Wellesley Congratulates First Alumna U.S. Olympian

February 9, 2018

When the 2018 Olympic Winter Games open in Pyeongchang, South Korea, 242 athletes will represent the United States. Of those, 139 Americans will be first-time Olympians—including one Wellesley alumna.

Clare Egan ’10 will make her Olympic debut for the United States in biathlon, an event that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, two challenging and notably different disciplines. But Wellesley’s first U.S. Olympian has always juggled diverse interests.

“As a college-bound high school senior, I opted for Division III over Division I so that I could have more variety in my schedule,” Egan told the U.S. Olympic Committee in the run-up to the games. In addition to running varsity cross-country and track at Wellesley, Egan founded the Wellesley Nordic Ski Club, sang in the college choir, traveled often, worked full-time in the summers, and spent her junior year abroad.

Still the only cross-country runner in Wellesley program history to claim conference runner and rookie of the year titles and Seven Sisters individual champion honors in the same season (2006), Egan later became Wellesley’s first outdoor track and field All-American in the 1,500-meter run in 2010. That same year, she was also the first woman to represent Wellesley at the NCAA skiing championships.

Spending her junior year abroad granted Egan one more year of NCAA eligibility—and she took full advantage. After Wellesley, she ran, skied, and studied linguistics at the University of New Hampshire, where her skiing prowess caught the attention of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, where she honed her skills, completing her first biathlon in 2013. She was named to the U.S. biathlon development team in 2014.

“To be one of the best in the United States is amazing,” said Eva Paradiso ’20, a current member of both the varsity cross-country team and the Nordic Ski Club. “It is really inspiring to know that a Wellesley alumna has qualified for the Olympics.”

“[Biathlon] is a challenge unlike any other,” added Paradiso. “It attracts high-achieving athletes and people looking for an extra mental challenge. I think that if you can succeed at Wellesley, you can do anything!”

The first of 11 biathlon events during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games begins on February 10, with Egan competing in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint.

Egan will join alumnae Colette Flesch ’60, who represented Luxembourg in fencing in 1960, 1964, and 1968, and Isheau Wong ’11, who represented Chinese Taipei in equestrian during the Rio 2016 games, as Wellesley’s third Olympian.

Caption: Clare Egan '10 skis in a biathlon event