US Biathlon has recognized eight athletes and one coach for their standout performances in the abbreviated 2019-20 season. The awards were presented during a virtual ceremony on Feb. 5.
2020 Male Athlete of the Year – Leif Nordgren (Hinesburg, Vt.)
Nordgren enjoyed a career-best performance in the men’s 20-kilometer individual race at the 2020 IBU World Championships in Antholz, Italy. The two-time Olympian was the only competitor in the 104-man field to shoot a perfect 20-for-20, propelling him to and eighth-place finish. Nordgren’s previous career-best was a 16th-place finish in the same event at the 2019 IBU World Championship.
2020 Female Athlete of the Year – Susan Dunklee (Craftsbury, Vt.)
Dunklee captured the second world championship medal of her career, and her second silver medal, during the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint at the 2020 IBU World Championships in Antholz, Italy. She remains the only American woman to win an individual medal at a world championship, and the only American with multiple world championship medals.
2020 Junior Male Athlete of the Year – Vasek Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minn.)
Cervenka won the first IBU medal of his career with a silver-medal performance in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint at the IBU Junior Cup in Arber, Germany. He was one of only six athletes in the field of 93 to shoot clean. (Photo credit: Jeff Leopold)
2020 Junior Female Athlete of the Year – Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt.)
Levins knocked down 18 of 20 targets to place 24th in the junior women’s 10-kilometer pursuit at the 2020 IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. She registered two other top-30 finishes at the event, placing 28th in both the junior individual and junior sprint.
2020 Youth Male Athlete of the Year – Maxime Germain (Anchorage, Alaska)
Germain ended a four-year medal drought for the U.S. team at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships when he claimed the bronze medal in the men’s 7.5-kilometer sprint in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. It marked the first American medal in the yearly event since Sean Doherty captured gold, silver and bronze in 2016.
2020 Youth Female Athlete of the Year – Helen Wilson (Eagle River, Alaska)
Wilson was the top American female in the youth division at the 2020 IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, highlighted by her 51st-place finish in the pursuit.
2020 Charlie Kellogg Award – Max Durtschi (Ketchum, Idaho) and Kelsey Dickinson (Winthrop, Wash.)
The Charlie Kellogg Award is given annually to developing athletes who distinguish themselves through outstanding progress over the season. The award includes a training grant of $1,000 made possible by Michael Martin and the Kellogg family to honor Charlie’s legacy as biathlon's first U.S. national champion and his extraordinary leadership as a Board Member who cared deeply about developing athletes.
Durtschi raced to a best-ever 18th-place result at the IBU Cup this year and added several other top-25 results. He is considered a huge asset to the team with his attitude, drive and dedication. Dickinson had an amazing start to the season placing second at IBU Cup 1. Despite battling injury, she kept a positive outlook and continued to drive toward her goals in the face of adversity.
2020 Coach of the Year – Mike Gibson
Mike Gibson was an integral part of US Biathlon’s most successful IBU Cup season in 2019-20. A multi-talented coach, Gibson is willing to step in to help fix a rifle, test skis, be behind the scope, or on the course. In his new role coaching in Craftsbury, Vt., he has been integral in helping American athletes during an unprecedented summer of training. Gibson helped plan and implement the lone camp that was able to be staged during the COVID-19 restrictions and has also taken a lead in coaching the National Team athletes who were unable to see their personal coaches during pandemic training.