20-for-20 with Grace Gilliland

FasterSkierMarch 2, 2018
American biathlete Grace Gilliland away from biathlon. (Courtesy photo)

In an effort to showcase the North Americans competing at this week’s International Biathlon Union (IBU) 2018 Youth and Junior World Championships in Otepää, Estonia, we asked those qualifying athletes several questions about themselves — actually, we had them fill in the blanks. Here we have 18-year-old Grace Gilliland, who is representing the United States at her second World Youth Championships.

On Friday, Gilliland placed 55th in the youth women’s 6 k sprint, meeting her goal of qualifying for Sunday’s pursuit. She also finished 84th in Monday’s 10 k individual.


“My full name is Grace Gilliland, but you can call me Grace.

I was born and raised in Eagle River, Alaska, and I learned to ski at age 2.

I spent the time between World Youth/Junior trials and Worlds racing at the IBU Junior Cup and Junior Open European Champs.

The scariest workout I did in the last training year to prepare for this was doing hill bounding intervals on a loop where a Momma moose with two calves were, and the mom charged one of my teammates.

One thing I’m working on this season to improve my biathlon is shooting with more accuracy.

This is my first time in Estonia and 6th time racing internationally, and so far it’s been a lot of fun. 

One difference I’ve noticed between Estonia and the United States is the houses in Estonia are a lot smaller than in the U.S.

Grace Gilliland on the shooting range. (Courtesy photo)

One of the things I’m most excited about for World Youth/Junior Championships in Otepää is getting to see the biathlon venue, and ski new trails.

One race I’m especially targeting there is the Sprint race, so that I can qualify for the Pursuit.

Watching the Olympics in the lead up to my own races was exciting. One of my favorite moments of the Games was watching Jessie and Kikkan win the team sprint. I want to be like Kikkan Randall, because she is very dedicated to her sport and passing on the love for her sport to the next generation.

At Worlds, I really hope I can chat/make friends with a girl from Greenland and ask her if she remembered my team from Alaska that raced at Arctic Winter Games with her.

My favorite thing at the breakfast where we are staying is muesli.

Before this trip, if you said “Estonia”, the first thing I’d think of would have been everything I was told about how amazing the venue was.

Now that I’m here, I’m pretty sure something I’ll always remember will be how long and steep the hill is leaving the biathlon range. 

If I had a totally free day here and didn’t have to worry about race fitness or training, I’d spend it exploring the town and playing in the snow.

The best way to follow me on social media is on Instagram @grace_eva99.”


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