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Q&A With Olympic Athlete Lanny Barnes

Q&A With Olympic Athlete Lanny Barnes

We know Competitive Shooters for their skill and talent on the range. But, what do they do when they’re not on the range? Let’s find out. Freedom Journal veteran Gabby Franco shares her one-on-one interview with American Olympic Biathlete Lanny Barnes as she shares the other side of shooting sport athletes.

Throughout my competitive shooting career I have had the pleasure of meeting and befriending some amazing people. Many of which are fellow competitive shooters.

As athletes we’re often defined by the sport we participate in but what many may not realize is what else we’re interested in when we aren’t on the field, on the court, or at the shooting range.

I recently had the pleasure to interview American Olympic Biathlete Lanny Barnes who’s been a part of Team USA since 2004. Over the course of her successful athletic career, Lanny has proven her skill and athleticism in cross country skiing and marksmanship to the world. Now she’s sharing her latest venture to the masses – as an artist.

(Photo courtesy/Shooting Sports USA)

Who introduced you to shooting?
My dad was the one who introduced me to shooting. He was a big hunter and loved to shoot. He had three girls and that didn't stop him from passing on his love of hunting and shooting to us. We started shooting BB guns and bows when we were about seven  and our passion for competition was always fueled by the offer from my dad for a quarter for whoever hit the bullseye. Needless to say that kept all three of us girls practicing when we were little. 

When did you start competing in Biathlon? Why that sport? 
I started biathlon my freshman year in college. We were competing in Smallbore prone competitions in middle school and doing well at it. Unfortunately we were doing everything you shouldn't be doing at one of those matches. While everyone else would be sitting still trying to calm their heart rate down between bouts, we would be juggling a soccer ball and chugging Gatorade. A man who had been working with the biathlon team at the time pulled us aside and told us that we should take a look at biathlon and how it might be more of our kind of sport. We tried it out a few months later and fell in love with it. Biathlon seemed to be the perfect fit for two girls who liked to shoot while on the run.

Tell me about your dream to become an Olympian. 
Tracy (my twin) and I had always had the dream of becoming an Olympian. Our dream when we were kids was to go to the Olympics for Soccer and we were pushing to do that. At first biathlon was a great way for us to stay in shape for soccer during the winter, but we fell in love with it and decided that Biathlon was the sport in which we wanted to represent the U.S. in the Olympics in. 

(Photos courtesy/Lanny Barnes)

I have seen your art work, and it is amazing! When did you start?
I have been interested in art since I was very young. I never took any formal schooling but it has always been a passion and it is the only thing that can keep me in a chair for longer than five minutes. It also helped get me through those long months competing in Europe away from home and sitting in a hotel room. I became a professional artist in 2000 and have done a lot of commissioned pieces for people which has   helped fund my Olympic career with my artwork. In the beginning Tracy and I would drive up to Quebec, Canada from Fort Kent, Maine where we trained and sold my artwork on the streets. Definitely humble beginnings but Tracy and I had fun and learned a lot in the process.

Has your experience in the shooting sports inspired you or helped you with your art work? Where else do you find inspiration for your artwork? 
My experience in shooting sports and hunting has inspired a lot of my artwork. I have a very busy schedule with my shooting that I really have to be efficient with my artwork because I am somewhat of a perfectionist. So I have really taken the time to hone my skills and develop my techniques in art to try and portray the right style and quality in my work. I do a lot of wildlife in my artwork and that has been inspired by my hunting experiences and all the amazing things I have seen in the wild while pursuing game. Besides that, a lot of my inspiration comes from other people and wanting to do something for them that will capture a memory or something that means a lot to them. I really enjoy sharing my art with others.

How long does it take you to finish a print? 
It is different for every piece. Some take longer than others. If I have the time I can hammer a piece out in a few days working non-stop. But I prefer to take my time and that can take weeks.

(Photo courtesy/Lanny Barnes)

Lanny's art work is amazingly beautiful and unique. You can purchase some of her prints at www.theolympianartist.com, or email her at [email protected]


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