Armin Auchentaller: Steppingstone to the Future

The 2023-24 season was filled with athletic advancement with personal bests across both men’s and women’s team. And with the IBU World Cup in the books, the team has headed to Bend, Ore. for on-snow training six months out from next season’s tour. Heartbeat caught up with head coach Armin Auchentaller live from Bend to analyze the team’s success, and to look forward to the season ahead.

A native of the renowned biathlon venue community of Antholz, Italy, Auchentaller has a strong background with U.S. Biathlon. A former biathlete himself, Auchentaller coached in the USA from 2009-14 before leaving to head the Swiss women’s team. He returned to U.S. Biathlon in 2018 and now leads both the men’s and women’s national team.

“I like to develop things and bring the athletes up to a very high level and succeed in the World Cup,” said Auchentaller. “I really like that journey of having athletes who come from nowhere, almost, and trying to guide them to the top level.”

The 2023-24 season was showcased with notable results by a wide range of athletes. Auchentaller methodically walks through the highlights, both celebrating the success and having an eye on the future.

The season saw Deedra Irwin claim her first top-10 World Cup. Newcomer Campbell Wright did the same, setting a new personal best six times. Campbell and Irwin teamed up for three top-10 finishes in the single mixed relay. Crossover cross country athletes Margie Freed and Grace Castonguay had strong debuts. The entire biathlon nation rose up to cheer on the men’s relay to historic finishes at the World Championships and Soldier Hollow World Cup.

What’s the secret? Auchentaller pointed to closing the gap on skiing, but also a strong focus on shooting. “That’s crucial – the shooting time of a team. Four members – four members – need to be around four minutes and a couple of seconds. Four minutes is a goal for us to accomplish.”

Auchentaller also shared his view on the Olympics coming to his own hometown of Antholz – one of the most legendary venues in biathlon.

The interview with head coach Armin Auchentaller offers more benchmarks of a team on the rise, with a new generation of biathletes making their mark on the sport. Tune in now!

This wraps up season four of Heartbeat. Thanks to U.S. Biathlon fans for listening. We’ve had some great episodes throughout the season. Check them out as you head into summer. And we’ll see you back again this fall on Heartbeat, the U.S. Biathlon podcast.

Heartbeat: US Biathlon Podcast (c) US Biathlon