Sports2024 Summer Olympics


Deedra Irwin's family cheers her on to historic finish in Olympic biathlon

Deedra Irwin
Posted at 4:08 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 17:08:29-05

MILWAUKEE — Pulaski native Deedra Irwin finished 7th in the 15km individual biathlon at the Beijing Olympics, the best ever finish for an American in the event at the Olympics.

The Biathlon is a combination of cross country skiing and shooting at targets.

The event took place around 3 a.m. in Wisconsin, but Deedra's family was up bright and early to watch her make history.

"My husband and I were watching and we were super excited, because it was the highest she's ever finished and for it to be at the Olympics is huge," said Deedra's mom Jennifer Irwin.

Jennifer said her daughter first started cross country skiing in high school as a way to stay in shape between cross country running and track and field. Deedra went on to become a collegiate runner. So, it's safe no one thought it would be the biathlon that would stamp her ticket to the Olympics.

"The thing is the Olympics, it's just so big, it's big. You really just want your kids to have success in anything that they do. So, to say yeah I though she'd go, I don't even know how people can say that sometimes," Jennifer said.

Deedra's cousin, Bonnie Atkinson, was also up early on Monday to watch her cousin make history.

"We were just happy that she was at the Olympics really, so to see her get top 10, to see her actually make history getting the best ever U.S. finish at the Olympic biathlon was incredible," Atkinson said. "We're just so proud, it's emotional. My cousins, Deedra's brothers, my sisters and I are just going to be left in the dust at the kid's table next Thanksgiving."

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