the coming year. It's up in the mountains. You stay down in Bled, which is the most beautiful town. I think it's right on the on the water. And when I went there, we were always there right before Christmas. So the atmosphere in the town was very festive and it was really fun. And you got to, like, go up in the hills and compete and then come down and feel like you were part of a community and a town that's right there. Yeah. I just have such good memories there. I never had great races there actually had some of my worst races there. But it was a it was such a great venue and I really enjoyed racing there.Tom Kelly: Slovenia is an amazing place, isn't it?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah, it's it's really fun to be able to visit that part of the world.Tom Kelly: Sara, you live in a truly wonderful place. What's the most fun thing that you and Zach do with your son? August.Sara Studebaker-Hall: You know, right now, just going on walks, he is learning so many words every day. And you know quarantine life has us a little bit stir crazy sometimes. So going on walks and seeing the just small things that he points out, the birds flying the bird's nest, the trucks, the tractors, the cows, you know, everything he is so excited about and reminding you that, you know, the world is a pretty exciting place and even the mundane is is pretty cool if you're too.Tom Kelly: Yeah. Through the eyes of a two year old. Everything looks bigger. When you're on a training run or a ski, what's on your playlist?Sara Studebaker-Hall: You know, I love some Taylor Swift, I got to say that I have a lot of Taylor Swift on my on my iPod.Tom Kelly: Not bad tunes to listen to. OK. Your biggest pandemic challenge this spring, either work or home.Sara Studebaker-Hall: You know, I think just juggling life with a two year old. I think that's been the hugest challenge in, you know, trying to provide him the right opportunities. And in an in time when we can't get together with other people and, you know, feel like you're doing enough. And, you know, both near your home life and your professional life, it's definitely been a challenge. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist. And having to let go of a few things has been definitely my biggest challenge.Tom Kelly: It's a relief when you do let go of a few things when you are a perfectionist. I can tell you.Sara Studebaker-Hall: Yeah, and, you know, we I'm really lucky because I think our organization, Max, is really led by by example of allowing us to realize that this is not a normal situation and we need to be a little bit. We need to give ourselves a little bit of credit. So I appreciate that for sure.Tom Kelly: Biggest thrill as an athlete.Sara Studebaker-Hall: You know? I mean, man, it was awesome to make two Olympic Games. But my favorite? I'm going to change your question a little bit, because I think my favorite moment,Tom Kelly: That's OK.Sara Studebaker-Hall: My favorite moment as an athlete was in Nova Mesto in the 2013 World Championships. And after the relay, Hannah , Annelies Cook and Susan Dunklee and I all went out and cooled down together and we decided, you know, we're gonna support each other in getting to 2014 and we're going to do it together and making that decision as a team and and feeling like we were, you know, while we were going to compete against each other, so to speak, for those spots on that team that we were going to compete against each other together was was so, so enormous and I think helped us to be successful as a group. And, yeah, that's that's my favorite. My favorite moment and my biggest thrill. Just realizing that through the support of of our team that we could we could be successful in and get through, you know, one more season of rainy roller skis and get to our goals.Tom Kelly: So I've got I've got a change that a little bit on, you can come back and ask you your biggest thrill as a coach.Sara Studebaker-Hall: All right. Yeah. You know, that's that's that's pretty easy, actually, this year. I had two people make the junior national team who had never made it before. So we're in the intermountain region for cross-country. And I had two girls who made, you know, nationals and they had made it their goal. One of them in particular has had had some some challenges and some personal challenges that she had to get over. And and they both made the team. And and I had never I've never been prouder. You know, I was like crying when they announced the team because I was so proud of them. And it was a cool feeling to feel like, you know, I helped them get there, but I didn't do it. They did the work and they did it. They believed in themselves. And to just be like a bystander and a support for that was the shining moment of my coaching career for sure.Tom Kelly: Great feeling, isn't it?Sara Studebaker-Hall: It was great.Tom Kelly: Ok. We're down to the homestretch, two more questions. Sara, you have been around the world. You've been to two Olympics. You've won an NC double a championship. You've been to countless World Cups and world championships. What one tip would you give to a young aspiring biathlete?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Pace yourself. And be patient. I think, you know, I went to I was in a I was in a development pipeline when I was younger and we'd go to these leet camps and people would lay out the plan. First you make this team and then you make this team, and then you'll make this team and pay. Then you get to stand on the top of an Olympic podium. And it did not happen that way for me. And I'm I'm really glad for the path that I took. It was this little circuitous at times. And, you know, when I when I made my first Olympic team, I had like I said, I'd competed in, I think four four World Cups. And and, you know, I didn't know what to expect going into the Olympics and I wouldn't have it any other way. It was it took me time and it took me a weird path that people would never have been able to point out for me. But it worked. And so I think being patient and and following your God and remaining persistence is what's the most important, not some path that someone is going to lay out for you.Tom Kelly: Sara, final question. In one word, what does biathlon mean to you?Sara Studebaker-Hall: Biathlon means community.Tom Kelly: Community! Sara Studebaker-Hall, Thank you for joining us.Sara Studebaker-Hall: Thank you. It was awesome.Tom Kelly: Sara, thanks for joining us on HEARTBEAT. Biathlon is a sport of precision, an ultimate test of athletes on snow. Thanks for joining us on HEARTBEAT. Don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast channel. You'll find HEARTBEAT on Apple podcasts, Google, Spotify, Stitcher and more. We'll be back with more content this summer and with the season ahead to all of you listening this spring. Stay healthy. And we look forward to seeing you out on the trails very soon. I'm your host for HEARTBEAT, Tom Kelly from all of us at U.S. Biathlon. Thanks for listening today.
48 minutes | 10 months ago
Susan Dunklee: Targeting Silver
Vermont native Susan Dunklee was a standout runner and cross country skier in high school and at Dartmouth College. Then she discovered biathlon. Today, she's a two-time World Championship silver medalist. Heartbeat talks to Dunklee about the mystique of biathlon and her role today as America's top biathlete.
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