Any Army Biatheletes (Ski & Shooters)?

Any old or current Army Biatheletes watching the world cup races on Eurosport? Do think Ole Einar Bjorndalen will pull it of again? Surely the guy has to be the best Biathelete ever – what do reckon?
Not yet in the army and not a biathlete either......... but I've watched it and it looks bloody good fun (if insanely hard work!!). Just wondered what (if any) opportunities there are for army officers to try biathlon?

I imagine that as a YO you would struggle for time to fit anything like this in?

Sounds like a great sport though.
Sorry I can not help you with what Army Biathlon is like now days.

I did it back in the late 80s early 90s when the Army was a lot better financed. Essentially all BAOR units had a Biathlon teams who spent about two to three months (depending on how well you did in races) doing nothing but Biathlon training and racing. Then most units went to Norway for their training camps to learn to ski or improve your technique (if you had done it before) and spent loads on time on 22 ranges with the Biathlon Rifle improving your shooting skills and raced in Austria and Southern Germany. A great sport and the natural sport for the soldier – physical endurance (cross country skiing classic or skating style) with shooting fast and accurately in between this physical endurance. Races ranged from 4K to 10K.

I was a non-com but we had an officer organising the team, he essentially was the team director, running the budget booking the accommodation, booking the instructors and booking the ranges. So officers do get the opportunity but 1. You got to be fit, 2. A good shot and 3. If you’re the officer - a good organiser and budget controller. Most units we trained with and competed against had this structure normally teams were about 6 in number including the officer.

In my day (and I think now) all the Olympic biatheletes were from the military – Patrick Winterton the guy who now commentates on Biathlon on Eurosport was a serving Marine officer and he done the Calgary 1988
Winter Olympics. In my day he was the British team talent scout watching Army and Joint services races for any promising youngsters. Mike Dixon who is his joint commentator was an Army non-com and he done the Sarajevo 1984, Calgary 1988, Albertville 1992, Lillehammer 1994, Nagano 1998 and Salt Lake City 2002 after that he finally hung up his skis.

If you check out the current British Biathlon team

You will note they are all from the Army. I have heard the Marines team, which in my day were the probably one of the best teams do not have a team anymore.

If you like professional sport then go for it.

I think your only problem is you have to get a BAOR posting (I don’t know if BAOR still exists anymore so lets call it a Germany posting), which I presume is unlikely with the Army’s current operational workload and lack of manpower and one officers per team (but then again they not have BAOR unit teams anymore). That said I must admit in my battalion most of the officers opted for the downhill hill ski team and the biathlon team were called the ‘sweaties’ – probably seemed too much like hard work for them so it wasn’t over subscribed by officiers. Keeno non-coms were the real back bone of the teams.

Good luck on joining the Army and if you get in OK I would give it go before you commit yourself because its physically demanding and some of the guys really get into it and take it very very seriously so you need to 100% with it to do it or you will have some upset people on your hands.

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