February 4

Aroostook County biathlete holds Maine’s Olympic hopes

Russell Currier is the sole native son in the Winter Games in Sochi.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

Russell Currier competes at the Biathlon World Championships in Ostersund, Sweden, in 2008. Currier discovered his passion for the sport in junior high school.

2008 File Photo/Reuters

click image to enlarge

Russell Currier reacts at the finish line after he came in sixth at the World Cup biathlon men’s 10 km sprint event in Nove Mesto na Morave on Jan. 14, 2012.

2012 File Photo/Reuters

Additional Photos Below

Related headlines

Currier said he can’t say there was any one thing that hooked him on biathlon or skiing.

“The intention was to keep going until I hit a wall of lack of interest or talent,”’ he said in an email from Italy after he qualified for the Olympic team. “I’m not uninterested in the sport and I like to think there is more room for talent.”

His athletic success rolled over into the classroom. Where he once struggled in school – “He just didn’t like it,” said his mother – Currier began getting good grades.

“He got in the National Honor Society,” said Chris Currier. “Before that we had to fight with him to do his homework.”

Andy Shepard, the CEO and president of the Maine Winter Sports Center, said Currier’s maturity was evident in all facets of his life.

“Russell took advantage of his opportunity when it was presented to him,” said Shepard. “He embraced it completely. I remember getting a newspaper clipping in the mail from the Caribou newspaper the fall of his freshman year. In it was the honor roll for Caribou.

“His name was underlined in green. There was no comment on it but he just wanted to make sure I knew he had made the honor roll. That was one of the most powerful and moving experiences I’ve had at the Maine Winter Sports Center.”


Russell Currier has seen all the reports regarding security and terrorist threats around the Sochi Games. He isn’t concerned.

“There’s almost a 100 percent chance everything will go over smoothly,” he said. “If I was really concerned about safety that much, I wouldn’t even bother exercising my driver’s license back home.”

He is more concerned about his parents’ travel plans. They seldom ventured beyond Maine and New Brunswick to watch him compete.

“A trip to Russia at any point can be difficult,” said Currier. “One on so short notice is sure to be a challenge. My parents don’t have much experience traveling, so this could be really interesting and I hope all goes over well.”

His parents have seen the reports as well.

“We’ll keep our eyes open the whole time we’re there,” said Debbie Currier. “Wouldn’t you?”

Beyond that, Currier is trying to keep as calm as possible.

“This is the last sport you would ever want to feel an additional pressure in,” he said.

Currier, who had two sixth-place finishes on the World Cup circuit two years ago, won’t make any predictions about how he will do.

“This isn’t the sport to make any bold promises in,” he said. “Anything can happen. All I can promise is that the men’s team will be doing everything in their power to ensure the best result possible. On an off day, none of us will crack the top 40. On a good day we could have a medal. This is the kind of consistency you can expect in this line of work.”

Lowell Bailey, one of five Maine Winter Sports Center products on the biathlon team, indicated in an email that Currier shouldn’t be so unassuming.

“Russell has been working towards an Olympic team berth for a long time,” said Bailey. “He is one of the hardest-working athletes out there. ... He’s put in the time and he has the potential to make a splash at these Olympics.”

But Currier’s answer is typical of someone who has never boasted about his ability, who made sure he embraced the success of his high school teammates while he became one of the best biathletes in the nation. He doesn’t talk about himself much, even to his parents. His mother said she gets most of his news from his blog. “He pours his heart out in his blog,” said Debbie Currier.

(Continued on page 4)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Chris and Debbie Currier pose in their home in front of bibs worn throughout the years by their son. In another room, Russell Currier’s medals hang from the arm of an exercise machine. The biathlete headed for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is markedly modest about his successes.

click image to enlarge

Will Sweetser works with a ski team in Presque Isle last week. Sweetser helped train Currier when he was in the Maine Winter Sports Center’s program.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

A sign alerts motorists to the likelihood of roller skiers along a road in Presque Isle, where the Maine Winter Sports Center has a world-class training facility. Such signs are commonplace in Aroostook County, where Olympian biathlete Russell Currier was raised.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Medals that Russell Currier has won through his years competing as a biathlete.

click image to enlarge

Bob Sprague, a retired ski coach and teacher in Caribou, walks near trails where he used to help train Russell Currier. “You watched him and you knew,” he said of Currier.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)