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Wild Shot: Struggles and successes in biathlon and cross country skiing

Wild Shot: Struggles and successes in biathlon and cross country skiing
3 reviews 0 5 4.7

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By Andy Liebner, 274 pages, 2011

ISBN-10: 1465377964
ISBN-13: 978-1465377968


“Wild Shot lives up to its name. Andy Liebner details his athletic training and racing in Europe and the United States. Beyond the physical and technical athletic requirements, Liebner gives the reader deeper insight into the proper and difficult mindset necessary for success. Realizing a little self-doubt can destroy him, Liebner discovers his greatest enemy and his greatest strength lie in his attitude. A true hero’s journey in every sense of the word.” –Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and author of the award-winning Narrow Lives

“This book provides an honest perspective of what it truly takes to become a top level ski racer in a country with so little ski culture, let alone support for young athletes pursuing their dreams of becoming a top level skier. This book is a great example of what can happen if one’s passion and desire to race are strong enough. It is full of adventure and great examples of what can be done if an athlete has the passion and willingness to overcome barriers.” –Sten Fjeldheim NMU Ski Coach

“Reading Andy Liebner’s book is like going on a journey of discovery. Along the way you experience everything Andy does and become part of his adventure in Nordic skiing. Andy has accepted life as a challenge, and he draws the reader into his life as a world-class cross-country ski racer. I recommend it as a must read for every skier.” –Bob Gregg, Publisher of The Master Skier Ski Journal


Customer Reviews 3 item(s)

If you're a biathlete, this is a great story for you.
A great story of perseverance in the face of many obstacles. Andy writes this as a young man struggling through a journey to prove himself. As a newcomer to biathlon at the age of 45, I enjoyed reading one of the few books out there about the sport. The writing style is tough at times with frequent switches to introspection. Probably a challenging book for a reader who is not familiar with biathlon. Half way through the book, I found myself cheering for Andy as he went form biathlon match to biathlon match through central and eastern Europe. I had hoped the story ended with another competition season, but alas his time runs out in Europe and he moves on to cross country skiing competitions in the US.
Review by Daniel T. Markert / (Posted on 2/24/2015)
For the love of skiing...
Andy Liebner is a fast young Alaskan who went from top junior and collegiate XC ski racing results to signing up for the military the day after 9-11 to then racing around the world to see how far he could go in XC skiing and biathlon. He had many surprising adventures along the way and learned what it means to go it alone (with help from friends). Breakthroughs and frustrations alike abound in his story. The barriers were ENDLESS and only got BIGGER, yet Andy persevered. The finale is fascinating with major twists.

This is the newest XC ski "scene" book. And the only one to come out since Pete Vordenberg's "Momentum," which I published. I didn't publish Andy's book, but I helped -- it's been fun working with the very energetic Andy.

Andy particularly enjoys training with various pals, including some of the best athletes in the world -- such as the #1 all-time biathlete, "King Ole." He's trying to see what they do that makes them so good and he passes along what he learns.

His races give us heat-of-the-moment action ranging from big wins to shocking DQ's.

There are adventures with authority of all types. These are boggling, with embassies and mayors getting into the picture, allies who are enemies, and surprising help. Passion and energy don't always equal diplomacy, but much of his snags seemed inevitable. Andy works on comprehending the "Why? Why me? What the heck?", making interesting progress along the way.

There's business and marketing, too, when Andy starts repping for a wax company in the middle of racing and then becomes in demand as a winning wax tech. But he just wants to race!

The candle gets burned on 3 ends -- but there are highlights of focus.

Andy includes practical insights on the factors separating skiers who are on their way up, including his best tips for technique, and advice on the toughest challenge: the mind game.

It's 250 pages of page-burning fun -- with nail-biting cliffhangers.

Last year Andy won the US Marathon series and College Cup individual titles. Nowadays he's back to globetrotting, coaching Olympians, working in the industry, and waxing. Whew!
Review by Jeff Potter / (Posted on 2/24/2015)
Overcome the Obstacles and Achieve Your Potential
Cross-Country skiing is more of a calling than a sport, and nowhere is that more obvious than in Andy Liebner's skiing memoir "Wild Shot." The book chronicles a period in Liebner's life when he decided to throw caution to the wind and spend a couple seasons training and racing as a professional athlete in Europe and Australia. But this book is not just an athlete's story, it is also a travel memoir and a very personal quest for self. Despite tremendous results in world class events, Liebner frequently struggles with self-doubt that threatens to overwhelm him. His ability to overcome obstacles, not the least of which are his own personal demons, is what makes "Wild Shot" a truly compelling read.

For those of us who have dabbled in sport, the attraction is clear. Where in other pursuits the result can be tainted by privilege, prejudice, or money, in a race things are simpler. The best man or woman in the event is the one that crosses the line first.


There is something pure about the knowledge that, no matter what other obstacles people put in front of you, the race will always reveal the truth.

However, in "Wild Shot," Liebner shows how even the sanctity of the race has been compromised. Sure, once the starting gun goes off, the best competitor wins. But the race can still be rigged by not allowing some athletes to compete.

Such is the case with Andy Liebner, an aspiring Biathlete who finds he has been unceremoniously dumped by the US's governing body of the sport (the USBA). Annoyed by the bureaucratic tape, Liebner decides to travel to Europe to train and race with the best Biathletes of the world. However, even though he is supporting his own racing and training, the USBA will not grant him permission to enter international biathlon events, even if there are no other American athletes participating.

Undaunted, Liebner finds his way into various high profile events, and as he racks up several podium finishes, he begins to achieve a stature that is beyond what the USBA can suppress.

As an avid skier myself, I was extremely frustrated by Liebner's description of what the "system" for developing cross-country athletes is like in the US. Cross-Country skiing is a fringe sport that needs champions to increase its popularity in the US. Based on "Wild Shot," the USBA seems to be doing the opposite.

However, Andy Liebner's tenacious pursuit of his dream is inspiring to follow. Yes, he feels doubt along the way, sometimes even in the face of success, but it's that tremendous human element that makes the book a rewarding read.

If you're interested in reading something that will inspire you to achieve your fullest potential no matter what obstacles are in your way, "Wild Shot" is the book for you.
Review by Walter Rhein / (Posted on 2/24/2015)

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