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U.S. Paralympics, U.S. Biathlon to Create First-Ever Paralympic Biathlon Program

Nov. 06, 2008, 6:26 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Today U.S. Paralympics and U.S. Biathlon announced a partnership to create the first Paralympic Biathlon program in the United States. Paralympic biathlon athletes will have the opportunity to train alongside U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team athletes at the U.S. Biathlon Team's resident athlete program at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York.

"This partnership will take Paralympic Biathlon to a new level and provide us with the foundation that we need to expand the sport," said Stacey Wooley, Associate Director of Winter Sports, U.S. Paralympics. "We are very excited to initiate this program with such a strong partner."

The program, with a goal of increasing the number of elite members on the U.S. Paralympics Biathlon National Team, will focus on attracting and supporting young athletes, including visually-impaired individuals as well as injured service men and women. Athletes have already completed a dry-land training camp in Soldier Hollow, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games venue in Heber City, Utah, and will begin on-snow training in mid-November.

Leading the effort for the new program is James Upham, the U.S. Biathlon Team Development Coach and member of the 2006 Olympic Team coaching staff. Upham is based at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. He has coached biathlon and cross country skiing since he retired as a competitive biathlete in the 1990s. Upham's coaching talent was evident in 2006, when six of his athletes qualified for the 2006 Olympic Team.

"Our goal is to stimulate the same level of professionalism in the training of the Paralympic Biathlon Team as we see with our National Team, and James Upham is the perfect coach to move this forward," declared U.S. Biathlon Association Executive Director Max Cobb (New Gloucester, Maine).

For more information about U.S. Paralympics, visit www.usparalympics.org.