Newell Wins World Cup Tune-up Sprint in Sweden
Andy Newell dominated the final loop to capture Moras annual Oktobersprint in sluggish, slow snow conditions in Sweden. Teammate Torin Koos led the quarterfinal and semifinal heats of the classic technique race, but Newell took charge on the final uphill and breezed to victory over the last few hundred meters; Koos finished fourth.
The 1,200-meter course consisted of snow which had been stockpiled last winter and then covered with wood chips to preserve it through the summer.
The sprint was a final tuneup for the World Cup season, which begins Saturday in Dusseldorf, Germany. Newell and Koos, who each has produced a World Cup top-three result in the last two seasons, will be the U.S. entries. They have been training in a ski tunnel in nearby Torsby, an indoor facility where special refrigeration pipes provide weatherproof, near-winter conditions.
"The trainings gone very well and, perhaps just as important, the guys have stayed healthy," U.S. Sprint Coach Chris Grover said Monday. "This was a cool event, especially with snow from last season. The guys had poor start positions for the prologue [the time trial which determined the final 16 skiers in the round of heats], but they powered through to qualify.
Koos was unstoppable in the first two rounds, leading both his quarterfinal and semifinal heats, with Newell second in each of his heats. "Torin ran out of gas in the A Final but that was when Andy stepped up and skied away from everyone on the final uphill," added Grover. Newell double-poled to the finish over the last 250-300 meters. The field had several quality sprinters including World Cup podium finishers Fredrik and Mikael Oestberg, and Anders Hoegberg.
Rain the night before and 50-degree weather created sloppy conditions, but the Mora organizers did an outstanding job in staging the sprints. The U.S. Ski Team looked at it as a hard training day and a chance to get a real good workout before Dusseldorf.
The U.S. athletes leave at midweek for Germany with the individual sprint Saturday and a team sprint, with each of the two skiers alternating loops, on Sunday. The season-opening races are among the highlights of the World Cup, attracting crowds well in excess of 100,000 each day, according to organizers.
Paralympic Champion Cook Retires; Will Develop Disabled Program
Paralympic and world championships gold medalist and former World Cup champion Steve Cook has retired. Cook, who was the cornerstone of the U.S. Disabled Cross Country Ski Team for the better part of a decade, will take on the responsibility of developing a disabled Nordic development program.
After losing his right leg below the knee in a 1988 farm accident, Cook started mountain bike racing in 1990, switched to road cycling in 93 and made the 96 Summer Paralympic Team (where he was fifth in Velodrome and seventh in the road race).
As a cross-training workout, he added cross country skiing to his quiver in 95 and rapidly surged to the top of the sport, gaining seven Paralympic medals, including double gold in 2006 with victories in both the 5K freestyle and 10K classic and a U.S.-record four medals (all silvers) at the 2002 Paralympics in Utah.
Cook earned 14 medals (five gold) at the last five major championships. He clinched the 2005 World Cup title at Fort Kent, Maine, in the season-ending World Championships, which doubled as World Cup races, by winning two gold and a bronze.
"Hes been the backbone of this Team since 98," said Disabled Cross Country Head Coach Jon Kreamelmeyer. "Along with Willie [Stewart, retired 04] and Crenny [Mike Crenshaw, retired 06], Cookie took the Team to a different level - they set the tone for what was going to take place over the next 10 years. Hes certainly going to be missed."
According to Kreamelmeyer, who coached Cook through his entire 11-year international ski career, the team will miss his competitiveness, sense of humor and leadership in the standup discipline.
"He was the model of a true competitor," he said, "Cook was a brown-bag guy who always showed up ready. He never offered excuses and always looked for the positives even if he had a horrible race."
But even more so, Cook was a team player, explained Kreamelmeyer. "He would always say, We did a great job today, when he hit the podium. To me, thats a true indicator of what an outstanding character and competitor he was. As much as he deserved it, he hated the individual spotlight and never was comfortable talking about himself."
Cook closed the 2006 season with four World Cup podiums, including three wins, good enough to finish as runner-up in the overall title race and earn him U.S. Disabled Athlete of the Year honors from his peers.
Starting a new chapter in his athletic career, Cook has been hired by the National Ability Center in Park City, UT, and tasked with developing a disabled Nordic program designed to help feed the U.S. development pipeline. He will also continue his longtime employment with Sages Way, a low-water, sustainable landscape business in Utah.
"Im sure well see him around," said Kreamelmeyer, "Ill definitely utilize him as a coach whenever possible. Hes certainly not leaving the sport."
USSA Announces US Distance Races Headed to Fairbanks
The 2008 U.S. Cross Country Championships will conclude with long-distance races on a rugged course at the Birch Hill Recreation Area in Fairbanks, Alaska. U.S. Nordic Director said the races will take place March 28-30.
"The 30 and 50 km courses in Fairbanks will be the most challenging physical test of the entire domestic season, and will be the toughest race many of the competitors will ever participate in," Bodensteiner said.
The U.S. Championships will begin January 1-6, with sprints and 5-15 km distances at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Facility in Houghton, Michigan.
The races again will double as SuperTour competitions, with each U.S. championship race counting as double SuperTour points. A special ingredient in this seasons championships will be staging the pursuit races March 28 under the lights at Birch Hill.
The pursuit distances are 15 km classic and 15 km freestyle for the men and 7.5 km legs for the women. On Sunday, March 30, the men will ski at 50 km classic and the women will cover 30 km.
In addition, Bodensteiner said there will be two days of midweek racing preceding the Fairbanks events for a Spring Series-style finale. This will also give local junior racers an additional opportunity to gain experience against the nations best skiers.
"The long-distance races are a great way to close the season, "Bodensteinr said. "Weve struggled for many years trying to find the best way to incorporate the womens 30K and mens 50K into the national championships, either as a stand-alone race in the spring or during the championships in January.
"In both cases we experienced many top athletes deciding not to take part in the competition, because of either the physical demands of racing such a long distance during the heart of the competition season, or because traveling for a stand-alone competition wasnt practical.
"With the recent development of the pursuit into a long-distance race, its become a perfect companion to the 30/50K races. The pursuit allows our athletes to shift these races - which require a lot of recovery time - to the end of the season. Last season was a great debut for this new program, and Fairbanks is poised to solidify it as a great new feature on our national calendar."
Johnson, Hendrickson Win Lake Placid Jumping Events
Anders Johnson and Nick Alexander dominated the ski jumping over the weekend at the annual Flaming Leaves meet at the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, New York.
Johnson, a 2006 Olympian, won Saturdays event with jumps of 101 and 97 meters, good for 263.5 points. Alexander, who trains in Lake Placid with the New York Ski Education Foundation, went 99.5 and 98.5m (257.5 points) for second place. Kyle Lockhart completed the podium in third.
Sunday, Alexander won, compiling 235.0 points, with Johnson second at 233.5 points. In third place was Blake Hughes with 218.0 points.
The womens podium was the same for both Saturday and Sunday, with Sarah Hendrickson in first place, Tara Geraghty-Moats in second and Nina Lussi third.
Saturdays competition was organized by Lake Placids Olympic Regional Development Authority, while NYSEF put on Sundays meet.
New Zealand Camp, Tailored Programs Basis of U.S. Team Training
U.S. Ski Team athletes found midwinter snow for cross country training again in New Zealand while some teammates fine-tuned their own training with their grassroots club or personal coach at home.
The annual U.S. Ski Team camp at The Snow Farm was blessed with a storm shortly after the Ski Team arrived in late July, providing "great conditions," according to Sprint Coach Chris Grover. "It was definitely thin [cover] when we got down there, but then we had a day-and-a-half snowstorm - the winds were so high at one point they couldnt even groom - and then it was plenty of snow, blue skies, cold temps...really good conditions for another successful camp."
The camp included former Olympians and several members of the U.S. Ski Team and the U.S. Development Team.
"There are so many different ways to ski and train, and theres more than one way to get the job done," said Andy Newell, Olympian and U.S. Ski Team member. "You need to have confidence in what youre doing, and what Im doing this year is some new strength training. I dont think any other cross country skier is doing this kind of aggressive strength work, but [Conditioning Coach] Zach Weatherford has helped my skiing so much over the years, and hes made me faster every year, so Im taking a little change and doing more strength training.
"Really, this is one of the great ways the Ski Team works now, at least with the older guys," Newell added. "As you get older with the national team, you should learn from your training, from keeping your training logs - and my logs go back to my first year at Stratton [Mountain School], back to 1997-98. You learn how your body reacts to different kinds of training...and were personalizing our training more. [Torin] Koos and [Chris] Cook and I go to New Zealand, Kris [Freeman] stays home, Kikkan [Randall] trains on the glacier in Alaska. We work with the national staff but also with our own coaches at home.
Grover said the camp also helps lay the groundwork for the Teams final preseason camp with everyone in Lake Placid, New York, in October. Newell and Koos will head to Europe for the season-opening World Cup races Oct. 27-28 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Chris Cook will rejoin his club program with Idahos Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and the others will resume training with their clubs in conjunction with the U.S. Ski Team.
Ski Jumping Summer Series Ends with Utah Doubleheader
The summer phase of the womens ski jumping Continental Cup schedule came to a wild finish under the lights Sunday night at Utah Olympic Park following a rare two-meets-in-a-day lineup.
The doubleheader schedule was required because erratic winds Saturday night pushed that competition into Sunday morning.
During the summer series, jumpers land on plastic matting covering the hill. When sprayed with water, the mat simulates snowy conditions.
Austrian Daniela Iraschko, the Continental Cup points leader, won both events Sunday. Anette Sagen of Norway, the defending Cup champion, was second in each meet, finishing a half-point back under the lights Sunday.
Jessica Jerome and Alissa Johnson had the top U.S. performances in the morning; Jerome tied for sixth place while Johnson, back in action after suffering an ankle sprain in Germany last month, was eighth. At night, Lindsey Van was the best American, finishing ninth.
"The girls were so close - I saw a lot I liked, especially in the second competition. And now we have three months to prepare even better," said Kjell Ivar Magnusson, U.S. head coach. "I know them better and we have time to make a stronger individual plan for each of them. That starts [at a Team meeting Monday]."
"It was so frustrating," Jerome said after the first event as winds created numerous holds in the action. "Yeah, its an outside sport, and we know these things can happen, but...arrrrghhhh!"
Van, number three in the standings last season and second the two previous years, felt good about her final jump, which moved her up three spots into the top 10 at night, but said, "Im really looking forward to these next three months, dialing-in my technique and jumping."
The Continental Cup schedule, the highest level of womens jumping, resumes on the snow, Dec. 11-12 in Notodden, Norway.
Another overflow crowd - attracted by the mid-afternoon sunshine and the variety of events (and free admission) - turned out for the second day in a row. Several hundred watched the morning jump meet, but a couple of thousand spectators sprawled on the out-run grass, at picnic tables and throughout the Utah Olympic Park jumping complex.
CONTINENTAL CUP WOMENS SKI JUMPING
Visa Womens International Ski Jumping Festival
Utah Olympic Park
Park City, Utah - Sept. 2, 2007
HS100 (jump distances in meters)
Morning meet (postponed from Saturday)
1. Daniela Iraschko, Austria, (96.5-85 meters) 226.5 points
2. Anette Sagen, Norway, (103-87) 216.0
3. Jacqueline Seifriedsberger, Norway, (91.5-82.5) 215.0
4. Nata de Leeuw, Canada, (90.5-83.5) 210.5
5. Salome Fuchs, Switzerland, (91.5-80.5) 203.5
6T. Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT, (85-82.5)
8. Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT, (89-78.5) 190.5
12. Avery Ardovino, Park City, UT, (86-74) 176.5
13. Lindsey Van, Park City, UT, (85.5-70) 169.0
15. Brenna Ellis, Park City, UT, (82.5-67) 151.5
25. Karin Friberg, Roseville, MN, (64-58) 90.0
26. Elisabeth Anderson, Eau Claire, WI, (61.5-54) 73.0
1. Daniela Iraschko, Austria, (79-99.5) 221.5
2. Anette Sagen, Norway, (80.5-99) 221.0
3. Nata de Leeuw, Canada, (82.5-93) 215.0
4. Salome Fuchs, Switzerland, (82-92) 208.0
5. Jacqueline Seifriedsberger, Austria, (79-93.5) 205.0
9. Lindsey Van, Park City, UT, (73.5-88.5) 188.5
12. Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT, (72.5-88.5) 180.5
13. Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT, (75-85.5) 177.0
15. Avery Ardovino, Park City, UT, (74.5-81.5) 168.5
20. Brenna Ellis, Park City, UT, (69.5-76.5) 147.0
25. (tie) Elisabeth Anderson, Eau Claire, WI, (61.5-67) and
Karin Friberg, Roseville, MN, (61.5-69.5) 101.5 each
For complete results:
Utah to Host 2008 U.S. Jumping, Combined
Utahs Olympic sites will host the mens and womens 2008 U.S. jumping and combined championships on March 15-16, USSA Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner announced.
