IBU Begins Athlete Ambassador Program
The International Biathlon Union has begun an initiative in part to empower athletes and bring change to the sport. Over the past several years the IBU has been a leader amongst sport federations when it comes to reforming governance.
The initiative, billed as the Athlete Ambassador program leverages the public voice of athletes to promote change. “Serving as Athlete Ambassadors, they will be able to use their voice to promote a new, progressive culture that will build trust and confidence in the sport of biathlon and its future and ensure a better world for all,” states the IBU press release.
Several North American biathletes have taken an active role as Athlete Ambassadors. Susan Dunklee of the U.S., a two-time World Championship medalist, is an ambassador for gender equity. “Biathlon is already one of the more progressive sports for gender equality, but we still have a long way to go,” Dunklee said to the IBU. “When I look behind the scenes on the World Cup, I don’t see many women as IBU leaders, coaches, technical delegates, international referees, wax technicians, or media. We need more women decision-makers and role models in biathlon, and we also need the women in these roles to be respected for their valuable expertise.”
Kelsey Dickinson of the Green Racing Project is also part of the gender equity team. Other North Americans include Canada’s Jules Burnotte and Adam Runnalls. Both are Athlete Ambassadors for sustainability.
Sadie Maubet Bjornsen honored with the Buddy Werner Award
Recently retired U.S. cross-country skier Sadie Maubet Bjornsen was honored with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Buddy Werner Award. The award celebrates Werner, a U.S. Ski Team alpine racer known for his sportsmanship and team-first ethos. Werner died in an avalanche in 1964. Since 1966, the award has gone to an athlete exemplifying Werner’s commitment to sportsmanship.
You can read more about Maubet Bjornsen’s career in our two-part story.
Norway’s Helene Marie Fossesholm Excels in the Saddle
Twenty-year-old Helene Marie Fossesholm won the Norwegian women’s cross-country mountain bike national championships on June 26. Fossesholm won the 26.5-kilometer race by 21.5 seconds. The third-place racer was 3:17.8 minutes back. The following day, Fossesholm placed second, 9.73 seconds behind the winner, in the 9.1 k short track mountain bike race. The young Norwegian also won a bronze at the 2019 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships in the cross-country junior category.
On the ski tracks, Fossesholm came to the World Cup with expectations. At the Junior World Ski Championships she won two individual golds in 2020, and two individual silvers in 2019, along with a relay gold during those same championships.
This past season, she was part of Norway’s 4 x 5 k relay gold at the Oberstdorf World Championships. On the 2021 World Cup, Fossesholm secured seven individual top-10s.