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International biathlon returns to Canmore in 2023, world cup in 2024

The world's best biathletes are returning to town.

CANMORE ­– The world's best biathletes are returning to town.

Canmore will host two major international biathlon events over the next two years: the IBU Cup in 2023 and world cup in 2024.

"Other than the Olympics [in China], this is the first time [the International Biathlon Union] is reaching out of their central Europe base and becoming international again," said Ken Davies, chair of the Canmore Biathlon World Cups.

On Tuesday (May 17), the IBU released it’s 2022-23 calendar for the IBU Cup, the feeder circuit to the world cup, which has its season finale at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Feb. 23, 25, 26 and March 1, 3 and 4.

"This will be televised and where they award all the individual and team trophies for the year, which are a very big deal, and it also figures into whether you go to the world cup or not in the following season, so it's a lot of competition," said Davies.

Davies added that the world cup, showcasing the world's top biathletes, makes it way back to Canmore in 2024.

"I found out two weeks ago we have the world cup coming here, which again, is the season finale coming in March 2024," said Davies. "The IBU has faith in us, so they're here in 2023 and 2024."

The last time the IBU Cup came to Canmore was in 2015, when Canada's Zina Kocher Lawson and Emma Lunder each won silver medals. The IBU world cup's last visit in town was in 2019.

Alberta's $17.5 million commitment to upgrades at the Canmore Nordic Centre was the exclamation point on IBU's return to small mountain town, Davies said.

He praised local MLA Miranda Rosin for championing renovations at the world class facility, which include upgrades to snow making, the shooting range, and biathlon building.

"That announcement [on March 11] was huge to the IBU and FIS coming here again," Davies said. "People think it's just about high performance sport and it's not. The real winners are the day-to-day users of nordic centre."

Built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, the Canmore Nordic Centre is home to Canada's biathlon and cross-country skiing national teams, as well as the Para Nordic Ski national team.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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