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Jobe still appraising the Olympic experience

JAMIE BALL

Eighteen years ago, Glenn Jobe set his sights on small targets along the great cross-country trails of Europe and America. Today, he aims to find the highest and best use of a property.

Born and raised in Northern California, Jobe, a 24-year Tahoe and Truckee resident, rose to greatness in a sport revered in Europe and often-ignored in America.

A member of the 1980 Olympic biathlon team in Lake Placid, N.Y., and alternate for the 1984 Sarajevo Games, Jobe credits his time spent growing up on a farm for his interest in shooting.

“Our saying was, ‘if it moves, shoot it; if it doesn’t move, shoot it until it does,'” joked Jobe.

European domination

Biathlon was introduced to Olympic competition at Squaw Valley in the 1960 Games.

Since its inception, the sport has been typically dominated by Russian and German competitors, a fact attributed to the requirements of all males in those countries to enter the military.

Cross-country skiing and rifle shooting are taught to all military trainees, a tradition which has led to the overwhelming number of Olympic favorites from Eastern Europe each year.

“In the USA, we had 30 people trying out for five Olympic spots,” said Jobe. “The Soviets had 60,000 trying out for the same number of spots.”

When he was tapped to go to the Olympics, Jobe said he was “elated.”

“The first thing I did was call my mom and dad and my wife from the trials in Mt. St. Anne in Quebec,” said Jobe.

Jobe finished 37th in the 1980 Games, and went on to become U.S. National Biathlon champion in 1981.

Jobe understands his sport goes largely unnoticed in America while Europeans make living gods of cross-country skiers.

“When I skied in 1980, it was the largest sport in the world,” said Jobe. “In Europe we had 40,000 to 60,000 spectators at a single race, but in the U.S., we were lucky if we could find somebody to time us.”

Off the track, Jobe is credited with founding and developing the cross-country ski areas at both Kirkwood and Tahoe Donner.

Shifting gears

Twelve years ago, he moved to Truckee and has since worked as a real estate appraiser.

He said he got into appraisal because of the difficulty in making a living at ski instruction.

“If I could make a living just coaching, I’d do it,” said Jobe.

Still, he enjoys his work.

“It’s a balance,” Jobe said.

Jobe also devotes a lot of time to working with Far West skiers and the Tahoe-Truckee High School nordic ski team.

He said he still competes in master’s and other cross-country races from time to time.

Looking at the 20-year-old athletes at the 1998 Nagano Games, Jobe reflects on the difference 18 years can make.

“We weren’t what you would call confident on the verge of cockiness,” said Jobe, who noted Truckee’s cross-country Olympian Marcus Nash typifies the

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