Biathlon: Skiing, Shooting and Sacrifice
My name is Sam Cairns, I’m 19 years old and I’m from Aviemore in Scotland.
When I was 10 my best friend’s dad formed the Cairngorm Biathlon and Nordic Ski Club. It’s not the sort of thing that just anyone does, but Mike Dixon isn’t just anyone; he’s Great Britain’s only six-times Winter Olympian.
Mike fired a passion in me for biathlon and I’ve been training as hard as I can ever since. Trouble is, not many folk have even heard of biathlon. It’s massive in Scandinavia but sadly, not in my home country.
It’s a combination of cross-country skiing and target shooting and it’s one of the most demanding sports in the world, both physically and mentally. I’ve competed both nationally and internationally in biathlon and was honoured to represent Team GB at the European Youth Olympics in 2013.
In order to take my career to the next level, I now train full-time and my immediate aim is to compete in the Junior Biathlon World Championships in Romania, 2016.
This year, I have been lucky enough to be able to spend time in Lillehammer in Norway, where I train with a team which is really helping me develop. Without the fantastic support of my parents and commercial sponsors however, this wouldn’t be possible.
Biathlon attracts no funding in the UK, so the costs of my travel, equipment and training camps – which are much higher in Norway – have to be met myself.
I’ve not been idle in the fundraising department. In September 2013 I initiated a sponsored roller-ski over 100 miles climbing the equivalent height of Mt Everest in a 30-hour non-stop challenge to raise funds for my winter season. After the pain involved however, I can’t be doing that every few months!
Each week I dedicate up to 25 hours to endurance training – running, cycling, roller-skiing and strength training – plus target shooting, as this forms a crucial element of biathlon.
I know biathlon isn’t as high profile as tennis or football but it’s just as tough (I would contest more so).
I know I am not perhaps the most famous of sportsman so I can’t promise much in return for your help, but I can promise my 100% commitment and for now, I hope that might be enough.
I’d like to reward those who have been generous enough to support me, by one day representing my country at a Winter Olympic Games.
If you’re able to contribute to my campaign, I’d be extremely grateful. It’s easy to say that, I know, but I really would. If on this occasion you’re not able to contribute, I’d be equally grateful to you for telling others by sharing on social media.
I regularly update my Facebook athlete page with news of my training, so perhaps you can check it out?
Thank you for your interest, any support would be hugely appreciated.