The new U.S. Biathlon staff members gather at Lake Placid (l to r: Michael Greis, Tim Burke, Armin Auchentaller and Danika Frisbie)
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (May 1, 2018) -- U.S. Biathlon is pleased to announce the addition of two new national team coaches. Armin Auchentaller returns to the U.S. team after coaching the Swiss women’s biathlon team for several years. The Italian comes from the Antholz valley famous for hosting a World Cup every year and being a major biathlon center. German Olympic champion Michael Greis also worked for the Swiss biathlon team and joins the U.S. Team as the men's head coach. The two head coaches arrived Monday at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center with U.S. Biathlon Chief of Sport Bernd Eisenbichler for a tour of the facilities and to meet with athletes and staff.
"I'm looking forward to being back," Auchentaller said. "Coming back to the U.S. team feels like being home. I hope we'll have a really strong team together and be successful in the World Cup and at the World Championships."
Auchentaller's hometown of Antholz, Italy, will be playing host to the IBU World Championships in 2020, providing a not-too-distant target for the new head coach.
"2020 will be a really great championship in Antholz and, of course, I want to succeed there with the U.S. team."
'I'm glad to be here in Lake Placid," added Greis. "First impressions are great here and I'm really looking forward to working with the men's team. We have a small team but a talented team and we will push the limits."
Also starting their work in May are two new members of the sport development staff: four-time Olympian Tim Burke as athlete development manager and Danika Frisbie as sport program manager.
As the athlete development manager, Burke, who officially starts work on May 21, is responsible for leading efforts to increase the quality of training and performance for developing athletes and clubs across the U.S., including youth and junior elite athletes, post-collegiate athletes, and existing and aspiring coaches and program leaders. Burke is the main interface between USBA and regional coordinators and clubs, facilitating stronger collaboration in creating more competitive opportunities for developing athletes. He will work closely with Frisbie to focus USBA initiatives and resources on strategic development goals.
Just a month after retiring from a two-decade-long career that saw him wear the yellow bib and win a world championship silver medal, Burke is motivated by the opportunity before him.
"I'm very excited to have the opportunity to pass on the knowledge that I gained during my biathlon career," he said. "As an athlete, you are often quite focused on your own training and racing schedule. Now I have the perfect chance to 'pay it forward.' I am motivated to get more athletes involved with biathlon and to give those athletes everything necessary to reach their full potential."
As sport program manager, Frisbie is responsible for promoting the sport of biathlon by supporting development of programs and events to increase athlete/coach participation and engagement in the sport. She will also be responsible for sport education resources, organization of domestic racing events and festivals, and establishing regular communications to members, athletes, and coaches. Frisbie will also serve as a coaching assistant supporting national and development team training, and will work on a daily basis with National Team staff, including Burke, to plan and execute strategic development goals.
"I think interest in biathlon and nordic skiing in America is at an all-time high," said Frisbie, who competed in biathlon as a junior and has held various coaching positions since, including being the U.S. Biathlon coach intern since June 2017. "It's a real privilege to be asked to join the team at this time and begin working towards increasing opportunities for participation and competition in this sport over the next four years.”
"I'm very excited for the new teams starting their jobs today," said Eisenbichler. "With Armin Auchentallar we have a coach coming back who's worked five years with us from 2009-2014. He's done a really good job with the Swiss women's team and we think he is the absolute right person for our women's team to develop them further. Michael Greis was a super successful athlete and will greatly help our young men's team develop in the coming years. Combined with the additions of Tim Burke and Danika Frisbie who will focus their efforts on the development side, there are exciting times to come for U.S. Biathlon."