Events on the 134-meter large hill are set for March 15 and those on the 100-meter normal hill take place March 16. The Nordic combined championship, a sprint event, will include one jump on the large hill and a 7.5 kilometer race March 15 at Soldier Hollow.
"These are outstanding venues," Bodensteiner said, "and its good we have another opportunity to make use of them. Theyre outstanding facilities for us in training and we use them constantly."
In 2001, the last time the championships were held in Utah, Bill Demong won his first two national titles and Lindsey Van won both of the womens competitions. Last season, Demong returned from the World Cup with another victory and from the World Championships with a silver medal. He swept both U.S. jumping titles and the Nordic combined championship, while Van again won both womens events. She has won four consecutive U.S. womens crowns.
U.S. Women Jumpers in Lake Placid, Park City
The top women ski jumpers in the world - including the six-member U.S. Ski Team - will be in Lake Placid Aug. 28-29 for two days of Continental Cup jumping at the 1980 Olympic Jumping Complex. The team, led by 12-time U.S. champion Lindsey Van, then moves to the 2002 Olympic venue in Park City, Utah, as the summer competition period concludes Sept. 1-2.
Continental Cup is the highest level of competition for women jumpers, who will debut at the World Championships in 2009 in Liberec, Czech Republic. They hope to be included in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Van has been ranked in the top three of the Continental Cup standings for all three seasons of the tours existence. She was second in 2005 and 06, then third last season when she won three events and made four other podium appearances.
First-year Head Coach Kjell Ivar Magnusson expects the U.S. women to be very competitive because of their familiarity with the two Olympic venues, which will be the biggest hills the women have competed on thus far in the 2008 season
"Were excited about getting these two jumping competitions in Lake Placid," U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said. "Weve got a bigger team this season and they have a new coach, whos got them making some advances with their technique, and theyre all anxious to do well as they come to the United States after opening the season in Europe."
In addition to Van, who won both womens jumping events in Lake Placid during Fourth of July festivities, the U.S. Ski Team includes Alissa Johnson, Jessica Jerome, Abby Hughes, Brenna Ellis and Avery Ardovino, who collected her first top-five result in Bischofsgruen, Germany, when she was fifth this month.
Quincy Named USSA Medical DIrector
Richard Quincy has been named medical director for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, according to USSA president and CEO Bill Marolt. As medical director, he will oversee the health and well-being of more than 200 national team athletes plus medical programs supporting their needs, including supervision of USSAs unique physicians pool.
Quincy, who was born in Decatur, IL, completed his undergraduate work at Colorado College and his master of science in exercise physiology at Michigan Technological University. He received a degree in physical therapy from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and is working toward a Ph.D. in sports psychology at San Diego University of Integrative Studies. He replaces Melinda Roalstad, who resigned in December as USSAs first fulltime medical director.
"Our medical program is an important asset for our USSA elite athletes," said Marolt. "The ability for USSA to provide emergency and ongoing medical care programs for our teams is a valuable service. Were excited to have Quincy take over leadership of this strong program."
Quincy said, "This position brings a huge responsibility with lots of preparation for emergency management. Its imperative to have systems in place and resources available when necessary. Most people dont think about the preparation thats involved so when its needed, its seamless and not a crisis."
The physician pool consists of about 200 physicians and surgeons, who provide on-site medical assistance as they travel with each team to training camps and competitions. Quincy will work with renowned surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman, who heads the USSAs medical committee, to manage the innovative program.
Dr. Larry Gaul of Vail, CO, a cardiologist and longtime team physician for the U.S. Nordic teams (cross country, Nordic combined, ski jumping), will be nominated to replace Roalstad on the International Ski Federation Medical Committee.
USOC Launches Olympic Website-U.S. Biathlon Sets Goal for First Medal
The U.S. Olympic Committee has launched "Amazing Awaits" ( www.amazingawaits.org ), a website previewing the 2008 Olympics, but including video from both summer and winter games. Winter sports fans will find video from the U.S. hockey victory in Lake Placid (1980) to Apolo Anton Ohnos performance in Torino (2006).
NBC has also posted a video preview at its Olympic site, www.nbcolympics.co/video .
With Beijing just a year away, the countdown to the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games is now down to just two-and-a-half years. The U.S. Biathlon Team is focusing on those Games with the goal of winning its first Olympic Medal. Tim Burke and Jay Hakkinen, having posted seventh and ninth place finishes in the 2007 Biathlon World Championships, lead the push, along with the mens relay team.
Burke recently commented on his goals for the coming season and beyond. "I am never satisfied. Even after a great race, I always look at that race and criticize it as well. I want to keep improving. I am never going to be comfortable. My number one goal is getting on the podium. I feel like I was so close a few times (in 2007) that I now have the experience where I can make that happen on those close days."
The United States Biathlon Association is the national governing body for the sport of biathlon in the United States.
USSA Reports Team Testing Progress
From on-snow training and some ocean fun in June to intense testing and roller-ski workouts, USSA coaches believe the US cross country ski team is ahead of schedule for the upcoming season.
After the third round of testing, "were ahead of where we were a year ago...and thats what we want," said head coach Pete Vordenberg. "I keep telling people, when they ask, Its only July. Lets not forget that - but, yeah, were in a good place."
The two-week camp in Park City was a solid mix of testing - the third of four preseason testing sessions - plus roller-ski workouts at the newly expanded, paved 1.5 kilometer loop at Soldier Hollow.
Vordenberg said the challenging terrain is making skiers push themselves harder to master uphill technique. The camp also was a springboard for many of the athletes who headed to New Zealand this week for the annual on-snow camp.
"Weve had a lot of good workouts, " Vordenberg said. "But the payoff is that the testing was good. It shows us weve made progress on some things and there are things we need to work on. Its time to make the transition to those other aspects of physiology. Its a good snapshot of where we are and what we need to work on next."
"This is what we do three or four times a year," said two-time Olympian Torin Koos. "We did the same tests after long-distance nationals [last March at the Maine Winter Sports Centers Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle, Maine]; we came back to Utah for three or four days and did the testing. We wanted to see how our training was holding up at the end of the season and where we can make improvements."
One of the trailing devices is an oversized treadmill in which athletes can roller-ski on a deck to measure endurance. The revolving surface - obtained after the 2006 Olympics - may be elevated to increase intensity. Nordic combined skier Bill Demong has credited the treadmill with helping him collect a silver medal at the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships last March in Japan.
"I hang on as long as I can before it spits me off the back," Koos laughed. "When we start going hard, they ratchet it up one degree for every minute; we do a lactate test...and well be crossing through the lactic acid threshold as were picking up speed...and then we go back and test again.
"The whole Ski Team is urging you on - everyones yelling, we all do it for everyone - and theres full commitment, so you dont want to let yourself or anyone else down," Koos said. "It gets intense."
Alexa Turzian, the defending U.S. 10 kilometer champion - a title she won last January during the U.S. Championships at Michigan Tech when she was a high school senior - is a new ski team member. She was pleased with the camp. "This has been my first real time to train with the team. Its been great," she said.
Vordenberg said the next camp will take place in Lake Placid, New York, in October and will include some sessions with the U.S. Nordic Combined Team.
Demong Praises 2010 Nordic Venues
World Championships Nordic combined medalist Bill Demong gives the Nordic venues for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver two thumbs up. He feels they will be "awesome" once theyre completed and organizers get to stage some test events this winter and next.
Demong, silver medalist in the individual event at last Marchs World Championships in Sapporo, Japan, was one of three athletes who made a two-day visit - at the request of VANOC (the Vancouver Organizing Committee) - to the $100 million Nordic venues in this heavily forested valley not far from the renowned alpine slopes and sliding venue ( i.e., bobsled, luge, skeleton) at Whistler resort. The 27-year-old is aiming to become only the third U.S. Nordic combined skier to compete in four Winter Games.
"The trails have been cut for cross country and combined and biathlon, and theyre putting in the steel for the jumps," he said. "Its cool now, but itll be absolutely awesome when theyre done."
John Aalberg, the two-time U.S. Olympic cross country skier who was chief of competition for the 2002 Olympic cross country races at Utahs Soldier Hollow, is Nordic director for VANOC. He spoke to more than 50 journalists on a media tour, as did John Heilig, the jumping and Nordic combined venue manager.
Also speaking was biathlon chief Max Saenger, a former Dartmouth College skier and citizen racer who helped create the Maine Winter Sports Center in Presque Isle and Fort Kent. The center has served as the site of final Cross Country SuperTour series and the long-distance title races for the U.S. Cross Country Championships the last two years.
"Its the most compact nordic site in history, with cross country, jumping and biathlon all within about a square kilometer," Demong said. "Its got this Lord of the Rings quality or personality to it. Its just a good site.
"They have this huge, old-growth forest - cedars, Douglas fir...just so beautiful, and as I came in, the sun was shining but there were clouds on the snow-capped mountains, and it really reminded me of New Zealand [where the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was filmed]."
The trails were designed by Aalberg and Hermod Bjoerkestoel, the Norwegian who worked with Aalberg in designing Soldier Hollow. Bjoerkestoel also designed the 2006 Olympic trails in Pragelato Plan for the Torino Winter Games.
"Its such a beautiful area and the tracks look great," Demong said. "Theyre technically challenging, there are speed changes, and theyve got some good climbs and some nice downhills. Its a great package, as weve come to expect from John and Hermod."
Eventually, the Olympic legacy site will have 50 kilometers of cross country trails, but 14 km of Olympic racing trails are being finished first, along with an 8 km system of warmup loops.
"Theyre about two-thirds of the way down the in-run for the big hill and they have the tower for the K90. The jumps will be about a 95-meter and a 125, about the same as Pragelato. VANOC has decided not to tear down the jumps after the Games; theyll be permanent facilities, which is outstanding," Demong said, "and Heiligs already looking at smaller, development-level jumps, maybe 18- and 30-meter hills, which would be even better."
To get an even closer look at some of the alpine terrain, although he wont be competing there, Demong hiked Whistler Mountain before leaving Vancouver. "Callaghan and Whistler have some unreal, beautiful terrain," he said.
Demongs interest in the development-level jumps had a special relativity to a camp he and former combined sprint world champion Johnny Spillane staged in Steamboat Springs earlier this month. Spillane is aiming for his fourth Olympics, The second round of development-level training camp will be held in early August at Utah Olympic Park in Park City.
"We need to get younger kids training more, and training more intensely...and this was one way to do it," he said. "If Heilig can get those smaller jumps built, it could be a good step toward helping rebuild Canadas jumping program."
Disabled Nordic Gets Wet and Dirty in Colorado
Its difficult to picture Colorados Dillon Reservoir as a top training destination for cross country skiing, especially in July. According to Jon Kreamelmeyer, head coach of the U.S. Disabled Cross Country Ski Team, its an ideal location for a summer training camp.
"Kayaking, yep, thats what we had the guys doing each morning and they were loving it," said Kreamelmeyer, who is in his 10th year at the program helm. "Theres only so many ways to get in a solid cardio for these guys without mega muscle impact, so kayaking is a perfect fit. At first I was pretty nervous about how they were going to do, but everyone did a great job. It was unanimous among the team that this was one of the best camps weve had."
