Clare Egan, of Cape Elizabeth, waves to cheering fans after her race during the women’s 4×6-kilometer biathlon relay at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, last month. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The day before what could be the last World Cup race of her biathlon career was not uneventful for Clare Egan.

Egan, a native of Cape Elizabeth, learned Friday she had been elected as chair of the International Biathlon Union Athletes Committee.

Later in the day, while huddled in a wax cabin in Oslo, Norway, prior to a practice session, she hovered over her smart phone for nearly 20 minutes before successfully registering for the Beach to Beacon road race.

“I was extremely stressed out,” she said of registering. “I was supposed to be out training but I was like, ‘Sorry, Coach, I’ve got to register for the Beach to Beacon.’”

That Egan could have pulled strings to get a running bib and chose instead to take her chances with the general public sheds some light on why her biathlon peers cast more votes for her than for the other four women and seven men on the IBU ballot.


A vocal proponent for clean athletes and a critic of the IBU’s decision to award Russia the ninth and final World Cup event of this season — several countries, including the U.S., are boycotting the Tyumen races in protest of Russia’s repeated failure to adhere to doping standards — Egan will serve through 2022. Voting was conducted by secret online ballot the first two weeks of March. Fellow athletes could vote for up to two men and two women.

“Everyone knows her as one of the brightest and most articulate biathletes on the circuit,” said Max Cobb, the CEO of USA Biathlon. “It’s a particularly big deal that she’s been as outspoken as she’s been on clean sport and she got the most votes of any athlete in the election.”

Egan, 30, is scheduled to lead off the women’s 4-by-6-kilometer relay Saturday in Oslo. She’s coming off a career-best 13th in a sprint competition in Finland, which qualified her for the second Mass Start race of her career.

The job of the Athletes Committee is to serve as a liaison between athletes and the IBU’s executive board. Egan said she believes the executive board should include an athlete as a full-voting member.

“We don’t actually have a voice or a vote in the board room,” she said. “I find that abhorrent.”

Egan garnered 130 of the 399 votes cast. Joining her on the committee will be another female biathlete, Aita Gasparin of Switzerland (105 votes) and two male biathletes, Erik Lesser of Germany (100) and Martin Fourcade of France (98).


Gasparin is the only returning member of the current four-athlete committee, which also includes Egan’s U.S. teammate, Lowell Bailey, a New York native who trained with the Maine Winter Sports Center.

Bailey already announced his retirement from biathlon after this season. Egan said her plans haven’t changed, that she’s ruling out another four-year Olympic cycle but is considering one more season, which includes a World Cup tour stop in Utah at Soldier Hollow.

In May she’s due in Austria for her first committee meeting, with another scheduled for September. Members aren’t required to remain active biathletes, but each federation can only nominate a biathlete who started the current season on tour.

“We’re not satisfied with how the IBU is taking care of anti-doping,” Egan said. “That’s one of the biggest issues and that’s what bred the great list of candidates this year.”

That Egan is outgoing and friendly, and speaks six languages certainly helped her candidacy. Her last elected office may have been class president her freshman year at Cape Elizabeth High School; she graduated from there in 2006. At Wellesley College she served on an athletic advisory council.

Egan said there was no campaigning, but that at the request of teammate Susan Dunklee, Egan was one of several candidates who posted a statement on a biathletes-only Facebook page.


“I’m really motivated by all the votes I got,” she said. “I’m honored that my fellow athletes have that kind of confidence in me, and I see it as a mandate in support of clean sport and integrity.”

Since entering the international biathlon stage the same winter as the Sochi Games of 2014, Egan said she’s disillusioned by the tepid response of the IBU in light of the independent McClaren Report showing Russia’s state-sponsored doping.

“I came in thinking doping was the biggest problem in the sport,” Egan said. “Four years later, I think poor leadership and corruption is the biggest problem.”

Bowing to pressure from its athletes, the IBU stripped Russia of a World Cup event last season but declined to do so this winter. So instead of finishing up the season in Tyumen, Egan will fly home Monday. She plans to compete at the SuperTour Finals (cross-country skiing) later this month in Craftsbury, Vermont, and wrap up her season in Utah at the national biathlon championships.

After some rest and relaxation, she will decide this spring whether to resume training in May for one more year as a competitive biathlete.

“I feel good about it,” she said. “I haven’t won any races but I did win the confidence of my peers. And in a lot of ways that’s more meaningful.”

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