Sleep, eat, train, study, eat, study, train, eat, study and sleep. Repeat daily. That’s Stuart Harden’s formula as he prepares for the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, next January.
To make sure he’s at the top of his game, the 17-year-old Canadian biathlete, who lives in Calgary, Alberta, and studies at the National Sport School, has been clocking hundreds of hours of training and shooting.
“I strive to be at my best all season, but with the added pressure and incentive, I’m looking to push myself to peak for the Games,” he said.
Stuart took to biathlon as a young child with his first practices at the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, home to the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. Now he is at a level of competition that has taken him to dozens of competitions at home and abroad, including the Biathlon Youth World Championships in the Czech Republic, last year. He came 18th in the individual competition on a 12.5 kilometre course, clocking 30 minutes, 29.4 seconds and missing only one shot in each shooting round.
Although he admits his sport is more popular in Europe than in North America, Stuart is hoping these international competitions against “high calibre athletes” will help him prepare for Innsbruck and bring him closer to his dream of being on that podium come January.