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Meet The 2022 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team

By Karen Price | Jan. 09, 2022, 10:34 p.m. (ET)

The lone Winter Olympic sport not making its debut in Beijing in which the United States is still seeking its first medal is biathlon. 

U.S. Biathlon now has selected the eight athletes who will try to make that happen.

The final three members of the team, which is comprised of four women and four men, were announced Sunday when Leif Nordgren was named to his third Olympic team, Joanne Reid her second and Deedra Irwin her first. They join five athletes who were previously nominated: Susan Dunklee, Sean Doherty, Jake Brown, Paul Schommer and Claire Egan.

Here is a look at the eighth biathletes who will compete for Team USA in February:

Women

Susan Dunklee

Susan Dunklee celebrates at the flower ceremony after winning silver in the women's 7.5 kilometer sprint at the IBU Biathlon World Championships on Feb. 14, 2020 in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy.

 

Dunklee has enjoyed a stellar career, one that she has already announced will come to an end after this season.

The 35-year-old from Craftsbury, Vermont, became the first American woman to win a world championship medal in an individual event in 2017, taking silver in the mass start, and in 2020 won silver in the sprint.

She qualified for Beijing, her third Olympic team, back in March 2021. No matter what happens in Beijing, her impact won’t be limited to her performance on the snow. Dunklee recently became an athlete ambassador to the International Biathlon Union and will be working to improve gender equity. This spring, she will begin a new job as director of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center’s running program.

Clare Egan

Clare Egan looks on during the women's 7.5 kilometer sprint during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.

 

Like Dunklee, Egan qualified for Beijing last season and has already said that this will be her last competing for Team USA.

The 35-year-old has been to one Olympics and six world championships, and, also like Dunklee, has been influential in the sport. Last year, Egan joked that the top veteran athletes on the IBU circuit should get a gray bib the same way that overall leaders get a yellow bib and the top under-25 athletes get a blue bib. That turned into the creation of a silver bib, knitted by Dunklee over the 2020 holidays, and it was presented for the first time at the end of last season.

A former high school and college athlete in cross-country running, track and skiing, she made her World Cup biathlon debut in 2015. She also speaks five languages and is chair of the IBU’s athletes committee. 

Joanne Reid

Joanne Reid competes during the Women 7.5 km Sprint Competition at the IBU World Championships Biathlon Antholz-Anterselva on Feb. 14, 2020 in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy.

 

The 29-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin, will be enjoying her second Olympic experience after finishing 22nd in the women’s 15-kilometer individual event in 2018.

She started in biathlon in 2015 after winning an NCAA cross-country skiing championship while at the University of Colorado. She comes from strong winter sports bloodlines, as the daughter of 1980 Olympic bronze speedskating bronze medalist Beth (Heiden) Reid and the niece of five-time Olympic gold medalist and speedskating legend Eric Heiden.

She also earned her undergraduate degree from CU in applied mathematics and a graduate degree in engineering, and said the American West is her favorite place in the world.

Deedra Irwin

Deedra Irwin competes in the IBU World Cup Women's 7.5 km Sprint Competition at Biathlon Stadion on Dec. 10, 2021 in Hochfilzen, Austria.

 

Irwin is the lone woman on the U.S. team making her Olympic debut.

So far this season the 29-year-old from Pulaski, Wisconsin, has had the best three performances of her career on the world cup circuit, including a 36th-place finish last month in Austria and a 15th-place finish out of 110 in the 7.5-kilometer sprint in Sunday’s IBU world cup event.

She competed for Michigan Tech University in Nordic skiing, cross-country running and track and came to biathlon after attending a talent identification camp at Lake Placid in 2017. Like Doherty and Nordgren, Irwin is a member of the Vermont National Guard. She serves as a human resource specialist.

Men

Jake Brown

Jake Brown competes during the men's 10 kilometer sprint at the BMW IBU Biathlon World Cup on Dec. 10, 2021 in Hochfilzen, Austria.

 

Brown, 29, was a longtime endurance athlete, even winning an NCAA Division III men’s cross-country running title with St. Olaf College in Minnesota in 2013, but the only time he had shot a gun before arriving at a U.S. Biathlon Development Camp was at a Boy Scout camp.

That didn’t matter after he broke the record on the uphill run test and proved not only did he have the patience and desire to learn the sport, but also the aerobic capacity needed to thrive.

The 29-year-old from St. Paul, Minnesota, has now been to three world championships, with a 12th-place finish in the sprint last year in Slovenia, and he qualified for his first Olympic team in November following the men’s 20-kilometer world cup race in Oestersund, Sweden. 

Paul Schommer

Paul Schommer competes during the men's 10 kilometer sprint at the BMW IBU Biathlon World Cup on Jan. 16, 2020 in Ruhpolding, Germany.

 

Like Brown, Schommer is 29 and qualified after the 20-kilometer world cup race in Oestersund back in November, and he will also be making his Olympic debut.

Schommer started cross-country skiing growing up in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he competed on his high school club team. That led to a trip to the junior national championships and then college at St. Scholastica in Minnesota, where he was introduced to biathlon.

He came close to making the team in 2018, but being ill during the Olympic Trials didn’t help his case. Finishing a career-best 22nd in Oestersund did, however, and Schommer’s longtime dream is now becoming reality. 

Sean Doherty

Sean Doherty competes in the IBU World Cup Men's 10 km Sprint Competition at Biathlon Stadion on Dec. 10, 2021 in Hochfilzen, Austria.

 

Despite being just 26 years old, Doherty was named to his third Olympic team after winning the sprint and pursuit races at the U.S. Biathlon Olympic Trials in Arber, Germany, this month.

He was a star of the sport at a young age, competing at the Youth Olympic Games in 2012 and winning a gold and two silver medals at the IBU Junior World Championships in 2013, becoming the first U.S. biathlete to ever win three individual medals at a junior or senior world championship event.

The Center Conway, New Hampshire, native made his Olympic debut in 2014 as the youngest member of the team and he was the fifth biathlete named to this year’s team. He is also a member of the U.S. National Guard biathlon team.

Leif Nordgren

Leif Nordgren competes in the IBU Biathlon World Cup Men's 10 km Sprint on Dec. 14, 2018 in Hochfilzen, Austria.

 

The 32-year-old is headed to his third Olympic Games after finishing as the top American at both of this weekend’s IBU World Cup sprint races.

The Hinesburg, Vermont, resident is an avid outdoorsman, having also lived in Colorado and Minnesota while he was growing up. After finding a love of skiing in Colorado, it was in Minnesota where he followed his sister into biathlon.

Nordgren joined the Vermont National Guard in 2019 in order to help set up his future after retiring from biathlon competition, and he is currently an aviations specialist with the long-term goal of becoming a pilot. His best finish at the Olympics was 44th in the sprint in Sochi in 2014.

 

Alternates

Vasek Cervenka was named the men’s alternate and Hallie Grossman the women’s alternate.

The biathlon competition begins Feb. 5 at the Hualindong Ski Resort in Zhangjiakou, China, about 140 miles northwest of Beijing.

Karen Price

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Susan Dunklee

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Clare Egan

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Deedra Irwin

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Joanne Reid

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