Suiting up each morning for the two-hour water sessions were sit-skiers Chris Klebl; Sean Halsted, the 2007 World Cup runner-up; Bob Balk, former World Champion, and team rookie Andy Soule. The fifth member of the team, Greg Mallory, who was a member of Discovery Channels "Adventure Bhutan," a whitewater expedition to one of the most remote areas of the Himalaya, missed the camp due to sickness.
"Greg was really bummed he couldnt make this camp. He would have been a great asset," said Kreamelmeyer. "I figured the first day would be an experience, but everything was perfect. The boats were really user friendly and all the guys took to it pretty quickly. Wed paddle from 9-11 each morning and by the end of the camp, everyone was clipping along."
For Halsted, an Air Force veteran who discovered skiing after falling 40-feet from a helicopter in 98, the workout itself is just as important as adding variety to off-season training. "Were limited to the number of exercises we can do; we cant just put on running shoes and go running," he told the Summit Daily News following a morning workout.
After lunch, the team moved to lower elevations for what Kreamelmeyer called an "off-road" roller-skiing workout using modified mountain boards along the Williams Fork River, a rarely traveled dirt road outside of Frisco.
"We found a six-mile section of dirt road along the river that was just the right consistency for the guys. Chris [Klebl] said it was the best dirt roller-skiing hes ever done and he considers himself somewhat of a dirt connoisseur after all the roads hes found in Utah. We got pretty dusty, but its the low impact of dirt that makes it perfect for training, plus we saw maybe two cars during each session, so there was minimal distraction."
Also included in the week-long camp was a road trip to the U.S. Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado Springs for a biathlon segment. With four rifles on loan from Soldier Hollow, athletes worked through the fundamentals at the OTCs indoor range.
"Its important for us to mix things up," said Kreamelmeyer. "Obviously, wed like to be on snow more; there is no substitute for the real thing. But when that isnt possible, we try to train creatively and effectively. We also ran exercises with medicine balls at the Olympic Training Center and that, coupled with the biathlon, roller-skiing and kayaking helps to build team unity."
The team will regroup again in early November with a testing camp in Park City, Utah. Klebl, who finished second in the World Cup standings last season, has opted for New Zealand for three weeks of on-snow training - his sights fixed on ousting World Cup winner Irek Zaripov of Russia next winter.
Soldier Hollow Roller Ski Loop Expands
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association is partnering with Soldier Hollow, the 2002 Olympic cross country venue, paying most of the cost for a new roller ski loop as part of the USSA Center of Excellence. After only a couple of training sessions on it, U.S. cross country and Nordic combined skiers are raving about the intensity and effort required to conquer the "gnarly" uphill route as they prepare for the coming season.
The new 1.5 kilometer roller ski track, which opened in mid-July, boosts Soldier Hollows blacktopped roller-ski terrain to about 7.5 kilometers.
"Its not very often you have a hill that steep," said 2007 SuperTour sprint champion Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA), who became the first U.S. woman to medal at the Under-23 World Championships last winter. After winning nine sprints on the SuperTour and competing at the World Championships in Japan, she was silver medalist in the sprint at the U-23s in Italy.
The newly paved section adds more spice to the training landscape at Soldier Hollow and, she said, "Its a good hill - you can get your heart rate going up. The steep pitch at the top is pretty rough."
U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said, "We have good training terrain at Soldier Hollow and in the Park City area, but the one thing we havent had is that one, tough uphill trail - but this is about as tough as well ever see. This really enhances the roller-ski training...and it helps keep them off the road during some of their roller-ski training, which adds to their safety.
He said the USSA partnership with Soldier Hollow - helping in the design and helping underwrite design, construction and paving of the loop - is a part of the increased USSA support for cross country in recent seasons.
Said Head Coach Pete Vordenberg, "This is not a roller-ski loop for recreational skiers looking for a nice Sunday stroll, but its pretty close to perfect for elite athletes and strong development skiers."
"This adds more great terrain for us. Thats always good," said two-time Olympian Torin Koos. "I like to get as much terrain as possible. When youre roller skiing on the roads, its hard to find anything more than six degrees. Theyre usually long, gradual uphills, so having a loop, which is effectively paving over the ski trail, gives us what we need.
"Ill use it mostly in interval workouts," i.e., high-speed, short-burst drills to increase quickness, "but its just good to have it to mix things around, give you something different," said Koos, the 2005 U.S. sprint champion who produced the first World Cup podium of his career last season in Estonia.
USSA Breaks Ground on Training Center
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association broke ground Wednesday on its $22.5 million Center of Excellence - "the most significant event in our 102-year history," according to USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said the national training and education center will be "unlike anything else in the world today" as athletes prepare for more Olympic success.
"No national governing body has anything to rival this Center of Excellence," World Championships medalist and three-time Olympian Bill Demong told a sun-bathed gathering of several hundred. "And, speaking as an athlete, this will be something extra special to help accelerate our drive for greater athletic success."
Demong and an array of U.S. Olympic skiing and snowboarding athletes, including Olympic champion Ted Ligety, joined the governor, Marolt and Park City Mayor Dana Williams in a symbolic dirt-turning ceremony.
The Center of Excellence, due for completion in 2009, is expected to be the cornerstone for greater U.S. skiing and snowboarding success at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia "and beyond," Marolt said.
The U.S. Ski Team established a national alpine and nordic training center in former silver mining buildings at then-Park City Ski Area in 1973. The Center of Excellence will be a three-story structure with not only physical training facilities - aerials and snowboard ramps and tramps area, strength work, gymnasium, recovery room - as well as a cardio center, nutrition center, equipment and research areas, sports medicine facilities and communications facilities that will enable members of the USSAs 400-plus grassroots clubs nationwide to have online access to real-time video and presentations.
The center is funded with private donations from a campaign undertaken in 1999. The campaign is adding $1 million a year to the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. snowboarding programs. The USSA is also partnering with Soldier Hollow - the Olympic cross country venue in nearby Midway - for expansion of training facilities, including a newly paved high-level uphill trail for intensive workouts.
Demong, Spillane Lead 2008 Nordic Combined Team
World Championships silver medalist Bill Demong and former sprint world champion Johnny Spillane - the only two U.S. skiers to earn a World Championships or Olympic medal in ordic combined - top a ten-member U.S. Nordic Combined Team for 2008.
"Were really happy with the path weve chosen for Nordic combined, which is leading us to 2010 [Olympics] in Vancouver," U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said. "Billys in a great spot after his medal at the World Championships and already has his sights set on even bigger achievements, and now that Johnnys healthy, we expect him to come back quickly to where he was when he was winning at the top level."
The 2008 Nordic combined team (including date of birth, hometown and club program; * indicates Olympian):
Brett Camerota (1/9/85; Park City, UT; National Sports Foundation)*
Eric Camerota (1/9/85; Park City, UT; National Sports Foundation)*
Bill Demong (3/29/80; Vermontville, NY; Lake Placid Ski Club/Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)*
Johnny Spillane (11/24/80; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)*
Bryan Fletcher (6/27/86; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
Alex Glueck (11/9/82; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
Willy Graves (9/10/86; Putney, VT; Putney Ski Club/National Sports Academy)
Skyler Keate (11/13/87; Salt Lake City; National Sports Foundation)
Alex Miller (12/24/85; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
Davis Miller (12/24/85; Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
Demong, a three-time Olympian, became only the second American to medal at the Olympics or World Championships last season as he put on a furious surge over the final 150 meters of a 15 kilometer race to capture the silver medal in the individual event at Sapporo, Japan.
A week later, he won the second World Cup event of his career - in another individual competition - in Finland before completing the World Cup schedule a week later with another podium, finishing third in a sprint in Norway. As a blazing finish to the season, he swept the U.S. combined championship and both the large hill and normal hill ski jumping titles at the U.S. Championships.
While he and Spillane, who is recovering from successful shoulder surgery in the spring, are the heart of the World Cup squad, the team has expanded its involvement at the World Cup B level.
"We gave the Nordic Combined B Team its first full season of international competition last year," Bodensteiner said, "knowing that itll take some years to build up their training volume and to get more international experience. Everyone scored World Cup-B points last winter and that shows we have some good talent with this group."
In the preseason, the team trains primarily in Park City, Utah, but held a mini-camp in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in coordination with the July 4 competition. The team also will have a camp in Europe in conjunction with the Summer Grand Prix, beginning in August. The World Cup season opens Dec. 1-2 in Kuusamo, Finland, in the annual, self-styled "Nordic Opening" festivities, which bring cross country, jumping and combined together for World Cup competitions.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation is sponsoring a trip March 4-10 to the Holmenkollen Ski Festival in Oslo where Nordic combined, jumping and cross country World Cup events will be taking place.
U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner will help guide participants to the full range of World Cup action, and hell have the assistance of two of Norways greatest skiing heroes: Bjorn Daehlie and Vegard Ulvang.
Daehlie holds a record 12 Olympics medals, including eight gold, and 17 World Championships medals (nine gold) plus five World Cup titles. Ulvang, double gold medalist at the 1992 Olympics, finished with 14 medals plus the 1990 World Cup championship.
NEWELL, KOOS, RANDALL LEAD 2008 U.S. CROSS COUNTRY TEAM
World Cup podium performers Andy Newell, Torin Koos and Kikkan Randall lead a 16-member U.S. Cross Country Ski Team named for the 2008 season.
The team of six men and ten women includes eight Olympians, U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said. It is the largest cross country squad since the 18-member team named for the 1992 Olympic season.
Newell posted the first U.S. podium in 23 years after the 2006 Olympics in Torino, finishing third in the first World Cup race in China and ended the 2007 season sixth in World Cup sprint standings. Randall tore over an icy, sprint course in Russia last January for the first World Cup podium by a U.S. woman and Koos was third the next weekend in Estonia. It marked the first time since 1984 that the U.S. Ski Team had three podium athletes in cross country.
"We have a dedicated group of talented athletes and we feel were on the right path as we continue to prepare for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver," Bodensteiner said. "Weve been predominantly a mens team for several years, and Andy and Torin, as well Kris Freeman and Chris Cook, have given us some outstanding results, but now were seeing that dynamic change a bit.
"We have more women on the Team than men now, and every one of these athletes has had strong international results at their level. Kikkan, of course, had the first World Cup top-three for an American woman in cross country last season and we had strong results at the U-23s [Under-23 World Championships] and Junior Worlds...so even our rookies are performing at a high level."
The 2008 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team (including date of birth, hometown and club program; * indicates Olympian):
Chris Cook (6/15/80; Rhinelander, WI; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)*
Kris Freeman (10/14/80; Andover, NH; Andover Outing Club)*
Torin Koos (7/19/80; Leavenworth, WA; Leavenworth Winter Sports Club)*
Andy Newell (11/30/83; Shaftsbury, VT; Stratton Mountain School)*
Kikkan Randall (12/31/82; Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University Nordic)*
Morgan Arritola (5/13/86; Fairfield, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Rosie Brennan (12/2/88; Park City, UT; National Sports Foundation)
Lindsey Weier Dehlin (7/2/84; Mahtomedi, MN; Northern Michigan University)*
Matt Gelso (7/18/88; Truckee, CA; Auburn Ski Club/University of Colorado)
Taz Mannix (6/14/86; Talkeetna, AK; Alaska Pacific University Nordic)
Morgan Smith (2/10/86; Vernon, VT; Northern Michigan University)
Liz Stephen (1/12/87; East Montpelier, VT; Burke Mountain Academy)
Alexa Turzian (8/13/88; Sun Valley, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Laura Valaas (3/2/84; Wenatchee, WA; Alaska Pacific University Nordic)
Lindsay Williams (6/16/84; Hastings, MN; Northern Michigan University)*
Leif Zimmermann (10/3/83; Bozeman, MT; Bridger Nordic)*
The Ski Team, which is based in Park City during the preseason with athletes training daily, concluded a two-week camp last month in Oregon, blending on-snow skiing at Mt. Bachelor with dryland training on the Pacific coast. The annual three-week, on-snow camp in New Zealand, providing midwinter conditions begins later this month.
