Thursday January 19, 2012
Aleksandra Zakrzewska, a junior at South Burlington High School, is a member of the United States national team for the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games taking place Jan 13-22 in Innsbruck, Austria. The event, patterned after the adult Olympics, features all 15 winter Olympic sport disciplines; Alpine Skiing, Bobsleigh, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Curling, Freestyle Skiing, Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, Luge, Nordic Combined, Snowboard, Ski Jumping, Skeleton, Speed Skating, and Short Track Speed Skating.
Approximately 1100 young athletes between the ages of 14 and 19 represent over 60 countries at this year’s inaugural Olympics.
Zakrzewska is competing in biathlon, a sport that combines Nordic skiing and target shooting. She qualified for the Youth Olympics through a series of trial races, culminating in final qualifications at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, VT, her home club location. She normally trains biathlon as a member of the Ethan Allen Biathlon Club, coached by Eric Tremble. Since she made the US national team in August, she has also had the good fortune to be coached by Williston’s Algis Shalna, who won a gold medal in biathlon in the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics and then served for many years as the US national biathlon team coach.
The 57-person US national team for the Innsbruck games includes four biathletes—two girls and two boys. The state of Vermont is represented on the US team by Zakrzewska in biathlon and Heather Mooney of Peru in Nordic skiing. Aleksandra particiated in two individual biathlon races as well as in a mixed gender relay in Innsbruck.
For more information about the Winter Youth Olympic Games you may visit http://www.innsbruck2012.com/en.