Selina Gasparin – finding the next shooting stars

What would biathlon in Switzerland be without Selina Gasparin? It's a difficult question to answer. Nevertheless, the eldest of the three Gasparin sisters stands for biathlon in her home country like few others. She was the first Swiss woman to win a World Cup race and a medal at the Olympic Games. Even after her career, she continues to shape her sport in Switzerland.

Selina Gasparin’s days are long. Her mission: to guide the next generation of biathletes in Switzerland. As head coach for young talents at Swiss-Ski, she is helping to shape the future of her association. A task that demands a lot from her. She is the link between clubs, regional associations, athletes, parents and schools.

“I have to take all perspectives into account and combine the different needs,” says Selina Gasparin. At the same time, she also emphasizes: “My job is exciting. I can help shape and change things in the long term. That inspires me every day.”

The main thing that has changed since she ended her active career is that she spends a lot more time in the office by the laptop and phone instead of being in the biathlon stadium herself. “I’m not a coach who looks after the athletes and stands by the binoculars. That’s perhaps a little confusing about my job title. I work in the background,” explains the 40-year-old. And the mother of two also rarely gets to do sport anymore. “I do miss that. But life changes and that’s a good thing.”

Benefiting from experience

As head coach for young athletes, Selina Gasparin is responsible for selecting athletes and scouting talent. Before she took up the position in February, she worked with a sports scientist to develop a concept that would show an athlete’s path from their first contact with their home club through to the world elite.

“For example, it’s about how many hours of training are needed at what age, when to switch from air rifle to small rifle caliber or the role of the coach, equipment and the environment. Basically, the big picture that is then customized for each athlete. In Switzerland, such concepts already exist for many other sports, but not for biathlon.”

Having competed in biathlon herself for 18 years, she knows every step of the system. The strategy is intended to help coaches in the clubs to develop training plans.

World Championships on the doorstep

When the World Championships take place in Lenzerheide in February 2025, SelinaGasparin will hear the atmosphere in the stadium right on her doorstep. She lives just a two-minute walk from the arena. In order to spread the excitement among kids and teenagers in the canton of Graubünden, she is supporting a project that brings biathlon into schools. “We go into PE lessons and bring laser rifles with us. That way, every child meets biathlon. We also offer courses for teachers, who can then borrow laser stations and use them to organize sports lessons. The children can then do a taster session at the club afterwards."

Selina Gasparin and her team from Swiss Ski want to get more children and young people interested in biathlon and lay the foundations for success in the coming years. Many children are already enthusiastic about shooting after the taster training, and now it is also her task to motivate the children so that they also enjoy running training in the clubs. She is creating the structures for this so that good co-operation is possible at all levels. So that there will be even more World Cup victories and Olympic medals for Swiss biathletes in the future.

Selina Gasparin also supports the IBU's "Biathlon for All" program. This project aims to inspire and encourage kids and youths to practice biathlon by giving them sustainable, safe equipment and a socially positive activities toolkit that can be used across the world. With the 'Biathlon for All' program, IBU supports selected NFs with laser rifle equipment (rifles, targets, supporters, mats) to deliver their action plan for kids' and youths' recruitment and training.

Photos: IBU I Manzoni, privat

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