"Weve put a premium on opening opportunities for more developing athletes in the last couple of seasons, and these athletes have responded," Bodensteiner sais. "But we also need to continue to grow the scope of this program if its going to become as good as it truly can be. Were aiming to continue the growth of the World Cup team and are also looking at ways to extend our reach further into development."
The World Cup schedule opens Oct. 27-28 in Dusseldorf, Germany - which attracts hundreds of thousands over the weekend for races along the Rhine River on machine-made snow that has been trucked in from outside the city. Included this season is a stop Jan. 22-26 for four races on the 1988 Olympic trails in Canmore, Alberta.
The schedule also has stops in Rybinsk, Russia - where Randall produced her podium last January - and the wild enthusiasm of Otepaeae, Estonia, where Koos was third and Newell fourth a week later.
The U.S . Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation is sponsoring separate trips to two of the most energized European World Cup sites - Feb. 6-11 to Otepaeae, Estonia, and March 4-10 to the renowned Holmenkollen Ski Festival in Oslo, Norway. Otepaeae has been referred to as "a Nordic tailgating party" and Bodensteiner will share host guide duties with Kristina Smigun, Estonias national heroine and a double champion at the 2006 Olympics in Italy. Theyll provide a gold-medal, behind-the-scenes tour of the World Cup activities plus a couple of pleasing side trips.
In Oslo, Bodensteiner again will help guide participants to the full range of cross country, jumping and nordic combined World Cup action, but hell have the assistance of two of Norways greatest skiing heroes: Bjorn Daehlie and Vegard Ulvang. Daehlie holds the records for 29 Olympics and World Championships medals (12 Olympics medals - eight gold, 17 Worlds medals, nine gold) plus five World Cup titles while Ulvang, double gold medalist at the 1992 Olympics, finished with 14 medals plus the 1990 World Cup championship. For details on the visit to Holmenkollen or Otepaeae, visit: http://foundation.usskiteam.com/trips.html.
The annual SuperTour, with 20-plus races, provides opportunities for top-level competition in addition to the World Cup or European races. The SuperTour schedule will open over Thanksgiving Weekend (Nov. 23-24) in West Yellowstone, MT.
Laura Valaas, who won nine of 10 sprints en route to the SuperTour sprint title, also collected the first U.S. womens medal at the U-23 Championships, finishing second in the classic technique sprint. Liz Stephen and Rosie Brennan turned in top-ten results at Junior Worlds.
Bodensteiner said a world-class coaching staff is the cornerstone to the teams success. The staff includes head coach Pete Vordenberg, three-time Olympian and World Cup coach Justin Wadsworth, sprint coach Chris Grover and development coaches Matt Whitcomb and Pat Casey.
USSA Training Center Groundbreaking July 18
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., will head a list of distinguished guests at the historic groundbreaking for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Associations Center of Excellence, Wednesday, July 18. The center is the first national training and education facility for competitive skiing and snowboarding in the United States.
USSA, the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding, which has been based in Utah for more than 30 years, says its $22.5 million facility will be finished in 2009, providing final training benefits for athletes headed to the 2010 Olympics.
The groundbreaking ceremony begins at 2 p.m., featuring comments from Huntsman, Park City Mayor Dana Williams, and USSA president and CEO Bill Marolt. The event takes place at the future home of the center in Quinns Junction, east of Park City, Utah, near the intersection of State Route 248 and U.S. Highway 40.
USSA Announces U.S. Ski Jumping Team
Lindsey Van, who won three Continental Cup events last season and is ranked third in the world, heads a six-athlete U.S. ski jumping team for the 2008 season, U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said. The womens jumping squad adds a sixth member this season: high school student Avery Ardovino.
"We named a womens team for the first time last season and couldnt be more pleased with that decision," Bodensteiner said. "Now were focused on a steady build-out of that program so that when they get to the World Championships in 2009 [where womens jumping will make its debut at the Worlds level], theyre ready to spring."
The 2008 A team also includes Brenna Ellis, Abby Hughes Jessica Jerome and Alissa Johnson. The new womens head coach is Kjell Ivar Magnusson, former womens head coach for Norway.
"Kjells been working with the women for a few weeks and he sees not only great talent and motivated, hard working athletes, he also sees great opportunities for them to continue to make big improvements," Bodensteiner said.
On the mens side, Bodensteiner said the focus is on strengthening the club programs.
"Weve spoken with club coaches and we want to provide them with the tools they need to continue to improve, with a focus on the development of their teenage athletes," Bodensteiner said. "Well compete in some FIS Cup events [development-level competitions below the World Cup and Continental Cups] and monitor the progress before naming anyone new to the team."
Assisting with that transition are Olympians Alan Alborn and Clint Jones, who recently announced their retirement and have taken responsibility for the National Sports Foundations jumping program at Utah Olympic Park in Park City. Alborn, who holds the U.S. distance record, coaches older juniors and development skiers while Jones, who remains the youngest U.S. ski jumping champion (15 when he won in 2000), is coaching younger jumpers.
Van, who was second in the world during the 2005 and 06 seasons before finishing third last winter, had seven top-three results last winter. She won three competitions and ended the season by collecting her 11th and 12th U.S. titles. Returning after missing most of last season will be Jessica Jerome, the third-ranked skier in 2006 who tore ligaments in her right knee early in the 07 season.
The women compete at the Continental Cup level, just below the World Cup, with events in North America, Japan and Europe. Their season including more than two dozen events and begins in summer and continues into March. The women will compete Aug. 28-29 at Lake Placid, NY, and Sept. 1-2 at Utah Olympic Park in Park City. Womens jumping has been included in the FIS Junior World Championships since 2005; Van was bronze medalist in 2004 when it was a demonstration event. Womens jumping will make its debut at the FIS Nordic World Ski
Championships level in 2009 at Liberec, Czech Republic.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation is the nnprofit, fundraising arm of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding, which are managed by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding. The Foundation raises money to support year-round training, development, competition and educational needs of world-class athletes pursuing the Olympic dream. The Team receives no federal funding or subsidies and operates solely through private donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. The Foundation was incorporated in 1964 as a 501(c) 3 organization and is based in Park City, UT.
FIVE ADDED TO U.S. SKI AND SNOWBOARD TEAM FOUNDATION
Five business and community leaders – Steve Hankin, Chris Heinz, Hank Holland, Lee J. Styslinger III, and Susan Swig Watkins – have been named trustees of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation.
"Our board of trustees is a good cross section of leadership from around the country and these five are great additions to the mix," said Vice President of Fundraising Janine Alfano. "They’re all ski or snowboard enthusiasts and their business backgrounds will provide welcome advice for growing our Team programs to provide the best athletic opportunities for our athletes.
“We have a lot of great programs including building our Center of Excellence (USSA’s high-performance training and education center in Park City, Utah) and our board of trustees play a key roll in moving all of our funding for programs forward,” she added.
The five new trustees to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation are:
Steve Hankin (New York, NY), president of JetDirect, the largest aircraft management company in the United States. Prior to joining JetDirect, Hankin was the chief marketing officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and also was a partner at McKinsey & Co. Inc., the international management-consulting firm.
Hankin holds an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and a bachelor’s from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He and his family enjoy skiing at Aspen, Colo., and throughout Vermont.
Chris Heinz (New York, NY), co-chairman of the Executive Committee and a founding managing partner of Rosemont Capital, a New York-based private equity firm.
Before starting with Rosemont, Heinz worked with Cambridge Associates in Boston where he focused on private equity and venture capital partnership evaluation and portfolio construction. He also was an associate and then principal at Jacobson Partners in New York, a leading private equity firm focused on small to medium sized companies and was a senior advisor for the John Kerry for President campaign and addressed the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
He currently serves in a leadership position on the Investment Committee of the Heinz Family Office, on the boards and investment committees of the Heinz Endowments, the St. Pauls schools, the East Harlem School and the Carnegie Mellon School of Public Policy. Heinz received a bachelor of arts in history from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard University. He and his wife Sasha enjoy skiing at Sun Valley, Idaho.
Hank Holland (San Francisco, Calif.) national director of investment planning and a principal of Bernstein Global Wealth Management.
Holland advises many of the firms high-net-worth private clients on investment planning, risk management, and estate and tax planning matters. Prior to joining Bernstein in 1996, he was a principal with Pacific Union Realty Finance, a real-estate investment banking firm in San Francisco and executive vice president with Mayfair Development Corp. in Dallas. Holland is active in San Francisco civic affairs and currently chairs the board for the Bay Area Discovery Museum; he also is a board member for the San Francisco Ballet.
He attended Southern Methodist University on an honors engineering scholarship and earned a degree in civil engineering. Holland and his wife Beth reside in San Francisco with their three sons: Hayden, Corbin, and Fulton. The family spends most weekends at Squaw Valley, Calif., where the two oldest boys are active junior racers.
Lee J. Styslinger, III (Birmingham, Ala.) is president and chief executive officer of Altec Inc., the holding company for Altec Industries, Capital Services, National Equipment Co., Altec Worldwide, Global Rental and Altec Ventures. Altec Industries Inc. designs, manufactures and markets equipment for the electric and telecommunications industries and has equipment in over 100 countries.
Styslinger serves on the board of Regions Financial Corporation (RF), the National Association of Manufacturers Executive Committee, Young Presidents Organization International, Children’s Hospital and the Altec/Styslinger Foundation. He also is a member of the Business Roundtable and the Newcomen Society of the United States and an active supporter of United Way. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President’s Export Council in 2006.
A graduate of Northwestern University in 1983, Styslinger currently serves on the 1851 Society Executive Council. He earned his MBA from Harvard University in 1988.
He and his wife Kelly reside in Birmingham, Ala., with three sons: Paul, Scott and Chase. They all enjoy skiing in Aspen, Colo.
Susan Swig Watkins (San Francisco, Calif.), is a board member at The Swig Co., a privately held investment company of commercial real estate properties in major markets across the United States.
Swig Watkins is an active member of her community having served on numerous arts, educational and environmental organizations. She is a trustee at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and a trustee of Marin Country Day School with a focus on the development and implementation of the school’s strategic and 25-year master plan. She also is actively involved with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
Swig Watkins has a bachelor of arts from the University of California at Berkeley as well as a bachelor of fine arts from Art Center College of Design. A resident of San Francisco, she and her three school-aged children, all who play competitive sports, enjoy skiing at Sugar Bowl, Calif., and Sun Valley, Idaho.
SOCHI, RUSSIA, TO HOST 2014 WINTER OLYMPICS
The International Olympic Committee has selected Sochi, Russia, as the site for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"Its a chance to take our sports to a new and truly fascinating destination in the Caucasus Mountains along the Russian Riviera of the Black Sea," said Bill Marolt, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association president and CEO.
The mountains reaching skyward above the Krasnaya Polyana valley are the home to Russias primary winter resorts with massive alpine terrain. The new Rosa Khutor will have over 5,000 feet of vertical, making it one of the biggest lift-served mountains in the world. And its all just 30 miles from Sochi on the Black Sea, which is the northernmost tropical climate in the world.
Olympic venues are under construction. Most of the snow competitions are planned at Rosa Khutor with Nordic events at Psekhako Ridge. Former Breckenridge Resort Co-President Roger McCarthy recently joined the company building Rosa Khutor to head the development of what will be Russias largest ski resort.
Sochis airport is just 10 minutes from the city. With the mountain venues less than an hour away, it will be one of the most convenient Winter Olympics in recent history. Sochi represents a truly unique location for winter sports. Spectators will be able to catch an Olympic competition in the afternoon in the mountains, and stroll that evening under palm trees along the Black Sea in Sochi.
