In June 2023, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) and Biathlon Integrity Unit (BIU) announced the selection of new Athlete Ambassadors for the 2023-2025 period. These ambassadors serve as role models to their peers and the global Biathlon family. They have a powerful platform that can reach a broad community of fans and followers, and their voices can promote a culture that will continue to build trust and confidence in the sport of biathlon and its future.
By serving as Athlete Ambassadors, they will be using their voice to promote a culture that aims to build on the existing trust and confidence in the sport of biathlon. Their work will contribute to ensuring a better world for everyone.
Due to a limited amount of spots per area, the (new) IBU and BIU Athlete Ambassadors for 2023-2025 were chosen based on selection criteria provided upfront:
Julian Eberhard (AUT)
Sebastian Samuelsson (SWE)
Anastasiya Merkushyna (UKR)
Chloe Levins (USA)
Lovro Planko (SLO)
Thierry Langer (BEL)
Jules Burnotte (CAN)
Maya Cloetens (BEL)
Ukaleq Slettemark (GRL)
Jacques Jefferies (FRA)
Alla Ghilenko (MDA)
Titus Clark (GBR)
Kelsey Dickinson (USA)
Regina Ermits (EST)
Ukaleq Slettemark, a new Athlete Ambassador for Sustainability, said,
Sustainability is a passion of mine, and I would like to promote it as much as possible. Biathlon is completely dependent on a future with snow and we have an opportunity to be a role model to other sports.
The future of the programme promises further engagement of the Ambassadors in various meetings and events, providing them with opportunities to speak up and use their voice. The IBU will continue to educate them about its activities and encourage them to promote among their peers and the wider public. They will also be given opportunities to work on their own projects.
The Athlete Ambassador program is a testament to the IBU's commitment to fostering positive change within the sport of biathlon and ensuring a better world for all.
In June 2021, the IBU launched its Pilot Athlete Ambassador programme. 18 biathletes representing 15 different countries have become Athlete Ambassadors to help raise awareness, educate, and support the aims of Biathlon in three key areas of development: Sustainability, Gender Equality and Integrity.
Looking back at those two years, the IBU has facilitated several initiatives ranging from educational sessions and workshops to seminars and conferences, have been key to raising awareness and educating the ambassadors about the strategies and action plans of the IBU. They have also been part of various communication campaigns and have actively participated in meetings and events like the IBSF-IBU Gender Equity Forum or the Sustainability Seminar in Oberhof during the World Championships 2023.
The Sustainability Athlete Ambassador group consisted of seven athletes namely Jules Burnotte (CAN), Alla Ghilenko (MDA), Anika Kozika (CRO), Thierry Langer (BEL), Isabella Moon (AUS), Mirlene Picin (BRA) and Adam Runnalls (CAN).
Jules Burnotte (CAN), said about the programme:
The ambassador program was a good way as an athlete to hear more about what the IBU is doing, and an opportunity to develop certain project ideas.
In those first two years, we were mostly building the role, getting education and practicing communication skills, but now for what is to come, the ambassadors will be able to take on some interesting projects!
The Gender Equality Athlete Ambassador group consisted of six athletes namely Susan Dunklee, USA, Jessica Jislová, CZE, Regina Ermits, EST, Kelsey Dickinson, USA, Titus Clark, GBR and Thomas Bormolini, ITA.
Kelsey Dickinson summarized the Pilot Ambassador Programme, saying,
The IBU Athlete Ambassador Program was an amazing opportunity to be more connected and involved within the Biathlon Family. We collaborated on projects to educate and inform all stakeholders in the IBU to create positive change.
Sebastian Samuelsson shared his thoughts on the program, saying,
The IBU Ambassador program has been a great experience, both when it comes to raising important topics but also with the education that has been offered within the program.