Clare Egan is an American biathlete from Cape Elizabeth in Maine. She was born on the 19th of November 1987. She is part of the US Women’s Relay Team and has taken part in two World Championships. She had three Top 40 points finishes last season and achieved her personal best so far of 16th. This meant that she came 67th in the Total Score at the end of the season an improvement of 29 places from season 2014/15.
Like her Facebook Page: Clare Egan Biathlete
Read her blog: http://lclareegan.blogspot.co.uk
How did you discover biathlon and why did you want to become a biathlete?
When I was 25, I was a slightly bored cross-country skier, questioning whether to continue with the sport. It was perfect timing when US Biathlon’s regional development coach, Algis Shalna, asked if I wanted to learn how to shoot. He is a former Lithuanian biathlete who was part of a gold medal-winning relay team for the Soviet Union. I took him up on his offer because I was inspired by the success of biathletes Hannah Dreissigacker and Susan Dunklee, who, like me, started shooting after university and trained in Craftsbury, Vermont with the Green Racing Project ski team. I had a great experience working with Algis and learning the skills of shooting, so it was a good fit.
You had a really good season last year getting your personal best result of 16th in the Oestersund Sprint. Can you describe that race?
I went into that race with only one goal: to shoot well. I took my time making 10 good shots, and the downhill range approach helped me make that happen. I just wanted to make the pursuit but it was a nice surprise to clean a World Cup race for the first time and get my first top-20.
You also got two great results at your home race in Presque Isle. What was it like competing at home? Did you feel the pressure or did you enjoy it?
I had two great races in Presque-Isle, finishing 32nd in the sprint and then 23rd in the pursuit. I did not feel more pressure than usual, because biathlon is not well known in the US. But I am glad I had the experience of doing a biathlon World Cup in my home country and home state. Even though Presque-Isle is a 6-hour drive from where I grew up, there were some familiar faces in the crowd. My whole team did great that weekend, including Susan’s 2nd place in the sprint, and we were very proud.
Annalise Cook and Hannah Dreissigacker have both retired. How do you think the women’s team will cope with losing two great biathletes?
I really miss Annelies and Hannah even more than I thought I would. It is a very different team environment without those two! They lived and trained in Lake Placid, where our national team is based and where I live. Now that they are not here, I am one of the senior members of the team so I am learning how to be in that role. I miss them not only at training but also outside of training because they are great friends. Now, Susan and I are joined on the national team by two talented biathletes, Maddie Phaneuf and Joanne Reid, both of whom have already raced World Cups, so I have no doubt that our team will continue to move forward and improve, following in the footsteps of Hannah and Annelies.
What did you learn about yourself last season? Are you working on anything specific that you want to improve for the coming season?
I put a lot of pressure on myself, so I am working on staying relaxed and focussing on the positive aspects of each performance. In terms of specific biathlon skills I am working on my standing shooting and physical strength.
What are your goals for this season?
I want to consistently make the pursuits and score World Cup points. I would also like to qualify for a mass start!
Who has been the biggest inspiration or supporter of your biathlon career and why?
I think Algis Shalna, my first biathlon coach, is the person most responsible for where I am now. I learned so much from him even though we only worked together for one year. I wrote everything down in a little book that I travel with all winter so I can remember the most important basic lessons he taught me.
You sang in a biathlonworld video last season with Lowell and Jean-Gui. Have you always sung? Are you replacing Gabriela and will we see more of your singing next season?!
Gabriela was a little busy winning the overall World Cup title! I was just her substitute. I love singing and playing music with other people so I am always ready for the next video. I learned many instruments growing up… I don’t do anything super well, but I can do a little bit of everything.
Do you have a favourite race (sprint, pursuit etc.)? Which is it and why?
I like anything that is head-to-head, so pursuits and relays are my favorite so far. I hope to do a mass start one day because I think that would be my favorite.
Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?
Andrea Henkel Burke!!! She is a great athlete, a great person and a great mentor. We are so lucky to have her living in Lake Placid.
Does your rifle have a name?
She is called Rifey.
Describe yourself in three words.
outgoing, energetic, pig-lover
Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Everybody is great
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Johannes Thingnes Boe’s pink rifle
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Belarus 2015 World Championships
Favourite shooting range: Ostersund, because the approach is downhill!
Lucky bib number: 11
Best use of the IBU Athlete Guidebook: checking out who is single, hot and has interesting hobbies.
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Stefani Popova (BUL) and Amanda Lightfoot (GB)
Best dancers on the World/IBU Cup: 1st Place: Team Manager from Kazakstan (AMAZING!!!), 2nd Place (tie): Lithuanian biathletes Gabriele Lescinskaite and Vytautas Strolia.
Best World Cup food: dense hot chocolate available in Italy and Slovenia
Friendliest Wax Tech: Gregoire Deschamps
Favourite song on stadium playlist: “Walking on sunshine”
Most annoying song on stadium playlist: “Hey baby I wanna know if you’ll be my girl”
Best thing about being a biathlete: Having the opportunity to represent the best side of my country, when the world often only sees the worst.
(Please note Clare added some of her own quick fire questions here! If only all the biathletes were so conscientious!:-)
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