Vermont National Guard hosts biathlon races at training site

The Vermont National Guard hosted the U.S. Summer Roller Ski Nationals races at Ethan Allen’s training site in Jericho. This weekend’s biathlon featured athletes all shooting for one thing: the 2022 Winter Olympics. Saturday’s races were the first of eight qualifying races for the upcoming Winter Games. Deedra Irwin, who placed second at the event, said the competition held firm. “The competition was tough there,” she said. “A lot of girls were shooting very well.” Irwin and other competitors serve with the Vermont National Guard. “It really is world class training here, and because we train here every day I think we have more home court advantage,” she said. Vermonter and Olympian Susan Dunklee has already qualified for the Winter Olympics, but said she was thrilled to have a rare opportunity to race in front of familiar faces. “I hardly ever get to run in front of my family and friends, and so this is a very special opportunity,” Dunklee said. Fellow Olympian and National Guardsman Leif Nordgren said the extra support from the group makes a big difference for the athletes. who supports a lot of those athletes, but the National Guard adds an extra layer of support,” Nordgren said. Race organizers said they were thrilled to see the races return after the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the operation last year.

The Vermont National Guard hosted the U.S. Summer Roller Ski Nationals races at Ethan Allen’s training site in Jericho. This weekend’s biathlon featured athletes all shooting for one thing: the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Saturday’s races were the first of eight qualifying races for the upcoming Winter Games. Deedra Irwin, who placed second at the event, said the competition held firm.

“The competition was tough there,” she said. “A lot of girls were shooting very well.”

Irwin and a few other competitors serve with the Vermont National Guard.

“It really is world-class training here, and because we train here every day, I think we get more on-court advantage,” she said.

Vermonter and Olympian Susan Dunklee has already qualified for the Winter Olympics, but said she was thrilled to have a rare opportunity to race in front of familiar faces.

“I almost never get to race in front of my family and friends, so this is a very special opportunity,” Dunklee said.

Fellow Olympian and National Guardsman, Leif Nordgren, said the extra group support makes a big difference for the athletes.

“Usually it’s just [the U.S. Biathlon Association] that supports a lot of these athletes, but the National Guard adds an extra layer of support,” Nordgren said.

Race organizers said they were delighted to see the races return after the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the operation last year.

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