Idaho native Sara Studebaker is two weeks away from skiing and shooting in her second Olympic Games. Studebaker, a Boise High School graduate, has been competing in the biathlon since 2003. Now, at 29-years-old, Studebaker says she's ready for Sochi.
“The second time, you feel a little more seasoned," Studebaker says. "You feel like you know what’s going on and I think it gives me a great opportunity to have some really good results and hopefully do better than I did in Vancouver. So I’m really excited for the possibilities.”
Studebaker competed with the U.S. Olympic Team in the biathlon during the Vancouver Winter Olympics four years ago.
Studebaker is currently in Northern Italy where she competed in a World Cup race last week. She'll travel from Italy to Munich before flying to Sochi February 2. Her first race is the Sunday after opening ceremonies.
Q. What gives you the competitive edge in the biathlon?
A. Biathlon is just this really awesome sport, because on any given day, anyone can win. You need to be a good skier and you need to be a good shooter but you have those capabilities, and anytime you step on a start line, anything can happen.
To me that’s something I really love about biathlon. Something that’s really exciting is that throughout our season, there’s a huge number of people in several different countries that are always on the podium. It’s cool to be able to see that. It’s really exciting to feel like you have a chance.
I haven’t been on the podium yet, but I definitely have a shot. So that’s really cool to look forward to that.
Q. How did you get started in biathlon?
A. I got started in biathlon through a coach when I was skiing with Bogus Basin’s Nordic Team. Eric Reynolds had done biathlon and coached a couple people. A friend and I saw biathlon in the 1998 Olympics and just started pestering him and asking him all sorts of questions. He ended up finding a recruitment camp for me and my friend to go to and we went. There wasn’t a lot of biathlon opportunity in Boise, but we traveled around to Salt Lake, over to West Yellowstone, to Montana, I did some races in Maine. I actually took a break when I went to college and just focused on skiing and then came back to biathlon after I graduated from college.
Q. There are reports of possible terror threats surrounding the Olympics in Russia. Have you been following what’s going on over there?
A. I have been following a little bit and it definitely gives you pause. There’s some interesting things going on surrounding these games. For myself though, I’m going over there to compete and I trust that the organizing committee is going to do a great job in pulling these games off. I know the Sochi organizing committee as well as the U.S. Olympic Committee are really on top of those sorts of things, so it’s not something I’m really worried about. I’m there to compete, I need to focus 100 percent on that and so that’s where my head’s been at.
Q. Are there any special precautions for athletes?
A. I haven’t heard anything specifically. I know because our sport does involve firearms there are certain precautions that we have to go through which we had to go through in Vancouver as well as far as where our rifles are stored, where the ammunition is stored and how we check in and out and all that sort of stuff is definitely a little more complicated than our normal race procedure. But it’s just one thing that we have to adapt to and I think it will become second nature by the first couple of days.
Q. What are your plans after the Olympics?
A. Immediately after, we still have three more weeks of World Cup racing so I’ll still be in race mode and going off to those races hopefully. After that, I’m not 100 percent sure at this point. I like to play it by ear and see how each season goes and see what my thoughts are after the season. I could see continuing if things go really well. I could also see being done and moving into a different role. I’d love to eventually coach and be involved in giving other people the opportunities I’ve had.
Follow Studebaker's Olympic journey on Twitter @SaraStudebaker.
Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio