Local Marcus Gore wins youth men division at US Biathlon Championshps | VailDaily.com

Local Marcus Gore wins youth men division at US Biathlon Championshps

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Biathlon skier Marcus Gore competes in December en route to the US Biathlon Championships, where he took gold on Friday. He also earned a silver medal in the pursuit race on Saturday.

Vail — Local Nordic skier Marcus Gore, 16, won gold in the U.S. National Biathlon Championships U19 Youth Men division on Friday in Jericho, Vermont.

Biathlon blends the challenge of cross-country skate skiing and rifle marksmanship into a unique and engaging sport. The excitement of biathlon lies in the unpredictability of the results — a race outcome can change in an instant if a racer misses targets and has to ski several penalty laps or shoots clean to leapfrog ahead.

In the sprint race on Friday, Marcus missed two prone and one standing forcing him to ski only three penalty laps.

"I felt calm and focused that morning," he said. "In the past I've sometimes felt extremely nervous causing me to shoot poorly. I'm really proud of myself for improving my shooting.

"I'm really thankful to my coach Rob Rosser for helping me solidify all that I learned this year to come out with this win," Gore added.

Gore also earned a silver medal in the pursuit race on Saturday which was a 10km ski combined with two bouts of shooting prone and two bouts of shooting standing.

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BIG IN EUROPE

Biathlon is the most watched winter sport in Europe, but has only recently begun to attract greater attention in America. Last month U.S. biathlete Lowell Bailey was the first American ever to earn the title of World Biathlon Champion by winning the 20km individual race at the world championships in Hochfilzen, Austria.

The United States Biathlon Association was founded in 1980 and is the national governing body for Olympic biathlon. The association supports and encourages the development of biathlon in the United States, and aims to prepare athletes for international competition, including the Olympic Winter Games. The association works with biathlon clubs and regional centers around the country to organize training and competition at the grass roots level and staffs and finances the U.S. Biathlon National Team, Development Team and Junior Team.

During the summer, biathletes train and compete the same race formats with roller skiing, running and biking.

ALPINE TO NORDIC TO BIATHLON

Gore was born in Vail and grew up ski racing in the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail program. After several years as an Alpine racer he made the switch to Nordic. While for some this switch would seem drastic, Gore found a new thrill in the many grueling months of hard work leading up to winter race season. He was introduced to biathlon at the annual cross-country ski festival in West Yellowstone.

U.S. Olympic Biathlete and U.S. Biathlon Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator Rob Rosser oversees Gore's biathlon training and competing. Gore will continue to train and compete with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Nordic team and attend Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy.

Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby is home to the closest official biathlon range operated by Colorado Biathlon Club.

"It's worth the drive to practice shooting on an real range," Gore said. "I dry fire every day in my living room but it's not the same. My goal is to qualify for Junior Worlds next winter. I'll be driving to Snow Mountain Ranch a lot this summer."

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