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6 Months From Winter Games, Vermont Olympian Deep in Training

Susan Dunklee of Barton is looking to build on recent successes in biathlon

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games start in six months, and an Olympian from Vermont is hard at work on her training.

"It's coming up fast," said biathlete Susan Dunklee of Barton.

Dunklee trains at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, generally six days a week, she said.

"It's a year-round job," she said of her training.

The 31-year-old was one of the earliest qualifiers for Team USA, and with the six-month countdown to the games now underway, she is looking to build on her recent success in the world of biathlon.

The incredibly demanding sport has athletes racing on cross-country skis, then steadying their breathing to hit targets with rifles.

"So, if you run up 10 flights of stairs as fast as you can, then try to thread a needle, that's kind of what it's like," Dunklee said, explaining the physically demanding challenge of her sport.

Dunklee has represented the U.S. in the 2014 Winter Olympics, and in World Cup competitions.

With her silver at the worlds in February, she became the first American woman to ever medal in individual biathlon.

"The U.S. has never won an Olympic medal in biathlon," Dunklee told NBC Boston. "I think we're the one winter sport that has never done that. And so that's definitely going to put some pressure on us."

In addition to shooting at the target ranges at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Dunklee said she also runs and uses ski trainers, focusing on endurance, cardio capacity, and control when it comes to shooting skills, such as trigger pressure.

"The trick is, how do you perform well when it counts the most," Dunklee observed.

Susan Dunklee will test herself on the biggest stage in her sport in February.

NBC and its sister networks are the broadcast home of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

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