The 2014 Olympic region has a rich history dating back to the Byzantine Era. It is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and has welcomed visitors for thousands of years, from travelers and merchants on the famed Silk Road to Russian czars. Sochi became Russias most popular resort destination a century ago, and continues today to be an attractive international destination because of its moderate climate in the city and over 300 spas along its Mediterranean-like Black Sea coastline and in the nearby Caucasus Mountains.
The climate in Sochi is unique, due to its location between the Caucasus Mountains, including Russias highest peak (Mount Elbrus - 18,000 feet), and the Black Sea. Temperatures in the mountains likely will be in the 20s with little wind while winter temperatures are expected to be in the 40s and 50s in the city.
"Russia is a great winter sports nation and the hosts will bring incredible passion to these Games," said Marolt.
Sochi was one of three finalists. Salzburg, Austria went out in the first round of voting, with Sochi eventually prevailing over Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Olympic Jumpers Alborn, Jones Retire
Ski jumpers Alan Alborn and Clint Jones, Olympic teammates and former U.S. champions, have retired from World Cup competition.
Alborn, a three-time Olympian who holds the U.S. jumping distance record, is the new elite coach for the National Sports Foundation. Jones becomes the development coach for the same organization. They plan to help revamp the nations jumping pipeline.
Jones, 22, was the youngest U.S. gold medalist when he won the large hill title at 15 in 2000. He said, "This is a great opportunity. Its a chance for Alan and I to take a step back and, with all weve learned, help younger kids start from scratch."
Alborn, 26, and getting married this fall, added, "Its a great feeling to be offered a job right away because its always an issue for jumpers trying to find jobs after retirement. The timing worked out great."
A five-time U.S. jumping champion, he was troubled with knee problems in the last few years although he set the U.S. distance record of 221.5 meters at Planica, Slovenia, in 2002, topping his then-record of 211 meters. In that 02 season, Alborn also had a fourth-place and two sixth-place World Cup results, and swept both the normal hill and large hill U.S. championships.
"Its a big, double whammy when your top two athletes - as they have been for many years - retire," U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said. "However, this is so valuable for us and for the jumping community to have them continue in the sport as coaches. They have strong ideas on what needs to get done - especially in terms of preparing athletes for international competition - and theyre showing good leadership by staying in their sport and looking to help things improve."
Alborn started jumping with the Karl Eid program in Anchorage and, he said, "loved it. Then, when my father [a commercial pilot] was transferred to Colorado, I got to train with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club for three years. Otherwise, I probably would have been twiddling my thumbs in Anchorage, jumping off the 50-meter [jump] and wondering what it would be like to be in the Olympics."
He spent seven years on the U.S. Ski Team, retiring after the 2003 season, but coming back a year later because he missed the sport and because his knees felt fine.
Looking back to his long jump during the qualifying round in Planica in 02, Alborn called it "an amazing jump although, unfortunately, the competition was blown out [by high winds]. I cant imagine what would have happened if wed held it. I had such a good feeling...knew immediately on leaving the takeoff Id done it. I had this weightless feeling over the knoll because I was so balanced coming down the in-run.
"I felt like a knife slicing through the air and it took me right to the bottom of the hill. It seemed like 30 minutes because I was flying so effortlessly. I could see people on the side of the hill cheering. One thing," he added, "is I wish I had tried to keep flying a little longer; the record was 225 meters, and if they had a line [in the snow] past 225 ... well, who knows?
"I remember, though, yelling to myself going over the knoll at 140 meters, pushing myself to push the limit. I hope somebody else can feel that."
Jones, also a seven-year Ski Team member, came out of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club jumping program, too. He credits Chris Gilbertson, currently the Continental Cup coach for the U.S. Nordic Combined Team, for giving him a good foundation.
He had his best World Cup results in Finland, including a ninth and 12th in Kuopio and 13th in Kuusamo. "I dont know what it was," Jones said, "but we spent a lot of time in Finland with Kari [Ylianttila, U.S. head coach 1998-2004 and former Finnish head coach], so Finland was like a second home to us. I always felt comfortable over there.
"But, when its all done, you forget about things like results. I got to see a lot of cool places, meet a lot of cool people. And, at that level, you learn a lot of things about yourself and life in general," Jones said. "Im very happy with the way things went, and now there are other things I want to do with my life," he said. He plans to enroll in college at some point, but for the present, coaching is his top priority.
Alborn and Jones have been working for the past month with the National Sports Foundation skiers, mixing strength training with jumping. They created a strength training area at the top of the Utah Olympic Park jumps to boost their overall conditioning.
"These kids are like sponges. Weve seen some pretty good stuff," Alborn said, "and some not-so-good. But thats the challenge, and thats part of the reward. Clint and I both feel weve got something to offer young jumpers, and if we accomplish that, itll be a good thing."
Jones agreed. "We want to make the athletes into true athletes, not just on paper," he said. "Weve got a lot of experience, a lot of things to draw from, different coaches, and all that...and just look at what the cross country team has done in the last few years, reviving that program. We can do it, too. We need to be organized and work hard."
Each sees the need for a national standard for jumping. "We need to get everyone on the same page in terms of development; kids in the East are different from the Midwest, and then Steamboat and NSF may be different from everyone else. So, its challenge but theres no question we need to have some uniformity and structure in what were all coaching...and then get these young athletes moving up through the pipeline, not just have em floating around," Jones said.
Bodensteiner is pleased with their approach. "Its so valuable to have these guys in the field and focusing on preparation. We need to get kids better prepared to compete rather than just having them participating.
"The jumping community understands the problem. Theres no quick turn-around but getting organized is the first step. And what Alan and Clint can bring to this is the fact theyre current with whats happening and theyre fired up to make a major impact on their sport. On one hand, its tough to see them retire, but on the other hand they bring such good, positive energy to the situation...and theyll make that positive impact."
USSA to Build National Training and Education Center
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has announced the groundbreaking for a national training and education center in Park City, Utah.
USSAs Center of Excellence will be a state-of-the-art structure designed to serve todays athletes with world-class facilities and strengthen the development of tomorrows Olympic skiers and snowboarders. Construction on the $22.5 million center will begin July 18, 2007, and will be completed prior to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
The 85,000-square foot center will be on a five-acre parcel leaving most of the land in its natural state as open space. It will blend the best of high-performance athletic facilities including strength-training areas, a gymnasium, a climbing wall, ski and snowboard ramps, trampolines, a nutrition center and rehabilitation facilities. Plus, it will feature educational areas for athletes, coaches and clubs such as a computer lab, multimedia rooms for performance analysis and equipment workshops. And all of the educational resources will be shared with USSAs 400 clubs around the country.
USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt said the Center of Excellence represents the strongest commitment to USSAs athletes, as well as its stakeholders, and embodies the spirit of the sport.
"Im very proud that our organization is able to build this national center to impact all areas of our sports," said Bill Marolt, USSA president and CEO. "This center has been a vision for over a decade and will have the best sport science and training facilities for our diverse athletic needs. It also will provide educational opportunities that will benefit athletes in their specific sport and after their competitive careers end."
"This is exactly what we need – it will be a huge asset for us," said world championship Nordic combined silver medalist Bill Demong. Like many USSA athletes – including Shannon Bahrke, Lindsey Kildow and Graham Watanabe – Demong moved to Utah to work more closely with coaches, to use sport science and to take advantage of the 2002 Olympic legacy facilities.
"In the last five or six years, weve seen our temporary training facility grow. Having in-house sport science, in-house testing and our own physiologists will improve our opportunities to succeed," added Demong. "This center will set the standard for NGBs [national governing bodies], not only in this country but around the world."
Marolt praised Park City officials, including Mayor Dana Williams and City Manager Tom Bakaly, for providing leadership in coordinating the project with private landowners and developers over the last few years to make the vision of a center a reality.
Funding for the center will come through the USSAs Legacy Campaign endowment, which is supported through private contributions.
USSA manages year-round nationwide development and elite programs including the national teams in six Olympic sports – alpine, cross country, freestyle, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding – as well as two Paralympic sports – disabled alpine and disabled cross country. It provides programs and education for more than 30,000 athletes, officials and coaches in clubs across the country.
U.S. CROSS COUNTRY SKIS, SURFS AND CYCLES AT OREGON CAMP
Sometimes a change of scenery can have a huge impact. Oregon hosted the first U.S. Ski Team cross country training camp of the season, a two-week mix of snow at Mt. Bachelor and water on the coast that jump-started the preseason training regimen. It was a mix of drills for the mind and body, from on-snow training to team dynamics exercises with the U.S. Ski Teams longtime sports psychologist, Jon Hammermeister, and a few days of dry-land workouts as well as wet-land (i.e., surfing) on the Pacific Coast.
"It was the first time weve done a camp this early," said Olympian Andy Newell, whos trained with the Team since 2002.
Head Coach Pete Vordenberg set up the on-snow details while coach Justin Wadsworth - who lives in Bend - arranged for the training on the Oregon coast. "Hes a celebrity down there," Newell laughed, "and knows everyone, so Justin arranged everything for us."
"It was very cool," Newell said, making no reference to the weather. "It was cool to get the whole crew together so we could all dive in 100 percent, and make sure everybodys on the same page and motivated.
"The change of scene [from the U.S. Ski Teams base in Park City] is important, and its good at this time of year, just after the season," Newell added. "Its nice to be able to relax in conditions where its sunny and warm. Everybody was focused...really, everybody was on-point. One day, the entire team was surfing, and when were all surfing the same wave, thats definitely pretty cool."
Vordenberg, who took over as head coach after the 2006 Olympic season, following four years as assistant coach, was pleased from start to finish with the twin-site results in Oregon. "Team building is not new; we were just trying to make it more successful. Last year I felt we did a good job with team building - and I think we did a good job with what we set goals on, but we still came only part of the way, so we know thats one area where we need to improve.
"Its really important. Park City has a lot to offer and we take advantage of that, but two or three times a year well change the setting. Going to Bend," the coach said, "was awesome - everybody was hammering, and well be in New Zealand by the end of July, and in Lake Placid in October. The OTC [Lake Placids Olympic Training Center] makes it so inexpensive for us, the terrain is so good and it turns out to be such a productive camp out there."
Vordenberg received "incredible" assistance of groomers at Mt. Bachelor after the resort had closed for the season, setting - or smoothing - tracks at the Nordic center. "We skied early in the morning, usually pretty early, then ate lunch and trained in the afternoon. Several days were unstructured for the athletes to do what they wanted; other days were more social, maybe playing a soccer game or something...but otherwise it was strength work and running intervals and some roller-skiing.
"In evenings wed do team stuff - meetings, games, we all took turns with groups of three cooking dinner. We rented two houses in Bend, so that allowed more people to live together and that worked well. We kept it pretty simple, nothing too fancy," Vordenberg said. "I think the way we did it made it so successful. We had a big emphasis on working together as a team. We talked about it most nights; one day we had three meetings on team building.
"The skiing was good in Bend, then it was great on the coast - running intervals on an awesome bluff over the water, then a great bike ride. We lifted weights and played around in the water. It totally worked out."
For Newell, the on-snow training was important, especially as he looks to build on his progress a year ago in getting beyond being a sprint specialist. But the team building played out beautifully in Pacific City, finishing an "outstanding" camp on an obvious up note. "We had road bikes, some long rides, and did some running intervals and in our off time everyone went surfing. Everyone," he said.
There was little or no problem with his teammates getting the hang of riding a surfboard, said Newell, who has made countless drives from his home in southwestern Vermont to the New Hampshire beach to rides waves. "Theyre all such good athletes and cross country skiers pick up things so fast...but it did get a little cold, so we were in full wetsuits, gloves, boots, all of it. Otherwise, it was sunny, everyone stood up on a board...and it looked like everyone was having a good time. It was a nice change."
The cross country squad had physical testing in April in Park City to help determine the effect of last season on the preseason conditioning regimen. Vordenberg said the team will regroup in Park City in mid-July for additional testing before heading to New Zealand for the annual three-week camp at The Snow Farm outside Wanaka on South Island.
