When you look at the US men’s team there is a clear trend. The team is getting filled with young guys who are eager to work hard and climb to the top. Last winter, they already won the Junior World Championships Bronze medal and now, with Campbell Wright joining the team, there is hope for more.
Base training with a bit of intensity
The training season is in full swing. As we call the US team head coach Armin Auchentaller, he is on his way to Lake Placid to join the team camp. ”I was supposed to fly yesterday but the flight got cancelled. I am happy to join the team today in Lake Placid where we have a camp with the Canadians. We are trying to collaborate with them as much as possible over the next few weeks.”
At this time, the team is focused on gaining the hours and doing a lot of baseline training. ”There is also some intensity but right now the focus is on building the basic level. For shooting we are trying to find what is best for each athlete and so far, it has worked well.”
After July’s camp, the team will have three more camps, they’ll be back in Lake Placid in September, go to Utah in October, and then move to Europe in November. ”We will do a camp in Vuokatti, Finland from the beginning of November until the World Cup season starts.”
When we discuss last season, Auchentaller points out that there were a lot of retirees at the end of season 2021/22. ”We had a couple of big names who retired (like Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, Leif Nordgren, and a couple of others), so it was a bit of a transition season. The rookies, however, did well in the IBU Cup and showed their potential. There is a good aura in the men's team, and I hope we can improve even more.”
”For next season, I simply hope we can raise the level step-by-step and go from there. We still need to learn a lot and continue our development. I see good things and motivation in the training. There is a lot of commitment within the team to do better and work hard.”
One of the athletes who showed his potential last season was Maxime Germain. He got to his first IBU Cup flower ceremony in Brezno-Osrblie (SVK) and also took home a sprint bronze medal from the Junior World Championships. ”I finished my season really fulfilled and wanting more. I personally thought I had the perfect results, which would motivate and push me in my ongoing career.”
Both Auchentaller and Germain bring up the team spirit. ”The young guys all have an incredible drive and we all work together towards the same goal. We also have the experienced athletes on the team who lead and influence the next generation of the US biathlon,” Germain tells.
”People should cheer for us because we are still kind of the underdogs but with the willpower to succeed and be on the podium at some point. We are a fun team!” Auchentaller sums up.
Newest member of the US team - Campbell Wright
The Kiwi, who won the Junior World Championships sprint last winter in Shchuchinsk (KAZ), bringing the first-ever medal for New Zealand, announced his transition to the US team this summer.
”The main reason I changed to the US is the incredible support system they have in place around the athletes. I was already training with them last season and I got to know the guys well. It is a privilege to train with them as they are motivated and everyone is trying their hardest every day,” Wright says.
Auchentaller is also pleased to have a new member on the team. ”Campbell’s support will be great for the team. I want to thank New Zealand’s cooperation with this project, they made the transition easy. Campbell is already adopted by our team and brings a lot of positive spirit.”
There will be new challenges for Campbell Wright next season as he will try a new competition for the first time – the relay! ”I’ve never done a relay and I am more than excited. I think the format really suits my strengths as an athlete. My other goals for the upcoming season are to improve and keep moving forward.”
Soon both Campbell and Maxime will head to New Zealand for some snow training. ”Since I’m missing winter already, we will soon be leaving for snow training in New Zealand!” Germain says excitedly. He will also be posting about the travels on his Youtube channel, so the fans can join the fun.
Season highlight coming up in March
Next winter, the BMW IBU World Cup circuit will travel overseas to Soldier Hollow (USA) and Canmore (CAN), where the two last events of the season will take place. Armin Auchentaller is hopeful that this will create a spark in the US, to get more people excited about the sport of biathlon.
”We are looking forward to the World Cup in Soldier Hollow. It will bring awareness to the ski world and we hope that with that we have some more visibility. It is nice for the biathlon family to have competitions in different locations. It’s great that we are traveling to the US at the end of the season, so you get jetlag only once. I hope we get a lot of people excited to watch more Biathlon in the US,” Auchentaller smiles.
”I’ve heard it will be as big as the Super Bowl,” Germain says with a smile on his face. ”The course there is nice and I have no doubt that the weather will be fabulous!”
Photos: Reichert, Yevenko, Stancik, US Biathlon