Who Is Kari Swenson (Kidnapped Biathlete) Bio, Wiki, Age, Family, Veterinarian, Story, Podcast, Movie


Kari Swenson Biography

Kari Swenson is a veterinarian in Bozeman, MT and former biathlete. Her career was cut short in 1984 when she was abducted by a deranged father and son in the mountains of Montana, tied to a tree, and shot, as her friend died trying to save her. 

Kari Swenson Age

Kari is 57 years old; she was born in 1962 in Philadelphia.

Kari Swenson Family

Kari was born to Bob Swenson and Janet Swenson. His father is a former head of the Physics Department at Temple University and head of the Physics Department at Montana State University. Her mother was a nurse and ski patrol volunteer. She has two siblings.

Kari Swenson Biathlons

Swenson competed in biathlons, a kind of winter race which combines cross-country skiing and shooting targets with a small-bore rifle. In 1980 she was recruited for the first U.S. women’s program, alongside two athletes named Holly Beattie and Julie Newnam, with whom she would later break records.

In 1984 the trio won a bronze medal at the first women’s Biathlon World Championships. She placed fifth overall in the women’s 10 kilometer race, making her the best ranked American biathlete, of either sex, in nearly three decades of international competition. She retired in 1986 after she competed in the 1986 biathlon competition in Oslo, Norway where she finished fourth.

In 2015, Kari and her 1984 teammates Holly Beattie and Julie Newnam were inducted into the U.S. Biathlon Hall of Fame.

Kari Swenson Veterinarian – Kari Swenson Now

Kari works as a veterinarian at Gallatin Veterinary Hospital in Bozeman. She graduated from MSU in 1984 with an undergraduate degree in Microbiology.

Kari Swenson Story – The Abduction of Kari Swenson

On July 15, 1984 Kari was abducted by Don Nichols, 53, and his 19-year-old son Dan while she was on a training run on a logging road near the Big Sky resort in Bozeman. The two had spent a good part of the past 12 years living on the mountain range in makeshift camps. During court testimony it was revealed that Don had purchased a large chain in order to “secure” a wife sometime in the future. The men grabbed Swenson, carted her to their latest site, wrapped her in a sleeping bag, and chained her to a pine tree.

When Kari did not return home a search party was organized Volunteers split off in twos to scout along the woods. One pair involved 30-year-old Jim Schwalbe, a landscaper from Wisconsin, and Alan Goldstein, a 36-year-old retailer-turned-rancher. The two got separated and then Schwalbe heard a gunshot, a scream, and three voices, one female, two male. He broke through to the camp and found two men standing above Swenson, who was bleeding from the chest.

The older Nichols pointed his rifle at Schwalbe, when Goldstein arrived on site and tried to intervene. Don Nichols fired, hitting Goldstein in the face, as Schwalbe sprinted away. The Nichols packed up their camp, unchained Swenson, and abandoned her to bleed out. A helicopter found her at 11:55 a.m.

The kidnappers were caught in December 1984 and were tried separately. In 1985 Dan Nichols was sentenced to 10 years in prison for kidnapping and misdemeanor assault. In September 1985, Don Nichols was sentenced to 85 years for kidnapping, murder, and aggravated assault. The younger Nichols was released on parole in 1991, after serving his 10 years.

Don Nichols was was granted parole on April 27, 2017 after seving 32 years of his sentence. He was released from prison on August 23, 2017.

Kari Swenson 30 for 30 Podcast

ESPN’s “30 for 30” project will drop four audio documentaries with one including Swenson titled ‘Out of the Woods’. It will tackle the news, about how the cycle can make myth out of tragedy, and at times, obscure those at the center of it.

Kari Swenson Movie

On March 8, 1987 NBC produced and aired a two-hour made-for-TV drama titled “The Abduction of Kari Swenson” starring Tracy Pollan as the lead. Kari contributed as a technical advisor during production and also filmed her own ski sequences.

Her story was also featured on Investigation Discovery in the TV series Your Worst Nightmare, season 3, episode 9 titled “Into the Wild” premiering on February 11, 2017.

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