The International Biathlon Union (IBU) is pleased to announce the launch of its Athlete Ambassador programme. 15 IBU athletes representing 12 different countries have joined as Athlete Ambassadors to help raise awareness, educate, and support the aims of the sport in three areas of development: sustainability, gender equality and integrity matters.
Mandated by its new Constitution and strategic plan Target 26 launched in late 2019, the IBU is implementing significant improvements in these key areas. The operationally independent Biathlon Integrity Unit is now fully established and handles all integrity matters in biathlon, including anti-doping, betting and result manipulation-related issues. The IBU has also adopted long-term strategies to make the sport of biathlon much more climate and environmentally friendly (see IBU Sustainability Strategy 2020-2030) and gender equal (see IBU Gender Equality Strategy 2021-2026).
The new Athlete Ambassadors are proud biathletes who are committed to using sport for development while serving as role models to their peers and the global Biathlon Family. As elite athletes, they have a fantastic platform to help sport reach the broader community of fans and followers and foster positive change. Serving as Athlete Ambassadors, they will be able to use their voice to promote a new, progressive culture that will build trust and confidence in the sport of biathlon and its future and ensure a better world for all.
Commenting on his choice to become an Athlete Ambassador for integrity matters, Sebastian Samuelsson, an Olympic and World Championship medallist from Sweden, said:
“I see it as my responsibility as a top-level athlete to commit to different topics related to my sport. Integrity matters are very important to me and being highly critical of the issues we have in that area, I also wanted to be part of the solution.”
Susan Dunklee, a two-time World Championships medallist from the USA and one of the new Athlete Ambassadors for gender equality, commented:
“Biathlon is already one of the more progressive sports for gender equality, but we still have a long way to go. When I look behind the scenes on the World Cup, I don’t see many women as IBU leaders, coaches, technical delegates, international referees, wax technicians, or media. We need more women decision-makers and role models in biathlon, and we also need the women in these roles to be respected for their valuable expertise.”
Representing Team Canada, Jules Burnotte, one of the new Athlete Ambassadors for sustainability, added:
“Biathlon is my world and I want to take care of it. By joining as a Sustainability Ambassador, I feel that I am taking care of the IBU itself, and everything and everyone connected to the sport. I especially want us to reflect on the partnerships we need in a world that is expected to change and the steps we need to take together.”
The inaugural IBU Athlete Ambassador programme includes the following athletes – for more information on each of them, please visit the Athlete Ambassadors pages for Sustainability, Gender Equality and Integrity Matters.
Athlete Ambassadors – Sustainability:
· Jules Burnotte, CAN· Grete Gaim, EST· Alla Ghilenko, MDA· Anika Kozika, CRO· Thierry Langer, BEL· Isabella Moon, AUS· Mirlene Picin, BRA· Adam Runnalls, CAN
Athlete Ambassadors – Gender Equality:
· Kelsey Dickinson, USA· Susan Dunklee, USA· Jessica Jislová, CZE· Regina Oja, EST
Athlete Ambassadors – Integrity Matters:
· Julian Eberhard, AUT· Anastasiya Merkushyna, UKR· Sebastian Samuelsson, SWE
Going forward, the Athlete Ambassadors will play an active part in various IBU activities, such as seminars, conferences, educational programmes and communication campaigns both in the lead-up to and during the season.