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Biathlon returns to Fort Kent. National Guard team to compete

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 10:54 PM EST
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FORT KENT, Maine (WAGM) -Another cold January day around the County, but several biathletes were at the Fort Kent Outdoor center training for an Eastern Cup event that begins tomorrow. The group of competitors include several members of the National Guard biathlon program based in Vermont.

(SGT Drew Gelinas):” We represent approximately 26 states in sport and the national program where the more elite athletes are training is in Jericho, Vermont at Camp Ethan Allen Training site.”

Major Kevin Elmer is the National Guard Program Coordinator. He talks about how National Guard members get involved with the Biathlon program.

(Major Kevin Elmer):” There are some who join the National Guard because they are biathletes and they see our program. Sean Doherty and Leif Nordgren of the US Olympic team are biathletes first and joined the Guard to do biathlon with us. We have a lot of soldiers who are really good at cross country skiing. They join the Army and they find out through the Army that they can continue to train with their skiing and also gain the proficiency of shooting under stress, which is a very beneficial skill to a soldier in a combat operation.”

Being a member of the National Guard biathlon team does not excuse you from being deployed to places in this country or around the world.

Gelinas:” When you join this program it is very clear that you are soldiers first and biathletes second. It is an extra duty and it is privilege to serve our country both in uniform and in biathlon. When your unit needs you and there is a specific need for them, and they are not headed to the Olympics they will participate with their unit and deploy. Locally Specialist Johnson and Specialist Cooper just returned this weekend from a year long deployment in Africa.”

Most of the National Guard competitions are held at three venues, but they do try to get out to other Biathlon venues including the Fort Kent Outdoor Center to compete.

Elmer:” It’s an awesome place to be and we are very excited to have our all guard team up here. COVID made it difficult to get a lot of these events going so we are really grateful to give our athletes a chance to perform and do their best.”

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