October 28, 2013, CANMORE, Alta. (ISN) —Canada’s top biathletes will have the opportunity to compete on home snow thanks to the International Biathlon Union’s (IBU) decision to select Canmore, Alta. as one of two North American stops for the 2016 World Cup season, Biathlon Canada announced on Monday.
Outside hosting the world at Whistler Olympic Park for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and in 2009 for a test event in advance of the 2010 Games, Canada’s senior biathletes have not raced on home snow since 1999 in Valcartier, Que. The world-leading Canmore Nordic Centre, which has hosted four World Cup series of cross-country ski events since a nearly $30-million restoration project was completed in 2005, has not welcomed the world’s best biathletes since 1997.
“Staging an event of this magnitude is a tremendous opportunity for our younger athletes to gain invaluable experience on the international level, and to exposing more young Canadians to the excitement and challenge of biathlon competition at its best,” said Stephen Hale, president, Biathlon Canada, who added that Maine, U.S.A. will be the other North American stop on the 2016 calendar.
“Hosting a World Cup at home aligns itself with Biathlon Canada’s long-term strategy of providing more Canadian athletes with a competitive advantage to take on the world and deliver elite performances.”
The premiere biathlon circuit on the globe, the Canmore stop will be one of nine World Cup events on the 2016 racing calendar. Canmore will have an opportunity to prepare itself for the main event, while also playing host to an IBU Cup, a feeder series to the World Cup, in 2015.
“While we have loads of work ahead of us, Canmore is a Nordic hotbed that has consistently staged successful World Cup Nordic events on one of the best venues in the world, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase our sport, and a new generation of athletes, in front of all Canadians for the first time here in nearly 20 years,”said Ken Davies, president, Biathlon Alberta. “From the facilities and services available for athletes, to the course layout, to the organization of all major events held here, the Canmore Nordic Centre, along with the event volunteers and officials, knows how to get things done and we look forward to the challenge of putting on another Nordic festival.”
Biathlon Canada has been leading the charge to convincing the IBU to bring a World Cup event back to Canada by hosting the 2009 Youth and Junior World Championships, and the IBU Cup in 2012.
“Biathlon remains one of the only winter sport competitions that takes place almost exclusively in Europe,” said Canmore resident, Zina Kocher, who is a two-time Olympian and only Canadian woman to win a World Cup in the last three decades. “Not only does exposing the world’s best to our country inspire young kids to get involved in sport, but there for sure is a competitive advantage that comes with racing at home. We hope Canadians will rally behind what promises to be an exciting event.”
The event will be held in February of 2016. The IBU will release details of the specific competition dates for men and women in the coming months.
Biathlon Canada is the governing body for biathlon in the country, and oversees the Canadian Championships, Eastern and Western Canadian Championships, and North American Cups held in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Millennium Geomatics Ltd., Apogée Sports, Kama, Roeckl Sports , Lapua, USANA, Nordic Marksman Inc, and Adidas Eyewear – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Biathlon Canada’s mandate is to provide national level programs for the continuous development of biathlon athletes from the grassroots to the elite level. For more information on Biathlon Canada, please visit us at www.biathloncanada.ca on the Internet.