MAGNUSSON NAMED WOMENS SKI JUMPING HEAD COACH
Kjell Ivar Magnusson, head coach of the Norwegian womens ski jumping team for the last three seasons, has been named the new U.S. womens jumping head coach. Magnusson, 56, replaces Larry Stone, longtime U.S. regional and associate national coach who guided the women last winter. Magnusson is in Park City to oversee preseason training, starting with strength and conditioning dryland workouts.
A soccer player in his youth - and not a ski jumper, he became a club coach in Rollag, his hometown, when his son Rune started ski jumping in 1980. He went through three years of coaching certification and starting in 1990, coached Norwegian star Sigurd Pettersen, who has helped re-energize Norways jumping program since the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Magnusson was a club coach in Lillehammer 2000-04 and has been Norwegian womens coach for the past three years as the International Ski Federation elevated womens jumping to the Continental Cup level. It will make its debut at the World Championships level with the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in the Czech Republic.
"Im excited about this change," Magnusson said. "Ive watched the American girls and theyre the strongest team in the world. I know all the girls, and this should be exciting. These are strong athletes."
U.S. Nordic director Luke Bodensteiner said he was pleased to get Magnusson as the womens program continues to develop. Women were named to the U.S. Ski Team for the first time last season and six have been nominated for the 2008 Ski Team. "The team is ready to go to the next level, and theyre anxious to start working with him," Bodensteiner said.
Bryan Fish (CXC) Development Coach of the Year
Demong Takes Top USSA Athlete Honor
U.S. Ski Team World Championship medalist Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY), two-time Olympian and former U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Chairman Chuck Ferries, and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club were among the top honorees in the USSAs annual awards recognition dinner May 17 at Deer Valley Resort in Park City during USSA Congress 2007.
Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY), only the second U.S. Nordic combined skier to earn an Olympic or World Championships medal, was presented the Beck International Award, USSAs highest athletic award. Colorados Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC), the multi-sport club covering alpine, Nordic, freestyle and snowboarding with over a thousand development-level athletes, received the USSA Club of the Year Award for an unprecedented third time. Ferries, a two-time Olympic ski racer who became a success in the ski industry and has served in a variety of organization roles with USSA, received the Julius Blegen Award, USSAs most prestigious honor for service to the organization.
"Im really proud of athletes on our Team like Bill Demong and Nate Roberts (who won the organizations Buddy Werner Award for sportsmanship)," said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. "They are a great example of why America wants to support our Team - theyre hard working, dedicated, humble and want to give back to younger athletes so that they, too, can achieve their dreams.”
Demong, 27, a three-time Olympian, captured the silver medal in the combined individual event at the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Sapporo, Japan, in March and followed that with a World Cup win a week later in Lahti, Finland, He finished his season by sweeping all three U.S. ski jumping and Nordic combined U.S. titles.
"Chuck (Ferries) embodies what Olympism is all about," added Marolot. "He was a great athlete who has given back to todays athletes with his service. He has been a trustee since 1984 and played a key role as USSA chairman from 2002 to 2006.
"We are fortunate to have 400 USSA grassroots clubs around the country to provide opportunities for young athletes," said Marolt. "Steamboat is one of those model clubs that provides tremendous opportunities for young athletes in all sports. Its a credit to the work of Executive Director Rick DeVos and Athletic Director Sarah Floyd in building such a strong program with over a thousand athletes."
Other gold-level award recipients included Bryan Fish, first-year cross country coach of fledgling Team CXC (Central Cross Country) based in Seeley, Wis., whose athletes won U.S. and SuperTour titles in its first year, sent two skiers to the Nordic World Championships and won a U-23 (under 23) world title, was selected as USSA Development Coach of the Year.
Athletes of the Year, chosen by sport, included: Alpine - Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO), who won two silver medals at the World Championships and three World Cup races before injury ended her season; Cross Country - sprinter Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), who finished the season sixth in the World Cup sprint standings; Disabled - two-time cross country Paralympics and world champion Steve Cook (Salt Lake City); Freestyle - Roberts, bronze medalist at Worlds and a two-time World Cup winner; Nordic Combined - Demong; Ski Jumping - Lindsey Van (Park City, UT), who won three events and finished third in the Continental Cup standings; Snowboarding - Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton, VT), who defended her snowboardcross world championship and won the SBX World Cup title.
Coaches of the Year, chosen by sport for international and development levels, included: Alpine - International: Hoedlmoser; Domestic; Chip Cochrane of Maines Carrabassett Valley Academy; Cross Country - International: Chris Grover, World Cup sprint coach; Domestic: Bryan Fish of Wisconsins Central Cross Country; Freestyle - International: Scott Rawles, moguls head coach; Domestic: Caleb Martin from Telluride (CO) Ski & Snowboard Club; Nordic Combined - International: Dave Jarrett, World Cup coach; Domestic: Martin Bayer from the Steamboat Springs WSC; Snowboarding - International: Jeff Archibald, World Cup SBX coach; Domestic: Spencer Tamblyn, SSWSC snowboard coach.
Clubs of the Year also was chosen for each sport. The winners: Alpine - Burke Mountain Academy (VT); Cross Country - Central Cross Country Ski Team (Team CXC); Freestyle - Park City (UT) Freestyle; Jumping/Nordic Combined and Snowboard - Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
Bill Demong photo: http://ussa.smugmug.com/gallery/2885152
Bryan Fish photo: http://ussa.smugmug.com/gallery/2885152#155001430
VICE PRESIDENT EVENTS ANNETTE ROYLE TO LEAVE USSA
Annette Royle, who built the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Associations Events Department from a one-person operation into one of the most successful among national governing bodies, has resigned as vice president of events to become president of a major nonprofit organization chapter, USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt announced.
Under her leadership, he said, USSA has undergone a complete transformation of how it manages events and become one of the most respected event organizers in the Olympic movement. "Annettes one of the most knowledgeable persons in her field and has done a fabulous job for us, not only helping improve existing events but developing some events - and series - from scratch," he said.
Royle, who leaves June 8 to become president of the Utah chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Salt Lake City, is a former director of constituent services for U.S. Senator Jake Garn. She came to what was then- U.S. Skiing in 1993 as coordinator of special events for the U.S. Ski Team Foundation; two years later, she became assistant director of events and was named vice president of events in 1996.
"This has been an extremely hard decision for me," she said, "but I have a great opportunity. I truly will miss our staff and partners, who have helped USSA develop great events for our athletes but which also brought value to our sponsors and event organizers."
She added, "Ive worked with some absolutely awesome people - on my staff and throughout USSA - and its a little bittersweet to be leaving. But change can be good. Im proud of what weve been able to do, proud of the way our Events Department has become more professional...and now Im excited about my next opportunity. Its going to have some of the adventurous feeling from when I started at USSA."
Royle, a graduate of the University of Utah with a masters degree in public administration from Brigham Young University, has been involved in helping organize a wide variety of events, from World Cup and World Championships competition to pre-Olympic events, various U.S. championships and alumni gatherings.
She was involved in a variety of levels in event coordination with the International Ski Federation (FIS) and helped facilitate the bid and organization of the 2003 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships at Utahs Deer Valley Resort as well as its successful bid for the 2013 Worlds.
"In the past decade, Annette has overseen a complete transformation of how our organization conducts major domestic events," Marolt said. "Her work has created tremendous value for our stakeholders, including athletes, sponsors, TV and media, and our event organizers."
While Royle has developed the Events Department into its premier status, he said, many forget she got her start with USSA in coordinating ski balls and other fundraising events. In her first year, her organizational approach and guidance helped increase funds through special events by 75 percent, according to Marolt.
"Annette grew her department from one person to being one-of-a-kind among NGBs. Weve been able to leverage the value from events rights to further focus on USSA athletic programs and develop internationally renowned event properties."
In her first year heading Events, Royle played a major role in developing the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix as an elite American snowboard tour, which has become vital in qualifying riders for the U.S. Olympic Team. Since snowboarding joined the Olympic schedule in 1998, U.S. riders have won 15 medals, including nine halfpipe medals. U.S. riders swept halfpipe gold at the 2002 and 06 Olympics.
She helped develop Olympic-qualifying competitions for U.S. skiers and riders at each of the last three Olympics in addition to the 2001 pre-Olympic test events at Utah venues. She also was instrumental in 1998 in negotiating USSAs first long-term international broadcasting and advertising rights agreement.
U.S. SKI TEAM AND U.S. SNOWBOARDING CALLS FOR ALUMNI
If you were you a member of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding or named to a Winter Olympics, Paralympics or World Championships team in your youth, the Team is looking for you.
Since the first Winter Olympics in 1924, when they were called the Games of Winter and included only Nordic skiing, to the 20th Winter Games in 2006, where snowboardcross debuted, there have been more than a thousand national team athletes in the ski sports of alpine, freestyle, cross country, Nordic combined, ski jumping and disabled alpine and cross country and also snowboarding.
Over the years, the Team’s database has become outdated with emerging technologies (from paper notebooks to electronic databases) and alumni moving around the country and losing touch as they pursue careers and families.
“The alumni play such an integral role in the success of today’s Team,” said Jill DeVleming, alumni manager. “We hope by reaching out, the alumni athletes will contact us directly to ensure they are a part of the legacy of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding and we can recognize them for their commitment to our great winter sports.”
National team alumni should contact the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding noting:
Which sport competed in (alpine, freestyle, cross country, ski jumping, nordic combined, disabled alpine, disabled cross country or snowboard),
What years on the national team and which team you competed on (World Cup, A Team, B Team, Olympic, World Championships, Paralympics),
Current contact information including mailing address, email and phone
Any information regarding occupation, marital status, children (especially if they’re aspiring ski or snowboard athletes),
And any fun national team memories you’d be interested in sharing.
Send information by:
Email - email@example.com,
U.S. Mail - U.S. Ski Team & U.S. Snowboarding, Attn: Jill DeVleming/Alumni News, Box 100, Park City, UT 84060,
Call – (435)647.2080.
Alfano Named to Head Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation
Janine Alfano has been named as vice president of fundraising for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation, the fundraising arm of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding. President and CEO Bill Marolt cited Alfano’s 11 years of experience with the Foundation in making the announcement.
“Janine has played a key role with the Foundation since coming to our Team in 1996,” said Marolt. “Her experience will provide us with an opportunity to maintain continuity and consistency in the department, and to build from her strengths immediately.”
Alfano has managed every area of Foundation. She began her USSA career managing fundraising events and is responsible for developing the very successful model used by the Foundation today. She also is responsible for creating the “Champions Club” program, which provides opportunities for supporters to attend the Olympics as VIP guests of the Team, while creating a significant revenue stream to fund athletic programming.
“We’ve been successful in the Foundation because we have a very talented staff working with an extremely dedicated and generous board of trustees,” said Alfano. “One of the things I’m most looking forward to is working more closely with our Board.”
“Among my immediate goals is to reach our Legacy Campaign endowment goal of $60 million so that we can begin construction on our Center of Excellence. This world class training facility is critical to our future – not only for athletics but for all of USSA”
Alfano will oversee a staff of 12. The Foundation’s activities are diverse including the Legacy Campaign endowment, major giving, special events, direct marketing and the U.S. Ski Team Gold Pass. The Foundation raises nearly $7 million a year in its annual fund with a goal of reaching $10 million in annual revenue by 2010.
A New Jersey native, Alfano is a 1988 graduate of Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. She came to the Foundation in 1996 after working in sales for The Denver Post. She lives in Park City.
Alfano replaces Trisha Worthington. Worthington has left USSA to spend more time with her family and to direct a new Park City-based community foundation.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. It is managed integrally within the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding, which funds, develops and trains the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding. The Team receives no federal funding or subsidies and operates solely through private donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. To learn more about supporting the Team, contact Janine Alfano at 435.647.2071 or donations can be sent to her attention at Box 100/1500 Kearns Boulevard, Park City, UT 84060.
CXC EXTENDS ATHLETE APPLICATION DEADLINE
CXC Skiing is extending its athlete application process until May 1st to fill three spots still available in its Olympic Development Program. Applicants should send their last two years results and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. The CXC Junior Development Program flyer and details are posted on the CXC home page at www.cxcskiing.org.
