The Calgary Biathlon Racers (CBR) club opened its doors on May 1, 2012 with 14 athletes (a number that is depicted on our logo!) and two coaches. Unlike the vast majority of the Nordic programs in Canada where clubs usually offer both cross country skiing and biathlon components CBR coaches elected to follow a different model , where the program focus is on a single sport… biathlon. This approach to training is modeled somewhat after the Sport School of Olympic Reserve systems of Russia and the Ukraine. At the core of these systems is a development of performance-inspired athletes from a young age and their natural progression to National Junior and Senior teams level.
I have a long list of memorable achievements since joining CBR. These range from winning the Gernot Costera award, being named Alberta male athlete of the year twice in a row, winning 8 national championships in the past 4 years, representing Canada on multiple occasions, to recording consistent top 30 results on the world stage. But despite all of this I think my most memorable achievement would have to be the drive that I have held for the past 8 years to continue chasing my dream and seeing it become a reality which I owe a lot of to CBR.
Not every young individual entering our program is destined to be a high performance athlete and we fully recognize that. In fact, most of the young hopefuls in any non-team sport in Canada never even stay in the sport past high school and of the very small number that does continue in the sport only few make it to the international level. Why focus on performance then you may ask? The answer is simple… to give every athlete an opportunity to have a purpose in their training, a development path to follow that is a bit more than a recreational after-school activity. We only aim to be a quality biathlon avenue for these athletes to walk down, whether it takes them to the World Junior Championship or a provincial race series. Individual athlete development is the foundation of CBR’s training philosophy. It is reflected in the following:
Maria Panfilova, CBR Head Coach