MILWAUKEE — Biathlon is the only winter Olympic event Team USA doesn’t have a gold in. This year, some Wisconsin natives are joining in the effort to change that.
It is known as the heartbeat of winter sport. The biathlon is a mix between cross-country skiing and marksmanship on the shooting range.
The sport requires athletes to ski grueling courses, then abruptly stop, stabilize, and shoot five 1.6 inch targets.
“I think it’s exciting. U.S. Biathlon, we’ve grown so much as an organization even in just the past six years,” said Deedra Irwin of Team USA.
It’s one of the winter Olympics most popular sports, yet it is still gaining traction in the western world.
“That Olympic medal is getting closer and closer in view for our team,” Irwin said.
“We’re going to do everything we can to put ourselves in the best position to try to win that first medal,” said Paul Schommer.
Schommer and Irwin learned about biathlon after years of cross-country skiing. They said sport adds a new challenge to a familiar sport.
“I fell in love with the sport right away. The shooting aspect just adds such a challenge. It’s so stimulating just learning that process,” Irwin said.
They’re are just two of eight biathletes representing Team USA. In addition, they represent the State of Wisconsin and said it is a great honor.
“Being able to represent everyone at home and all those people who have helped me is something I'm extremely grateful for but it’s also a representation of those who helped get me here,” Schommer said.