Hall of Fame Class of 2015
The path Patrice Jankowski followed in her biathlon career bridged two periods. Driving across the country from Minnesota to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in California she was one of the first women to participate in the first training camp that included women. Having earned World Cup points in cross-country ski racing her skills helped her to become one of the first women on the first U.S. Biathlon Women’s team in October 1980. With growing women’s involvement and anticipated international growth, Patrice became a regular in the early U.S. races capturing a Bronze medal at the 1981 National Championships and a Silver and Gold medal in 1982.
Studies to become a radiology technician between 1983 and 1987 kept Patrice from biathlon racing, however in 1988 she returned to a sport that had switched to the new ski skating technique. It didn’t take her long to catch up, earning another Silver medal at the U.S. national Championships and racing in the 1988 World Biathlon Championships at Chamonix for the women’s relay team. She also had a 4th and 9th place finishes in the sprint and individual races and a member of the 1st place relay team at the Antholz, Italy World Cup races and ended the season as the top ranked U.S. female athlete. In the 1989 World Biathlon Championships at Fistritz, Austria she was 28th and 33rd in the sprint and individual races. She followed up with additional finishes in 13th and 16th at the 1990 and 1991 World Championships. During that time she also won a Gold and two Silver National Championships medals.
In 1992 Patrice reached a high point of her biathlon career as a member of the 1992 Winter Olympic Biathlon Team at Albertville, France. This represented the first time that women were added to the Winter Olympic biathlon program. She raced in the individual race and missing only two of her targets she finished in 42nd place. By then there were 20 nations and 80 women athletes participating in the Winter Olympic Games.
After ending her competitive career in 1993, Patrice continued to contribute to biathlon by becoming a highly respected coach of young developing athletes at the U.S. Olympic Education Center at the University of Northern Michigan. For leading the way in women’s participation as a competitor and her contributions following that career, Patrice is welcomed as a member of the United States Biathlon Association’s Hall of Fame.