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UMFK to host informational session on 2004 World Cup hosted by president of U.S. Biathlon Association

January 10, 2003

NR03005

St. John Valley area residents interested in learning more about the impact hosting the 2004 Biathlon World Cup will have on the local communities will have an opportunity to hear from the president of the United States Biathlon Association, when he holds an informational session at the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus on Friday, January 17.

Lyle Nelson, president of the USBA will conduct the open forum for interested members of the public at UMFK's Fox Auditorium on Friday at 7:00 p.m.

The session, which will include a discussion and audio-visual presentation by Nelson on the ramifications of the World Cup coming to Fort Kent, will cover the gamut from how to best prepare, what to expect before, during and after the event, and how the sport of biathlon in general can impact the local area.

Following the presentation, Nelson will answer any questions from the public in an open forum and remain behind afterwards for a meet and greet with local residents. Refreshments will be served.

A four-time US Olympian Nelson, of Parkdale, Oregon, was elected to his second four-year term as president of the US Biathlon Association in 2002.

The native of McCall, Indiana, has led the association for the past four years, culminating with the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games. During that time, he also served as the biathlon sport director for the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee.

These dual responsibilities allowed him to continue as one of the sport's strongest advocates in the U.S.

During Nelson's tenure, the US Biathlon Association oversaw an unprecedented level of interest in the sport. Over $10 million of private funding was secured to build new, community based biathlon facilities and implement programs in Maine, including the Maine Winter Sports Center Facilities in Fort Kent and Presque Isle.

Programs were also established in Minnesota and Michigan.

Nelson also oversaw the design and construction of the Soldier Hollow Olympic Biathlon venue, which will continue as a high altitude-training site for US biathletes.

In concert with this growth in high quality facilities, US fortunes in biathlon have continued to rise. Top performances by the US Biathlon Team have resulted in medals at Europa Cup competitions, the European Championships, the Junior World Biathlon Championships and several top 10 finishes in Biathlon World Cups.

US biathlete Jay Hakkinen recorded the highest ever US Olympic Biathlon finish at Salt Lake with a 13th in the 12.5K Pursuit competition. He and teammate Jeremy Teela led the 2002 Olympic Biathlon Team with six finishes in the top 26 between the two of them.

"Following the success of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, it is truly an exciting time to be involved in winter sports in the US. I am looking forward to visiting Fort Kent and meeting the people that have worked tirelessly to make the winter sports center there a world-class facility," said Nelson.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend the informational session at UMFK on January 17.

For more information, contact the university relations office at (207) 834-7557.