Lake Placid, NY, July 12. The new US Biathlon National Team Coaches, Per Nilsson and Mikael Lofgren have been putting US Biathletes to the test over the last week, conducting their first training camp with many of the National Team athletes.
Less than two weeks after accepting their positions with US Biathlon, the two new coaches have been running and roller skiing alongside their athletes, working on shooting skills, while introducing new training techniques and philosophies. At the same time, the new coaches and the athletes are getting to know each other,while living and training at the Olympic Training Center here. Nilsson commented, “It has been a great camp. Both Mikael and I are very impressed with the enthusiasm of the athletes and their willingness to try new things. We are trying to do a lot of work in a short time, so this has been a challenge for everyone.”
Over the course of the camp, the team has been roller skiing, doing combo workouts at the Verizon Sports Complex Biathlon facility, done new drills for strength, and worked on flexibility. Additionally, each athlete has had several training sessions using the laser rifle while getting feedback and instruction from the coaches.
The intensive work and the enthusiasm of the coaches have impressed every athlete at the camp. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) summed up the camp and the new coaches with comments similar to those made by every athlete here in Lake Placid. He commented, “Working with these guys, just after the first week has been incredible. They are both incredibly enthusiastic and excited about the prospects for our team. To be able to work with these guys who have helped coach so many other Olympic athletes; Mikael himself being a two-time Olympic Medallist and overall World Cup Winner. We could not be working with anyone better.”
In addition to all of the hard work and two additional days this week of ski technique work at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, the team and staff has been able to relax a bit while in Lake Placid. On a planned rest day, activities included some trout fishing for Jeremy Teela and Lowell Bailey, intense ping--pong for the Barnes sisters and dinner with US Biathlon Chairman Larry Pugh. Pugh, who drove to Lake Placid this week to meet the new coaches and visit with the athletes, was all smiles as he heard he athletes rave about the camp and the coaches. This first camp ends on July 16, with the team will reassembling in central Sweden for their next camp in mid-August. Lofgren said, “We will send the athletes home with a training program for the next four weeks and then we will begin the next camp.” That August camp will include skiing in the new ski Tunnel in Lofgren’s hometown of Torsby, more intensive shooting instruction and roller-ski biathlon competitions in Sweden.
If the first training camp of the new Olympic quadrennial leading up to Vancouver in 2010 is any indication, the next four years should be an incredibly exciting era for US Biathlon.
The United States Biathlon Association is the National Governing Body for the sport of Biathlon in the United States as recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Biathlon Union. The US Biathlon Association supports the US Biathlon Team and development of the sport on all levels within the United States.