Old Forge native Maddie Phaneuf has been named one of the five women on the U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team, according to an article from TeamUSA.org. The biathlon is a winter sport combining cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.
Phaneuf, 22, is a first-time Olympian, and the other two women who qualified for the team after the IBU Cup races today – Joanne Reid of Colorado and Emily Dreissigacker of Vermont – are first-time Olympians as well. The three women will join Susan Dunklee of Vermont and Clare Egan of Main on the U.S. team next month in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The Town of Webb has rallied around Phaneuf, calling themselves her ‘Phan Club’ and supporting her every step of the way on her journey to qualifying for the U.S. Olympics.
According the TeamUSA.org, Phaneuf began her biathlon training at the age of 15 in 2010. Today she placed 11th in the 77-woman field at the 15 km individual race at the IBU Cup in Germany, clearing all 20 targets, according to the article.
Remsen native Erin Hamlin, who will be competing in the luge event for her fourth U.S. Olympics next month, tweeted her support for Phaneuf this afternoon, saying, “Huge congrats Maddie!! See you in #PyeongChang! #TeamUSA”
John Swick, building principal for the Town of Webb Union Free School District, provided us the following statement Wednesday, prior to Phaneuf qualifying for the U.S. Olympics:
"We are so excited for Maddie! Maddie was a senior at the Town of Webb my first year here as Principal. She was a phenomenal athlete when she was here competing in Section III for our Nordic team and she is just a fantastic person overall. We have been following her closely and she came back last year to do an assembly for our entire school, K-12. Everyone was thrilled to see her and encourage her. The level of dedication it takes to compete at her level is incredible. Maddie's work ethic is nothing short of impressive. We had a great time watching her last year compete at the International Level in the Biathlon World Cup. Several of us have been sporting our Maddie's 'Phan' Club t-shirts proudly around town. We are so incredibly fortunate to have McCauley Mountain in Old Forge in our own backyard with young kids just like Maddie going to ski every day after school.
No matter what happens we have been incredibly proud to call Maddie a Town of Webb Alum! We will all be watching and cheering tomorrow (and if she makes the Olympic Team)!"