Andy Soule is already the most successful US Para Nordic skier in World Championships history, and is hoping to improve on his medal count this coming season.
He will travel to Finsterau, Germany, from 10-19 February to try and add to his impressive collection and attempt to grab that elusive gold.
He has five Worlds medals from Cable, USA, in 2015. In the men’s sitting he won silver in the sprint and middle distance biathlon races and the middle distance cross-country. He also won bronze in the sprint and long distance races cross-country.
His main aim for this season’s Championships is to concentrate on bettering himself and developing his skills in order to get better results.
“I don't worry so much about place results since everyone else's performance is not under my control. I am focused on performing to the best of my ability and improving on my own past performances,” Soule said.
Having competed on the Finsterau course as recently as last February at an IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup, he is relishing a tough contest.
“We were able to compete in Finsterau last winter. It is a good and challenging course with a shooting range that often has shifting and difficult winds. It should make for a very interesting World Championships.”
Before we even reach the Worlds however the World Cup gets underway. With the first round beginning on the 9 December in Vuokatti, Finland, there is not long to go until the season gets underway.
The 36-year-old finished in fourth place overall last season on the cross-country World Cup and came fifth in biathlon. Although pleased with his results like all athletes he always wants to do better.
“I am reasonably happy with my performances last year. I learned a lot about skiing and about myself,” he said. “I hope to continue to improve this year on the progress I have made in the past.”
In order to make these improvements Soule has been working on his speed in both events.
“I have been working on a number of different aspects of both skiing and shooting, mostly just to refine technique and make things happen even more quickly and efficiently,” Soule said.
One stop on the World Cup he is particularly looking forward to is the visit to the host venue of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games from 10-15 March, which will act as a Test Event for the Paralympics. Not only will good results there help with his World Cup goals but will give him some sense of how well he could do in 2018.
“I am excited to compete in PyeongChang over the next two seasons. The organisers there have already put on one great World Cup event and it is shaping up to look like a really great Paralympics coming up there. I am confident that I will be able to continue to improve and have a great Games.”
The 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships will gather the 135 of the world’s best biathletes and cross-country skiers from 25 countries.