Ostersund, Sweden. Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis, MN) is one of the two â€œrookiesâ€ on the US Biathlon Team who will start in the Sprint competitions at the Biathlon World Championships here on Saturday.
US Biathlon Coach Mikael Lofgren announced at a team meeting last night that Compton and Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, NY) will get their first—ever starts at the World Cup level in the Women’s 7.5K Sprint. The two athletes on the ten-person team who did not get a start in the Sprint are junior athletes, Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) and Laura Spector (Lenox, MA) who will both start in one of the other competitions next week.
Both Compton and Johnson trained under National Development Coach James Upham this year at the US Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY. Johnson is a veteran of several seasons on the European Cup circuit.
Conversely, Compton is a first year biathlete, having taken up the sport last May. She came to biathlon with impeccable credentials in cross-country skiing, which go back to her Junior Olympic title in the 10K Skate in 1999 all the way through making the US team for the Nordic World Championships Team in 2007 and winning the 2007 Super Tour. On New Years Day, 2008, she won the US 5K cross-country title, adding to here credentials as an accomplished skier.
For the 27-year old Compton she has literally been on the fast track to the World Championships here. During the summer and fall, she trained mostly with the Development Team, but attended two camps with National Team Coaches Mikael Lofgren and Per Nilsson.
For the past two weeks, she prepared for the competitions here with the National Team in SollefteÃ¥, Sweden. Nilsson commented on the progress that she has made to date, â€œCaitlin has come a long way for a novice biathlete. She has learned the fundamentals of shooting very well. Her prone shooting is excellent, especially for her short time in the sport. Still, she has a lot of learning to do in areas like how fast to approach the shooting range and making transitions. She needs more time and experience which she will get here.â€
Lofgren agreed on Compton’s progress, adding, â€œCaitlin has worked very hard to get here and is very eager to learn more about the fine points of biathlon and shooting.â€
Nilsson continued, â€œIt is possible for her to shoot clean in prone on a good day now. However, standing is still hard for her, but she is working hard to get better and that is the most important thing now.â€
In the following video, Caitlin Compton talks briefly about the difference between biathlon and cross-country and her expectations for the World Championships here.
Joining Compton and Johnson on the starting line in the Women’s Sprint at 11 AM, CET (5 AM EST) on Saturday will be World Championships and Olympic veterans Lanny and Tracy Barnes (Durango, CO).
Live streaming video coverage of the Biathlon World Championships as well as Biathlon World Cup competitions for the remainder of the season, and archived highlights, are available by clicking the athlete photo at the top of the news column at www.usbiathlon.org.