CXC HIRES JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM HEAD COACH
Central Cross Country Skiing with the support of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation is pleased to announce the hiring of Bill Pierce as its CXC Junior Development Program Head Coach.
“It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Bill to the Central Cross Country Ski Association. I have enjoyed working with Bill in the past, and am looking forward to our association in the development of young cross country ski racers to their fullest potential,” commented Yuriy Gusev, CXC Skiing Chief Executive Officer.
Bill has had positive impact on the Midwest community for many years in several areas. A graduate of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bill along with his wife Kathy has owned and operated Pierce & Associates Design/Build, Inc, a builder of custom homes. Since moving to Hayward, Wis. he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, serving as the Chairman for the last 6 years. He has been the Head Coach of Hayward High School Nordic Ski Team, one of the most successful programs in the Midwest. His coaching has had a direct impact on 11 Wisconsin Team Champions, 13 Individual Champions and 4-5 Junior Olympians each year including a National Champion during that period. This success was possible by developing and managing one of the strongest staffs and community support networks imaginable for a small town project. Bill, Kathy and their children Megan and Matt are all role models for active healthy family life styles.
The CXC Junior Development Program will model the successful CXC Olympic Development Team training program. The main components of the program are full-time year round professional coaching within a monthly training camp structure, and direct individual attention. These principles led the CXC Olympic Development Team to 30 out of 108 SuperTour podiums and placing two athletes on the U.S. World Championships Team.
Junior Development Program Head Coach Bill Pierce will be working within a coaching team structure including CXC Olympic Development Team Head Coach Bryan Fish, Athletic Advisor Yuriy Gusev, Logistics Director Scott Wilson, High Performance Advisor Igor Badamshin and CXC’s sports science support group of nutrition scientist, physical therapist and exercise physiologist.
CXC to Expand Team
Central Cross Country Skiing with the support of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation announced on April 18 athlete openings for the 2008 CXC Ski Team. The team size will be expanded for the 2007-2008 season. CXC Team is a full time year round Olympic Development Program. The preparation period will begin in May.
Athletes must be out of college and committed full time to the program. Athletes will be selected among applicants on May 1 based on USSA points and coach’s discretion.
Athletes should provide the following information to email@example.com for the scheduling of interviews and further discussions of program objectives and benefits:
full name, age, USSA number, mailing address, phone number, e-mail address and a brief resume.
The CXC Olympic Development Team includes full time year round professional coaching, monthly training camp structure and direct individual attention. These principles led the CXC Olympic Development Team to 30 out of 108 SuperTour podiums. Caitlin Compton and Laura Valaas finished first and second overall on the SuperTour. Collectively, their greatest performance was winning the team sprint at U.S. Senior Nationals. Both women were named to the U.S. Team at the World Ski Championships in Sapporo, Japan. They were the only non-Olympians named to the World Championship Team. Laura collected an unprecedented 2nd place finish at the U23 World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, setting a new mark of success for U.S. women. Bryan Cook, Brian Gregg, Matt Liebsch, Garrott Kuzzy and Andre Watt comprise the men’s team. Garrott Kuzzy finished third overall on the SuperTour. These five men frequently finished in the top ten at SuperTour events.
The CXC Olympic Development Team is led by Head Coach Bryan Fish, Athletic Advisor Yuriy Gusev, Logistics Director Scott Wilson, High Performance Advisor Igor Badamshin and CXC’s sports science support group of nutrition scientist, physical therapist and exercise physiologist.
On the Road to Olympic Gold
The vision of CXC Team is to close the gap between junior and senior athlete’s development by providing professional world class training and coaching opportunities. The vision objectives are critical elements toward the drive for the USSA achievement of Cross Country Olympic podiums by 2010 and Olympic Gold by 2014.
The mission of CXC Team is to make the vision a reality by selecting, training and supporting a team of world-class athletes and by involving those athletes in the regional ski communities. The team will deliver role models, ski specific education and motivational support for young athletes throughout the Central Region.
Flora Sweeps SuperTour Titles, Freeman Sets Mark
Olympian Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK) swept all three individual mens titles - overall, distance and sprint champion(s) - in 2007s $130,000 Cross Country SuperTour while Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) won eight races to set a record for most SuperTour wins in his career (23).
Team CXC teammates Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis) and Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) dominated the womens side of the 24-race season. Compton won the overall and distance championships while Valaas won the sprint title, with nine victories. The overall champions receive start rights during the first period of the 2008 World Cup schedule.
U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said, "We are really proud of the 12 sites that came together again this winter to organize the SuperTour and put their individual stamp on its identity. What they provide in terms of promotion and sport development is high impact - this years SuperTour has been the largest yet, with the most sites, spectators, participants, media coverage and prize money. The organizers have developed an exemplary circuit and they are driving cross country forward in the U.S."
The SuperTour schedule includes all U.S. championship races.
In addition, many of the SuperTour distance races form the FIS North American Marathon Cup series. Zack Simons (Salt Lake City), who trains with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, and Kristina Strandberg of Sweden, a former University of New Mexico racer, won their respective titles.
The North American marathon schedule includes the 50K (reduced to 45K because of conditions) classic technique Noquemanon Marathon in Marquette, MI, as well the 30K freestyle City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis; the 30K FR Owl Creek Chase in Aspen, CO; the 52K FR (shortened to 25K because of conditions) American Birkebeiner between Cable and Seeley, WI; and the U.S. championship pursuits (mens 30K and womens 15K) plus the long-distance races (mens 50K CL and womens 30K CL) in Presque Isle, ME.
A recap of the 2007 SuperTour leaders:
Overall (24 races)
1. Lars Flora, Anchorage, AK - 533 points (8 wins)
2. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH - 426 (8 wins)
3. Garrott Kuzzy, Hayward, WI - 352
Distance (14 races)
1. Flora - 341 (5 wins)
2. Freeman - 330 (8 wins)
3. Kuzzy - 254
Sprint (10 races)
1. Flora - 192 (3 wins)
2. Eric Strabel, Anchorage, AK - 187 (2 wins)
3. Anders Haugen, Anchorage, AK - 162
Overall (24 races)
1. Caitlin Compton, Minneapolis - 541 points (4 wins)
2. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA - 491 (9 wins)
3. Kate Whitcomb, Ketchum, ID - 359 (2 wins)
Distance (14 races)
1. Compton - 314 (4 wins)
2. Kristina Strandberg, Sweden - 238 (2 wins)
3. Taz Mannix, Anchorage, AK - 225 (1 win)
Sprint (10 races)
1. Valaas - 350 (9 wins)
2. Compton - 227
3. Karin Camenisch, Switzerland - 197
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) and Taz Mannix (Anchorage, AK) each collected their second U.S. titles in 48 hours Sunday, April 1,, winning the gold medal in the mens 50K and womens 30K classic technique marathon, mass-start races - as the U.S. Cross Country Championships concluded.
Freeman, Mannix Repeat Titles at U.S. Championships
Freeman, a Type 1 diabetic who picked up his 10th national crown - and fourth this season, and Mannix, whose first U.S. gold medal came the previous Friday in the pursuit title race, also won the title as Grand National Champion, which is bestowed on the skier with the best overall results at the U.S. championships. The short-distance title races were held in January at Michigan Tech in Houghton; the Maine Nordic Heritage Center hosted the long-distance races, including the pursuits and the marathons.
In the mens four-lap race, Freeman won with a time of 2:01.01.6 with Canadian Alex Harvey second in 2:01.22.2. However, since only U.S. skiers qualify for U.S. medals, the silver medal went to Team CXC racer Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI) in 2:04.13.6 with the bronze going to Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA), who produced his first World Cup podium this season - in a sprint in Otepaeae, Estonia.
Mannix, Stephen duel to the end
Earlier, Mannix - who came out of the Alaska Winter Stars and APU Nordic programs before being named to the Ski Team this season - edged teammate Liz Stephen by 1.3 seconds in a final sprint. Her winning time after the three-lap race was 1:20.03.7 with Stephen, also in her first year with the Ski Team, timed in 1:20.05.0.
Freeman in control
"It was a pretty good day. I definitely was in control all the way," Freeman, a two-time Olympian, said. "I threw some surges in to break up the pack, and around 25Ks I dropped everyone but Harvey. Hes a good skier - he had good skis, but hes a good skier and stayed with me.
"Then, heading into the last five Ks, I put in another couple of surges, and finally in the last three Ks he couldnt keep up," the winner said. "It was a good race."
He said snow conditions were dramatically different from a year ago when he also won the 50K CL in Maine. "The snow was fast on the first [12.5K] lap, nice and firm, then it was a little softer on the next lap, and softer on each of the next laps. They were perfect New England spring conditions," according to Freeman.
"I had a great season although I never had a GREAT result all year. A couple were pretty close; I wish I hadnt fallen in the pursuit at Worlds," he went on," and I had bad luck [with a snowstorm] in the 15K, but aside from that I had six top-20s and a 21st, and way fewer World Cup races than I usually do, so I think this was probably my best all-round season."
Coach Matt Whitcomb said the women had hard and fast, icy conditions, which - as Freeman said - softened as the men raced. "Harvey responded to every surge Bird [Freeman] threw out there until the end; he really worked hard...and with about three Ks Bird unleashed the fury, and that was it."
In the womens race, he said, "It was tight to the end and Taz out-sprinted Liz for the finish. It was so close and they did a great job. At about nine Ks, they blew the pack apart and skied off. Its good to see them coming on the way they did," Whitcomb said.
In addition to the U.S. titles, the races doubled as SuperTour Finals. By finishing fifth, Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK), who already had clinched the SuperTour overall title, also secured the mens distance championship. In the womens ranks, Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis) was 10th, but it was good enough for her to win both the womens overall and distance titles from Team CXC teammate - and sprint champion - Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA).
2007 U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Nordic Heritage Center
Presque Isle, ME - April 1, 2007
Mens 50K Classic, Mass Start
(Only U.S. skiers eligible for medals)
1. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH/U.S. Ski Team, 2:01.01.6
2. Alex Harvey, Canada, 2:01.22.2
3. Garrott Kuzzy, Hayward, WI/Team CXC, 2:04.13.6
4. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA/U.S. Ski Team, 2:04:43.5
5. Lars Flora, Anchorage, AK/Subaru Factory Team, 2:06.04.4
Womens 30K Classic, Mass Start
(Only U.S. skiers eligible for medals)
1. Taz Mannix, Anchorage, AK/U.S. Ski Team, 1:20.03.7
2. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT/U.S. Ski Team, 1:20.05.0
3. Brittany Webster, Canada, 1:20.33.1
4. Kate Whitcomb, Sun Valley, ID/Team FSx, 1:22.18.2
5. Haley Johnson, Presque Isle/Maine Winter Sports Center, 1:22.19.0
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) earned his third U.S. title of the season Friday, March 30 - and his ninth overall - while Taz Mannix (Anchorage, AK) collected the first of her career in the pursuit races opening the last phase of the U.S. Cross Country Championships.
Freeman, Mannix Win U.S. Pursuit Titles
The long-distance races from the championship are doubling as SuperTour Finals at the Nordic Heritage Center.
Freeman, a two-time Olympian, led the 15K classic technique stage of the 30K race by nearly a minute and went on through the 15K freestyle portion to win in 1:12.23.6. Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI) was silver medalist with a time of 1:13.17.5 and Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA), who earned his first World Cup podium - in a sprint - this season, was third.
Pursuits begin with a mass start and, Freeman said, "Right from the gun, I went pretty hard. Theres a nasty downhill out of the start and I wanted to be up front to avoid any trouble. At the bottom of the downhill, I decided I didnt want to deal with traffic, so I broke from the pack."
Freeman, a diabetic who had his best World Cup season in three years, including a top-10 finish in China, had won the 10K classic technique and 15K free at the short-distance championships at Michigan Tech (Houghton, MI) in January. He has one race left Sunday, April 1 in the 50K CL, a race in which hes the defending gold medalist.
