Having overcome injury during qualifying, 17-year-old US biathlete Lexie Madigan tells olympic.org that she is now looking forward to realising a dream by competing at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020.
How excited are you to be going to the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020?
“I have watched a million interviews with athletes after their races, and when they say, ‘I don’t believe it’ or ‘It hasn’t set in’, they are telling the truth. It still feels like a dream that I was chosen as an athlete representative for the United States at the YOG. I am eager to experience everything from the Opening Ceremony to the food. Lausanne is going to be one for the books!”
How much did you know about the YOG beforehand?
“I first heard about the YOG when I started biathlon about five years ago. Some of my older friends were going through the process of qualifying for the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016. They were my first role models in the sport, and I am extremely excited about the opportunity to follow in their footsteps. Competing in biathlon for the United States at a high-level event has always been my dream, so I am looking forward to doing so with such amazing team-mates and coaches by my side!”
What will it mean to you to represent the USA at the Games?
“Being selected to compete at the YOG was a dream come true. Growing up, the Olympic Games were always in the back of my mind as a goal, but I hadn’t yet decided between swimming, running, football or gymnastics: I wanted to do all of them! Since then, I have realised that it isn’t entirely possible to compete in 10 sports at once, so I am super stoked to have found biathlon, and lucky to have experienced all of the amazing things that it brings with it.”
Have you been to Lausanne before?
“I have never been to Lausanne, but I have competed overseas at the Liatoppen Biathlon Festival from 2016 to 2018; the Otepaa IBU World Youth/Junior Championships in 2017; the IBU Junior Cup and Junior European Open Championships in 2018; and the Osrbile World Youth/Junior Championships in 2019. I am looking forward to the beautiful venue and weather that Switzerland has to offer!”
The experience of racing and living in an Olympic environment for a week is irreplaceable. I am looking forward to sharing the experience with my team-mates, coaches, family and friendsLexie Madigan USA
What are you most looking forward to about the YOG?
“I am most looking forward to the experience of competing in a once-in-a-lifetime event. The Winter YOG only happen every four years, and I am honoured to be eligible and chosen to race in Lausanne. The experience of racing and living in an Olympic environment for a week is irreplaceable. I am looking forward to sharing the experience with my team-mates, coaches, family and friends.”
What do you hope to gain from competing at the YOG?
“The YOG bring together the top athletes from each country, so I hope to gain experience racing against such strong competition. Along with that, I hope to gain connections and friendships with fellow competitors that can last throughout our careers as biathletes.”
What do you hope to achieve at the YOG?
“At the YOG, I hope to compete to the best of my ability. I have raced internationally before, so I feel prepared and ready to give it my all. Results come as an afterthought for me, but I am really excited to show the world what I am working so hard for in training every day.”
What was the qualification process like for you?
“In the United States, the qualification was a long process, with three series of races spread throughout the year. The first series was in December and, between then and the next series in March, I started to have issues with my calves. Doctors diagnosed it as compartment syndrome, and so my season came to an end after the January Junior/Youth World Championships. However, with the YOG on the line, I competed again in March and squeezed one decent race out of the series, which kept me in the running. In August, after the last series, the team was named, and I am looking forward to racing overseas with my new team-mates!”
How did you get started in biathlon?
“I vividly recall watching Dárya Dómracheva on TV during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 and then telling my parents that I wanted to try biathlon. I was 12 at the time, but my always-supportive parents found a biathlon clinic nearby and signed me up. I may have closed my eyes the first time I shot, but they have been open since then with all of the opportunities and experiences that I have had the privilege to enjoy.”
Who has been the biggest influence on you so far?
“My biggest influence in biathlon is my previous biathlon coach, Glenn Jobe. Glenn taught me everything that I know about biathlon, starting with how to load a magazine to things that I still struggle with today, such as reading wind flags. Everybody involved with the sport of biathlon has been super encouraging and supportive, but Glenn was there from day one.”
What has been your biggest sporting achievement so far?
“My biggest achievement in biathlon was at the Liatoppen Biathlon Festival in 2017. I tied for third place out of a large field of 15-year-old girls. However, athletes can’t be defined by their best results, or their worst, so I think one of my biggest achievements in biathlon is my consistent results.”
What are your long-term goals and how do you think the YOG will help you?
“In the long term, I see biathlon as my future. I always want to be involved in the sport in some way. The World Cup, and then eventually the Olympic Games, are my real goals, and the YOG are a great stepping-stone for me into the big leagues. Part of biathlon is learning how to cope with pressure, and the experience that I will gain from the YOG can only help me going forward.”
What other interests do you have away from biathlon?
“While biathlon takes up most of my focus, school takes up most of my time. I am a senior in high school at the Sun Valley Community School. My days usually consist of training, school, homework, stretching and sleeping. I live the life of a student athlete so, for now, I don’t have time for any other interests; but I hope to learn to play the ukulele in the future!”