Eric de Nys Photo skitrax.com
CANMORE, Alta.—Eric de Nys will look to build on the substantial advancements Biathlon Canada has made over the last Olympic quadrennial in developing its athletes into medal winners as the organization welcomed the former national cross-country ski coach as its new high-performance director on Friday.
With rich experience deeply rooted in the Nordic sports – from coaching and athlete development to creating a positive team environment at major international competitions including the Olympic Winter Games and program logistics – the Canmore, Alta. resident joins a high-performance environment with Biathlon Canada that he is very familiar with. Assuming his first position as high-performance director, De Nys filled a variety of coaching responsibilities for 10 years with Cross Country Ski de fond Canada including World Cup Team Women’s Coach and Senior Development Team Coach.
“Eric is an extraordinary talent whose athletic background, coaching acumen and leadership skills will be core to Biathlon Canada’s continued focus on podium performances,” said Andy Holmwood, General Manager, Biathlon Canada, who added de Nys’ experience as a team leader at major multi-sport Games, and knowledge of working with international athletes at all levels of the long term athlete development system will prove invaluable. “Eric has experienced the sport environment at both ends of the spectrum: from struggling to deliver results to celebrating medal-winning performances. He understands the importance of being a detailed strategic planner in positioning high-performance biathletes for success.”
Since leaving Cross-Country Ski de fond Canada following the 2014 Games in Sochi, De Nys has been head coach of the Winsport Junior Cross-Country Academy, which focused on guiding young athletes from junior skiers and feeding them into the National Development Centres. De Nys was responsible for all aspects of program delivery including: goal setting; monitoring daily training; budget and fundraising; and managing support services.
“Biathlon Canada has worked hard under limited budgets to solidify its position amongst some of the top country’s in the world, and as a result, now has a strong core of elite athletes that are hungry to win,” said De Nys. “I’m honoured to have the opportunity to work with this exceptional group of athletes and coaches. I am excited to build on the many pieces to the puzzle that are already in place to help guide our program back to the Olympic podium. This presents a great challenge and one I’m excited to take on.”
An athlete for most of his life, De Nys has coached and managed cross-country ski programs from the club level in his native British Columbia and Alberta. He has represented Canada as a coach and technician at three Olympic Winter Games, and countless World Championships – both at the elite and development levels.
De Nys will develop an athlete centred, coach driven high-performance program from the grassroots to elite level that is sustainable and committed to solidifying Canada as a medal potential nation in the sport in Pyeongchang 2018 and beyond.
The program is well on its way to putting the Canadians back on the Olympic biathlon podium. Biathlon Canada enjoyed its most successful year on record last season. With Nathan Smith’s silver medal at the World Championships followed by winning his first World Cup race weeks later, Canada’s biathletes including Smith, Brendan Green and Rosanna Crawford have all busted into the top-five last year. Green sprinted to a career-best fifth place finish. Crawford had a fifth, and fourth-place finish to start the season. MeganTandy also rattled of a number of personal bests during the post-Olympic year.