Vermont National Guard Public Affairs
The Vermont National Guard Biathlon Program will host the U.S. Biathlon Summer Rollerski National Championships Aug. 7-8 at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho.
These races also serve as the first of eight Olympic qualifiers for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Athletes must place in six qualifying races to compete for the U.S. Olympic team.
"We host this event every year; it's always exciting especially in an Olympic Year," said Maj. Kevin Elmer, National Guard Biathlon coordinator. "The great thing about hosting the first race is our athletes know the course and will hopefully benefit from some home-field advantage to kick off the qualifying season."
Four Olympic hopefuls join six other Vermont National Guard biathletes competing this weekend. One such hopeful is Spc. Deedra Irwin, who has been trying to catch as much of the Summer Games as possible while she pursues her own Olympic dream. "When I was a kid, I saw the summer Olympics and wanted to compete in track and field. It is funny how my pursuit has taken me towards the winter Olympics and an entirely different sport."
Speaking of this weekend's competition, Irwin said, "The team is just excited to host and participate and to see so many people out here for the races."
In total, 10 athletes will compete from National Guard Biathlon, two of whom have been named to the Junior World Championship team. The Vermont National Guard has a strong relationship with the U.S. Biathlon Association, hosting races of national significance since the formation of National Guard Biathlon in 1973.