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Three Vermont National Guard biathletes will compete in the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing as part of the U.S. Biathlon Team with an additional member named as the men’s alternate.
The U.S. Biathlon Association’s International Competition Committee finalized roster selections following the results of the recent International Biathlon Union Cup races in Brezno-Orsblie, Slovakia.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” lauded Maj. Kevin Elmer, National Guard Biathlon Coordinator. “I know all of the work and dedication our athletes and coaches put in every day and now they will get to represent their country at the pinnacle of athletic competition.”
The Vermont National Guard sends experienced Olympians Spc. Sean Doherty and Spc. Leif Nordgren for the men’s team as well as Spc. Deedra Irwin who will make her first Olympic appearance. Spc. Vaclav Cervenka will serve as men’s alternate to make his Olympic debut if needed.
“It’s still sort of surreal,” mused an excited Irwin. “You dream about something and chase it with everything you’ve got and now to be able to compete in the Olympics; I am just so honored and I can’t wait to compete in Beijing.”
Now named to Team U.S.A., the National Guard Biathletes will continue to compete in IBU World Cup races when not participating in high altitude training in preparation for Olympic competition.
Biathlon training involves cross-country skiing between rifle ranges. Participants engage targets at 50 meters at each range. The exercises help Soldiers to shoot accurately after moving quickly across snow-covered terrain, in the case of Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, mountainous terrain.
The Vermont National Guard biathletes serve with a variety of units within the Vermont Army National Guard’s Garrison Support Command. Doherty and Cervenka both serve as 12W Carpentry and Masonry Specialists with Detachment 1, Headquarters and Headquarters Company. Nordgren, currently a 15P Aviation Operations Specialist, plans to pursue flight school and earn his commission as a pilot following Olympic competition. Irwin, a 42A Human Resource Specialist, serves with 86th Troop Command.