Biathlon, a test of speed and skill, is the winter sport which combines the exhilaration and endurance of cross-country skiing with the precision and control of marksmanship shooting. On Saturday Jan 19, the 72nd RCACC cadet corps’ biathlon team headed up to Whistler Olympic Park to participate in the Vancouver Coastal/Fraser River Zone cadet biathlon competition and test their skills against the elements, the clock, and over sixty other cadets. The result? An impressive win of three 3rdplace podium finishes, two fourth place finishes, and one fifth. But, more importantly, everyone on the team demonstrated acts of both physical and mental determination, persistence, leadership and team spirit. Here’s a short video summary of the day – enjoy!
[PHOTO L to R: MCpl C. Haussmann, Sgt J. Leong, Sgt C. Thomson, Sgt T. Dimalanta, Sgt E. Butterfield, Cpl I. Kirmiziyesil, Lt. G. Menzies (Coach), MCpl V. Ching / Credit: A. Haussmann]
While many rightly see biathlon as a very Canadian sport, its origins extend back to Norway where it was once a form of military training. Over time the activity gained popularity among winter sport enthusiasts and first became associated with the Winter Olympic Games in 1924, when it was introduced as “military patrol”. The event was similar to modern-day biathlon but also included a patrol component where four-man teams (including one officer) went on a 30km ski race as a unit and concluded with a shooting contest which awarded time bonuses for every target hit.
[PHOTO: “Military patrol” athletes at the 1924 Olympics, Chamonix, Switzerland / Credit: IOC]
For our cadets, the challenge was to ski three loops of just over 1.25km each and to shoot two sets of five-target targets located 50 metres away, using the .22 cal Anschutz biathlon rifle. (Thankfully, no officers were required to ski with the team!) Participating in the cadet biathlon program is an excellent way for youth to develop physical strength, endurance, and skill as well as being an excellent way to develop personal qualities such as confidence and resilience under pressure. All costs are covered by the cadet program.
We were fortunate indeed that Cdr Brad Henderson, Commanding Officer of Regional Cadet Support Unit (Pacific) attended the event and gave an inspirational morning address before cheering athletes on in the competition and officiating in the medal presentation ceremony.
[PHOTO: Cdr Henderson / Credit: BC Cadets]
New team members and new cadets are always welcome. If you’re thinking about joining cadets, here’s how to join.