SPORTS

Soldier Hollow hosts BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon

Mar 6, 2024, 6:03 PM | Updated: 6:35 pm

MIDWAY — Biathletes from around the world are in Utah and getting ready to compete in a world-class biathlon competition this weekend.

Vincent Bonacci is one of those biathletes getting ready for the games. He said looking at the Wasatch Mountains makes things feel right in the world.

“It definitely does,” said Vincent Bonacci. “It is very much like almost a sense of confidence.”

For Bonacci, having that confidence is important this week. He is competing with the best biathlon athletes in the world during the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center.

 

Biathletes training at Soldier Hollow for the event.

Biathletes training at Soldier Hollow for the event. (KSL TV)

 

Bonacci grew up in Salt Lake City and graduated from West High School. He’s trained at Soldier Hollow countless times.

“At the beginning of the year, I was really excited to see it on the calendar,” he said.

For a sport mostly held at European venues, being home is a nice change for him.

“There isn’t necessarily a home court advantage on the skis, but there’s a home court advantage everywhere else, like going to a store and speaking the language,” Bonacci said.

This event will be the first Biathlon World Cup event at Soldier Hollow since 2019. It is also the first big event here since U.S. Biathlon moved to Utah from Maine in 2023.

“The passion Utah has for sport and especially Olympic sport; you really feel that. When we spoke with other areas, they were really excited to have us, but there wasn’t that communal embrace that you have here,” said Jack Gierhart, President and CEO of U.S. Biathlon.

Flags of different nations.

Flags of different nations. (KSL TV)

Utah is proud of its Olympic legacy. In fact, Soldier Hollow itself is being renovated as a part of the 2002 venue upgrades to prepare for a future Olympics.

“Really, for us, it is a way to demonstrate to the world, to the international biathlon community, that we are capable of doing this,” said Luke Bodensteiner, Soldier Hollow’s General Manager.

Bonnaci was too young to remember when the Olympics were in Salt Lake, but he is hoping to become part of Utah’s Olympic legacy.

“I had an awesome Olympic birthday party when I turned two. I have Olympic torches made of paper and tissue paper flames. I have great photos, but I don’t have a lick of memory of it,” he said.

However, Bonacci is hoping to have great memories of the 2026 Winter Olympics by making the U.S. team, and it all starts with events like the one at Soldier Hollow.

“For me, the Olympics is always, like, I kind of think it as a bit of a sacred thing,” he said. “So, yeah, this venue has really been important to me over the years.”

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Soldier Hollow hosts BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon