Letter From US Biathlon’s Olympic Team Athletes

[ letter from Lowell Bailey – 2006 US Olympian
Jeremy Teela – 2002, 2006 US Olympian
Tim Burke – 2006 US Olympian
Tracy Barnes – 2006 US Olympian
Lanny Barnes – 2006 US Olympian ]
March 21, 2006
Dear Members,
With the recent mailing of the USBA Board of Directors ballot, we would like to voice a few opinions regarding the potential board members.  The racing season will soon be drawing to a close and we are now looking forward to the next few years of training. This being said, we feel that it is critical to have a strong and dynamic Executive Board that can adapt to new changes and make informed decisions that move the organization forward. As active biathletes, we feel that there are a few positions within the board that will effect what direction USBA takes over the next four years. These positions are the Chairman and the Vice Chairman.

We strongly support Larry Pugh for Chairman.  He has been extremely successful in the business world and would bring an unparalleled degree of experience to the new USBA board.  He has a genuine desire to see US biathletes succeed. Just this February he took time out of his own schedule to visit the Olympics and watch the US team in action.  Passion and enthusiasm are the best characteristics for such a position.

With regard to Vice Chairman, we strongly believe Charlie Kellogg is the best choice.  USBA needs a board that will act in the best interest of the organization as a whole.  In order to do this, they must engage in active discussion with athletes and coaches before making critical decisions.  This has not happened in the last few years.  In fact, the board has taken steps that undermine the ability of the organization to succeed.  The recent efforts by existing board members to stall or halt the multi-million-dollar TD Banknorth sponsorship deal are evidence of this unfortunate reality.  Such actions are unacceptable given the dire financial condition of USBA. At the present time, athletes are forced to pay their own expenses to compete on the World Cup because the budget is too small to accommodate such expenditures. With such financial limitations potential sponsors must be welcomed, not shunned.

Mr. Kellogg has been a long-time member of the USBA, as an athlete, national champion, coach and later, as a board member. He is also a very successful businessman with strong contacts in the business world and a respected ability to get things done. As Vice President Mr. Kellogg would support new fundraising initiatives and help USBA gain the necessary resources to reach a medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.  As a successful professional fundraiser, he understands the fine points of generating financial stability within an organization. The new Vice Chairman must be business savvy, but also possess an adequate knowledge of our sport.  Charlie Kellogg is more than qualified in both respects.

For the remaining board positions, we support Roger Hartley for Treasurer and Bill Alfond as Independent Directors.  After retiring from the field of investment banking, Roger pursued a license for massage and Rolfing.  During the last six years, he volunteered as the National Team masseur and in that time has become one of the principal supporters for athletes within USBA.  His financial expertise, selfless work-ethic, and commitment to our sport make him the perfect candidate for Treasurer. Finally, we support Bill Alfond, who is a world-class businessman and as an owner of the World Champions Boston Red Sox, understands what it takes to be successful in sport.

It is important to realize that we are not the only people advocating the election of these specific candidates. Over the past seven months, an independent Nominating Committee comprised of highly respected USBA members analyzed potential candidates and forwarded a slate to the organization.  Larry, Charlie, and Roger were the main candidates on that slate.

In the next few months, the new USBA board will develop the crucial policies that will determine the fate of biathlon within the United States for a generation.  We need your support for the future – not just the next four years – but the coming decades.  Right now, there are talented, motivated junior athletes that must be developed in order for USBA to succeed beyond 2010. Once existing competitors have retired, there must be a new wave of experienced biathletes to continue competitive momentum on the world cup. Right now, this group is waiting to be recruited and developed. Local ski and biathlon clubs are doing the initial work of getting youth skiers involved.  However, these potential racers are now at the point in life where they must decide whether or not to follow a path in biathlon. USBA must create a plan to keep these athletes involved in the sport – an attractive development program that can compete with the host of other opportunities open to American youth.

In a very real sense, your votes will determine the destiny of our sport.  Please take the time to make an informed decision.  We urge you take our suggestions as well as those of the USBA Nominating Committee into consideration when making your selections.  If you have any questions regarding this email, please contact our athlete representative, Chad Salmela (salmela59@msn.com).  As we are currently racing at the Oslo World Cup, it is easier for him to respond quickly.  We thank you for your efforts and we look forward to a bright future for American biathlon. Sincerely,
Lowell Bailey – 2006 US Olympian
Jeremy Teela – 2002, 2006 US Olympian
Tim Burke – 2006 US Olympian
Tracy Barnes – 2006 US Olympian
Lanny Barnes – 2006 US Olympian