Former Olympians speak at Northville event

Biathlon Olympians Deb Nordyke, left, and Curt Schreiner, right, pose for photo after giving a presentation on the Olympics at Northville Central School District on Friday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

NORTHVILLE — To kick off the 2018 Winter Olympics, students of Northville Central School District had their own opening ceremony with an Olympic presentation from two local Olympians.

Olympic athletes who represented the United States in the biathlon event, Deb Nordyke and her husband, Curt Schreiner, gave students some Olympic fun.

During the presentation, Nordyke and Schreiner explained what biathlon is and talked about each of their experiences when competing in the games.

Biathlon is an Olympic event that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.

Schreiner said the rifle they use in the biathlon is a .22-caliber bolt action deep sight rifle. He said they weigh between nine and 10 pounds.

Northville students compete in biathlon game with Olympian Deb Nordyke, left, on Friday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

“In the biathlon, we shoot anywhere from 10 to 20 shots each race and you get a penalty every shot you miss,” Schreiner said.

Nordyke explained that men and women generally do the same type of races, but women have a shorter distance. “Men do a 10K and women will do a 7.5K,” Nordyke said. “The men will ski a 20 kilometer race and women will ski a 15 kilometer race.”

Nordyke said in the shorter races competitors will shoot twice and if they miss a shot, they have to ski a penalty lap. In the longer race they will shoot 20 times. If they miss when shooting, a minute will be added to their final ski time.

“A minute is huge, that’s a lot. You can’t make up a minute in ski,” Nordyke said.

Nordyke is currently the NCS reading teacher for Pre-Kindergarten through six grade and assists in maintaining the run/ski trails at Saratoga Biathlon Club in the town of Day. While Nordyke was attending college in Anchorage, Alaska, she trained with the National Guard team, which she is still presently part of, and was recently promoted to Chief Master Sergeant. While part of the Air National Guard, Nordyke was deployed to Alaska seven times and to Greenland five times in support of the National Science Foundation. It was through the National Guard when she was first introduced to biathlon in 1989 when she was 25-years old. Nordyke then competed in the biathlon in the 1998 Nagano games.

Schreiner currently is the nordic ski Coach for Hadley-Luzerne Central School and Director of Saratoga Biathlon facility in the town of Day. Schreiner began biathlon at 12-years old, he said when the Olympics were in Lake Placid in 1980 is what inspired him. Schreiner the went on to compete in the biathlon in the 1988, 1992 and1994 Olympic games. In 2005, he was deployed in to Iraq with the 42 infantry division for Operation Iraqi Freedom III. In 2010 Schreiner retired from the Army as a Major.

Nordyke and Schreiner spoke about what it takes to be an Olympian. Nordyke said some characteristics of being an Olympian include determination, perseverance, competition with self, positively, passion, commitment, being a learner, a lot of training and enjoying the sport.

“Perfect practice makes perfect performance,” Schreiner said.

“I found it’s best to be competitive with yourself because that’s who your real competition is yourself,” Nordyke said. “You’re always competing with yourself to do better.”

Following the end of the presentation, Nordyke and Schreiner chose a few students to compete in a small biathlon themselves. Students had to do about 20 jumping jacks and then using a water gun, they had to hit a target which were ping pong balls. Each winner received a ribbon or Olympic pin as a prize.

The 2018 Winter Olympics began Friday with the opening ceremony in PyeongChang, South Korea. The Winter Olympics are held every four years on snow and ice. They have 102 events and 15 different sports. The Winter Olympics will run through Feb. 25. The 2018 Paralympics will then take place on March 8 through March 18.