S. Burlington Thursday, May 14th
In March, U-S Biathlon announced a partnership with Paul Smith's College, where the College would become the official Eastern Education and Training Center for the national organization. U-S Biathlon will provide scholarships to rising young athletes to attend Paul Smith's. The first three have already been awarded. U-S Biathlon president and CEO Max Cobb is excited about what this will mean for the sport and the athletes that compete in it.
"The opportunity to be able to continue their biathlon training at a very high-level, world class level, and get that college degree going, is just terrific.", says Cobb. "And I think that really helps make it easy for people to choose biathlon, and that is something that's really important to us."
Paul Smith's is set to add a full biathlon range this year to it's new, world class nordic skiing course that debuted this past winter. With biathlon not a recognized collegiate sport, biathletes that wanted to attend college have faced challenges in being able to continue to train and compete during those college years. Tim Burke, a four-time Olympian and Paul Smith's, New York native is now the Director of Athlete Development for U-S Biathlon. He says this partnership will look to fill the gap in that development cycle.
"We need to be able to keep our athletes in the sport for a long time.", says Burke. "In order to do that we need a college option for them, and without that opportunity to have them in college continuing biathlon, it's really hard to keep them in the program for the time that it really takes to become a world class biathlete."
The arrival of the Paul Smith's range is part of a biathlon boom in our region. Craftsbury Outdoor Center added a biathlon range last winter. The biathlon center at Lake Placid is undergoing major renovations ahead of the 2023 World University Games, and Cobb calls the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho one of the best facilities for biathlon in the world. All together, it presents tremendous opportunities to grow the sport of biathlon in our region.
"Each one of those facilities will become a center for young athlete development and that will provide a basis upon which we can build more young, competitive opportunities for those kids."