United States Biathlon has a new man in charge for the first time in 17 years ©USBA

The United States Biathlon Association (USBA) has confirmed Jack Gierhart as chief executive in what officials believe will be "a new era for the sport".

Gierhart took the role on an interim basis in September last year when his predecessor Max Cobb left to become the International Biathlon Union's secretary general.

Cobb had joined the USBA in 1989 and had been President and chief executive since 2006. 

New man Gierhart had previously been chief executive of USA Sailing and also headed USA Fencing as interim boss for a year.

"He will be an integral part in driving the organisation's 2030 plan to grow the sport of biathlon in the United States by recruiting and developing top talent," US Biathlon co-chair Bob Hall said.

Biathlon became part of the Olympic programme when the Winter Games were held on American snow at Squaw Valley in 1960, but so far the United States has not won a medal in the sport.

US Biathlon is hoping that the course at Lake Placid, renovated for the Winter World University Games held in January, will become an international venue and help the development of more American biathletes.

New US Biathlon chief executive Jack Gierhart was previously in charge of USA Sailing for ten years ©USBA
New US Biathlon chief executive Jack Gierhart was previously in charge of USA Sailing for ten years ©USBA

"The 2030 plan aims to result in more podium finishes for US biathletes in the World Cup and Olympic areas," Hall added.

Gierhart said: "I am extremely honoured to continue working with our incredible staff and Board to grow the sport and win our first Olympic medal.

"The foundation is in place, we have momentum and there is a clear path to deliver on our 2030 plan.

"We have all the ingredients, a united and generous community, committed partners, an enthusiastic Board and Foundation and a partnership with our athletes that is going to grow and prove incredibly powerful."

Gierhart has been chosen for the full time role after an extensive search.

"We have been so fortunate to have Max Cobb's leadership for the past three decades and a change of leadership at the United States Biathlon Association is not something that we have experienced in our modern era," USBA athlete representative Rachel Steer said.