U.S. Biathlon names World Cup biathlete Jake Brown as its Giving Games Ambassador
It’s a rainy day at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center as U.S. Biathlon Team athlete Jake Brown grabs some box lunches to take back to his house mates. With COVID-19, gone are the days of sitting around the dining hall sharing stories with fellow athletes from other sports. But the training goes on, despite the uncertainty of the world.
A Minnesota native who was an All American at Northern Michigan University, Brown is headed into his third season on the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon tour. Brown was named by U.S. Biathlon as its athlete ambassador to Giving Games, a valuable fundraising program across a host of U.S. national governing bodies to support and sustain U.S. sports federations and their athletes on their Olympic journey. As a Giving Games ambassador, he’s a testament to the resiliency of athletes and a fitting representative of a remarkable cause.
For Brown, his sites are still set on the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. But many of his Craftsbury friends are rowers, who are struggling to come to grips with the one-year delay of their Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“Our rowers here at Craftsbury have been training hard all summer without a season at all,” he said. “Some of them have now retired. One girl had taken a year off medical school to give Tokyo 2020 a shot. When it was canceled, she went back to medical school. It’s another year of your life devoted to training and the goal. It’s an incredible opportunity, but it’s also taxing. People are putting their life on hold.”
Brown feels fortunate. He has more time. “I would love to make an Olympic team,” he said. “But I also love doing the sport I do and the training - putting in the day-to-day work. Right now, since we are winter athletes, it feels normal. I don’t feel distracted. I think we can put in the work to have a great season.”
Jake Brown is a world class athlete. In two years on the World Cup, he’s gained valuable experience and knows he’s progressing in his sport. His life is centered around his home at Craftsbury, which supports his living and training, and with U.S. Biathlon, which provides for his training camps (when they can happen again) and his life on the World Cup.
“When I was young, my parents always supported me by paying for equipment,” he recalled. “Even in Lake Placid, my first year out of college, they paid for part of my travel. I am incredibly thankful to Craftsbury to support athletes like me. They have made it possible. With the U.S. Biathlon Team, if we make the World Cup our travel is paid - that is something we often take for granted. To be able to work with internationally renowned coaches is important. For U.S. Biathlon to go out and get those coaches, who have been at the highest level in Europe, to impart their knowledge is invaluable.”
Like most athletes, Brown is good at what he does: training and competing. He knows he needs support. But it’s awkward for him to ask. “I didn’t want to go ask people for money - that felt strange for me,” he said. “There are a lot of great causes in the world. Raising money for my training didn’t feel right.”
Brown is not unlike many athletes, who are humble about their own cause. But the dedication of athletes like him is not unnoticed by those around him and Americans as a whole.
So fundraising projects like The Giving Games become vital to his success and his ability to motivate others. COVID-19 delayed the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But it’s also wreaked havoc with athletes training for Beijing 2022. Training camps have been canceled and there are questions about the season ahead.
In a typical day at Craftsbury, Brown is up with the sun, grabbing a quick breakfast before heading out to the roller ski loop. After that, it’s a few hours on the shooting range - honing in his marksmanship skills. After lunch, it’s time to tend to the community garden. With COVID-19, the athletes are growing as much of their own vegetables as possible. Afternoon projects might include maintenance of mountain bike trails, building biathlon rifle racks or coaching juniors and masters. Then it’s time for strength workouts or working on his rifle.
For U.S. Biathlon athletes like Brown, Giving Games creates a platform for funds to be raised either as a direct donation to a specific sport or general support for all sports which will be equally divided among the participating sports organizations. Fans and supporters can contribute to Giving Games in the following ways:
Take the Giving Games quiz to find the sport that best matches you and donate,
Enter to win one of 10 amazing sweepstakes packages from Omaze
Help set the World Record for most donations made in 24 hours, or
Compete in the Medal of Giving by donating directly to a sport. At the conclusion of Giving Games, each sport will award a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal to the top three donors.
Giving Games will actively raise funds for athletes and their sports organizations during the original window of the Tokyo 2020 Games: July 24 - August 9. In addition to participating in the activations listed above, fans and supporters can also text ‘GIVINGGAMES’ to 243725 or make a donation online. Details can be found at givinggames2020.com.