Appleton native to represent Team USA in Beijing Olympics
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - From Northeast Wisconsin, to the Olympics. After narrowly missing a spot on Team USA, four years ago, Fox Valley native Paul Schommer, will represent the U.S. next month in Beijing.
Appleton native and 2010 Kimberly High School graduate, Paul Schommer, is officially on Team USA. He says, “I’m definitely grateful. I’ve learned a lot about biathlon and about myself as a person. It’s been quite the journey and I think it will just make it all the more sweet.”
Action 2 News first introduced you to Schommer, in the Fall of 2017. At the time, he was trying to make the U.S. biathlon team for 2018. The biathlon combines cross country skiing and rifle marksmanship. It’s a sport Schommer only really learned about as a student at the College of St. Scholastica. His cross country skiing coach encouraged him to give the biathlon a try.
Schommer says, “It makes me smile, just when I think about where I grew up and the lack of opportunity, normally for a cross country skier, much less biathlon. So, to be able to make it to the top stage of a sport that I didn’t even know existed when I was a kid is kind of cool.”
Currently in Italy, training and competing, Schommer is excited for Beijing next month. He says, “Very thankful for the opportunity and just doing my best to prepare for the big event.”
While the pandemic will prevent his family from being at the Olympics, he’s thrilled to know part of Northeast Wisconsin will be with him. The J.J. Keller Foundation continues to back Schommer and Ariens, based in Brillion, is the title sponsor for the USA biathlon team.
“To have Ariens and wear their logo, everywhere I go around the world, has been really cool as well,” adds Schommer.
While biathlon is the only winter sport Team USA has yet to medal in, Schommer says the focus is to perform well, hardware would just be the icing on the cake. He says, “Anybody would definitely like to be the guy or girl to win the first Olympic medal for their country in a specific sport. I think it would be even cooler to share it with my team in the relay.”
Team USA starts it’s quest for biathlon history on February 5th, just days after opening ceremonies.
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