Greetings from the Olympics! The teams have arrived and are getting ready for the biathlon. The first event is on Saturday, January 10th, and we can not be more excited for the events to be underway.
Last night, Courtney Hodges and I were given a tour of the stadium, and we learned a lot about the biathlon. The biathlon is a race consisting of cross country skiing and shooting. There are both men’s and women’s teams that compete, and the races are various lengths. What is most interesting is that the key to this race is being able to control your heart rate so that you can shoot the targets. The process of waxing the skis and getting them ready for the races is meticulous. All events are held at night, so these past few days the teams have spent testing the wax on the skis. This is done every hour, and the temperature is recorded carefully. I was told by a gentleman on the team from Poland that the testers end up skiing a larger distance than the actual athletes because they are on the course every hour. (The longest race is 20 km).
Courtney and I are on the Athlete Compound Staff, which is where the wax rooms are. We have been told that the wax rooms for each country are highly secretive, and few are allowed to enter. One last note: the paid volunteers have been studying the sport for the last two years, and they all take pride in the biathlon events that they are hosting. Their pride shows!
By Jana Mangubat, Mass Communications ’19, at the Alpensia Biathlon Stadium in PyeongChang, South Korea