Hall of Fame Class of 2015
In October 1979 at a training camp at Squaw Valley with her Washington State University ski team Julie Newnam noticed the men’s biathlon team that were also having a training camp there. Shortly after she was contacted the Washington National Guard biathlon and shooting coach and suggested the she begin marksmanship training with their biathlon and shooting teams as word spread of women’s participation. At the Oregon State Biathlon Championships in January of 1980 she finished 2nd overall and met Olympian Jay Bowerman who suggested that she explore further possibilities by participating in the first USBA training camp that included women in the spring of 1980.
Julie was invited to that training camp and it was the beginning of what would lead to substantial career and significant success for biathlon in the U.S.A. During the 1981 season Julie’s shooting skills placed her well in the U.S. races and by 1983 when it was decided to hold the first Women’s World Biathlon Championships, Julie was fully committed to qualifying for the U.S. Team.
A highpoint for U.S. Biathlon, it was at that first women’s championships in 1984 at Chamonix, France that Julie and her relay teammates captured the first World Championships medal by a U.S. athlete or team. After finishing 26th in the individual competition and 22nd in the sprint, Julie led off the relay team with a 5th place rank on the start leg to which Kari Swenson and Holly Beattie each improved one position to take the Bronze medal over Finland by mere three tenths of a second.
The following year Julie also qualified for the 2nd World Biathlon Championships for women in 1985 at Egg, Switzerland where she finished 23rd and 24th in the individual and sprint races and was a member of the 5th place relay team. At the top of the result lists in the U.S. races, well-liked by her peers and coaches, Julie was consistent on the shooting range and at the forefront of women’s biathlon. A biathlon pioneer for women, she ended her career with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the U.S. National Championships; however it is for her World Championships Bronze medal with her teammates that she will be most remembered in the Hall of Fame.
Julie Newnam, a member of the 1984 World Championships Bronze relay team.