The men skied three times around a 5K classic technique loop and then three times around a 5K skating loop; the women had a 7.5K CL loop and a 7.5K freestyle leg.
"They did a great job preparing the tracks," Freeman said. "It was really bad skiing yesterday - icy, boilerplate conditions, but they worked the snow all night and it was granular today and fine for racing."
Mannix won the womens 15K pursuit with a total time of 41:05.0. Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) was silver medalist in 41:53.6 and Lindsay Williams (Hastings, MN) third.
Coincidentally, Mannix had spent time with Stephen and her family after they returned two weeks ago from the Under-23 World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, where Mannix turned-in the fastest skating leg to move up 14 places to ninth in the pursuit. "I got to ski with Liz in Vermont before we came here and the snow was great, so I felt good...and this was a really good day, for sure.
"I think the course was suited to my strengths - the classic portion had some technical downhills, some gradual climbing sections and you had to work it the entire time. And then the skate section had a lot of downhill and then a sustained K-and-a-half, two Ks climb back to the finish," she said.
In her first season on the U.S. Ski Team, she said the preseason conditioning program has helped and shes learned a lot. "Sometimes at the end of a season an athletes burned out and his or her bodys tired, but I still feel fresh and Im really excited about my first season on the Ski Team," she said.
"Its such a balancing act, getting to know how much to push your body, but not to push it too much, how much to train, and when youre traveling, learning about training. I feel like Ive balanced that training and travel and recovery. Its been a good year," Mannix said.
The championships conclude Sunday, April 1 with the distance races - womens 30K classic and mens 50K CL. At the U.S. championships, only U.S. skiers are eligible for medals. Foreign skiers are listed in the Guest Class category.
2007 U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Nordic Heritage Center
Presque Isle, ME - March 30, 2007
(Only U.S. skiers eligible for medals)
Mens 30K Pursuit (15K CL+15K FR)
1. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH/U.S. Ski Team, 1:12.23.6
2. Alex Harvey, Canada, 1:13.17.5
3. Garrott Kuzzy, Hayward, WI/Team CXC, 1:13.47.4
4. Chris Butler, Canada, 1:13.47.7
5. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA/U.S. Ski Team, 1:1:14.27.8
6. Lars Flora, Anchorage, AK/APU Nordic, 1:15.02.3
7. Brayton Osgood, Putney, VT/Team Alpina/XC Oregon, 1:15.12.8
8. Dave Chamberlain, Bethel, ME/Maine Winter Sports Center, 1:15.20.1
9. Marius Korthauer, Germany/University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1:15.23.8
10. Colin Rodgers, Sun Valley, ID/FSx, 1:15.32.3
Womens 15K Pursuit (7.5K CL+7.5K FR)
(Only U.S. skiers eligible for medals)
1. Brittany Webster, Canada, 41:02.5
2. Taz Mannix, Anchorage, AK/Alaska Pacific U. Nordic/U.S. Ski Team, 41:05.0
3. Dasha Gaiazova, Canada, 41:33.4
4. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT/Burke Mountain Academy/U.S. Ski Team, 41:53.6
5. Lindsay Williams, Hastings, MN/Northern Michigan U./U.S. Ski Team, 41:56.6
6. Lindsey Weier, Mahtomedi, MN/NMU/U.S. Ski Team, 42:09.3
7. Morgan Arritola, Fairfield, ID/Sun Valley SEF/U.S. Ski Team, 42:09.7
8. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA/Team CXC, 42:42.6
9. Brooke Gosling, Canada, 42:43.3
10. Caitlin Compton, Minneapolis/Team CXC, 43:42.4
Former nordic combined sprint world champion Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) is resting and rehabbing his right shoulder after surgery to repair a broken bone with cadavers. He plans to be "ready to roll" for next season.
Successful Shoulder Surgery for Spillane
Spillane, 26 and a three-time Olympian in the sport that mixes ski jumping and cross country skiing, underwent the surgery Monday, March 26, at The Orthopedic Surgery Hospital in Salt Lake City. He injured it during dryland training in February, on the eve of the World Championships in Japan, and eventually had to stop his World Cup season a week early because of the pain.
He has to keep his right arm in a sling for a month or more, depending on recovery, he said, and then will move through the next stage of rehab. "Ill be extra patient with this; I want it to heal extra strong," he said.
Doctor Michael Metcalf operated on Spillane, repairing the broken coracoid process, reattaching it to his shoulder blade, sewing a cadaver graft into the ligaments to provide stability to the collarbone and shoulder.
"Were hard on our shoulders, and surgery last year apparently had weakened it," Spillane explained. "My arm and shoulder have to be completely supported all the time. Its been so frustrating these last couple of years, but Ill be ready to roll next season, and Im looking for a few years without injuries."
U.S. Distance Races Set for Northern Maine
The 2007 U.S. Cross Country Championships conclude this week with distance title races including U.S. Ski Team racers just off the World Cup tour. Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) will be looking to earn his third and fourth championships of the winter.
The championships, which also double as the $130,000 USSA SuperTour Finals, will have not only U.S. Ski Team racers but a large influx of college and citizen skiers for the three events.
March 28 - Freestyle Sprints on the Caribou Ski Trails at Caribou H.S. (not a U.S. title race)
March 30 - Pursuits, mens 30K (15 CL+15 FR) and womens 20K (10 CL+10 FR) at the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle
April 1 - Mens 50K FR and womens 30K FR at the Nordic Heritage Center
"The Nordic Heritage Center staged great championships last year under tough conditions, and were looking forward to another outstanding set of races," U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said. "They have a challenging set of trails, which add to the excitement, and the enthusiasm from the community is terrific. Starting with the sprints Wednesday, these should be a mix of fun and intensity, and a nice way for everyone to end the racing season."
A year ago, two-time Olympians Freeman and Wendy Wagner (Park City, UT) won the long-distance titles. Wagner retired at the end of the season, but Freeman is still racing - and won two more gold medals, over short distances - at the U.S. championships at Michigan Tech in Houghton in January.
Freeman will be back to defend his 50K title as well as the pursuit crown, which he won a year ago. Other U.S. Ski Team athletes, who have competed at the World Championships, the U-23 Championships and the Junior World Championships include Olympians Lindsey Weier (Mahtomedi, MN) and Lindsay Williams (Hastings, MN) who recently won NCAA ski titles.
U.S. Team Digest - March 23-26, 2007
•••Demong Sweeps Nature Valley U.S. Champs•••
Completing a gold-medal sweep of the weekend, Nordic combined Olympian Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) cruised to his third national title by winning the normal hill Sunday, March 25 at the Nature Valley Ski Jumping Championships.
Demong, who is a skiing ambassador for the Olympic Regional Development Authority in Lake Placid, won the large hill (HS127) and Nordic combined titles Saturday. Sunday, he jumped 98 and 98.5 meters, good for 261.5 points.
Fellow combined skier Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) was silver medalist with jumps of 90 and 89.5 meters (225.0) while up-and-coming junior Nick Fairall (Andover, NH) was bronze medalist in the contest on Howelsens 100-meter hill.
"It was outstanding: finish the season in the sun in Steamboat with a win and my mother and sister out here. Ive been very lucky in my life, but this has been a great streak. Im really pleased, really proud," Demong said. "Good to have Johnny on the podium, of course, but good for Nick, too. Hes an eastern guy, and hes a really hard worker. This is a big step for him."
The victory brought Demong his sixth U.S. championship and closes a sizzling month of March that also saw a World Championships silver medal and World Cup victory in combined, thanks to a generous boost from his jumping. He has won three jumping titles and three Nordic combined gold medals.
"Its special to sweep the weekend like this. Ive got some goals. I hope Im not done yet in winning titles."
Demong said the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club crew at Howelsen Hill "deserve lots of credit for keeping the hill so good. It was awesome. Weve had a lot of nationals in Steamboat and were usually fighting the sun. It was mostly cloudy but Im not sure it ever got below 40, maybe 45 this weekend, and they kept pumps going all night, kept salt on the hill and the in-run to keep things stable and did just an outstanding job."
In the womens ski jumping, Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) again led the field, collecting the 12th U.S. title of her career. She jumped 91 and 92 meters, receiving 234.5 points. Brenna Ellis (also Park City) earned the silver medal with jumps of 83 and 83.5 meters while high school student Avery Ardovino (also Park City) was bronze medalist.
•••Demong Wins Jumping, Combined Gold•••
Three-time Olympian and World Championships silvler medalist Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) swept both the U.S. Nordic combined and large hill ski jumping gold medals Saturday as the Nature Valley U.S. Nordic Championships weekend got underway at Steamboat. Combiners swept the medals podium in each event.
"Billy jumped well and then he skied well. He started with a 38-second lead over Johnny [Spillane - Steamboat Springs, CO] and Brett [Camerota - Park City, UT], and he won by over a minute," combined Coach Dave Jarrett said. The first round of jumping on Howelsen Hills 127-meter jump was used as part of the Nordic combined championship, which concluded with a 7.5K race from the adjacent Romick Rodeo Arena.
"I was a little nervous," Demong, who arrived in Steamboat Friday night, said after collecting his fourth and fifth U.S. championships - his third combined title and second jumping crown. "I was feeling a little pressure to perform...but it all worked out nicely." Adding to the enjoyment: Demongs mother and sister are in Steamboat to watch him compete.
Demong led the large hill event with jumps of 119.5 and 119 meters, good for 248.9 points with Spillane second following jumps of 111.5 and 110.5 meters (217.2). Third place went to Camerota on jumps of 112 and 109 meters (214.4).
Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) collected her 11th U.S. jumping title, rallying on her final jump to overtake first-round leader Avery Ardovino (also Park City) and Alissa Johnson (also Park City). Third in the first round, Van jumped 111.5 meters for 211.7 points to 189.2 for Ardovino and 181.8 for Johnson.
In the Nordic combined event, Demongs first jump - taken as the jumping portion of the combined event - put him 38 seconds ahead of Spillane and Brett Camerota for the three-lap race. While Demong went on to his first combined championship since 2002, Spillane skied away from Camerota in the final lap for the Nordic combined silver medal with Camerota taking that bronze.
•••Freeman 19th in Swedish Ski Games Pursuit•••
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) finished 19th Saturday, March 24 in a slushy 30K pursuit race at the Swedish Ski Games as the World Cup season neared its final event Sunday. World Cup champion Tobias Angerer of Germany won a final sprint with three others while ex- champion Marit Bjoergen of Norway took the womens 15K pursuit.
In sunny, springtime conditions, with the temperatures around 40 F., Angerer won in 1:31.18.0 with Swede Mathias Fredriksson second, 0.2 seconds back. Freeman, who was part of the lead pack through 25Ks, finished in 1:32.31.4. Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK) was 59th.
In the womens race, Bjoergen took charge in the final 7.5K freestyle technique phase, winning in 51:40.9 with Czech Katerina Neumannova runnerup (51.44.1). Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK), breaking into distance racing as she reaches beyond her traditional sprint strength, was 46th.
"It was a very tough day," Coach Chris Grover said. "There were patches of water in the tracks and pure ice elsewhere. It was a very slow 15K for the women and then the guys found unreal soft conditions."
Freeman was the last skier out of the stadium in the 15K classic technique stage of the mass start race, Grover said, "and we thought hed fallen. But he just got a slow start, and then he started making up time and moving forward."
At the 20K mark, Freeman was 12th, but he was only 2.2 seconds off the leaders, Angerer, Fredriksson and Anders Soedergren, also of Sweden. By 25 kilometers, Freeman was 21st, 24.5 seconds back.
"The leaders would get strung out on the ups, then accordion back together on the downhills. It was really over the last five Ks where the lead group made a little move on the second group," Grover explained. "It was tough to pass because snow alongside the track was so soft, and Kris just got stuck back there. But it was another good race for him, a good end to the World Cup season."
It was the sixth international top-20 of the season for Freeman, a diabetic who earned four in World Cups - including 10th in a 15K freestyle in China - and two at the World Championships. He also has won two U.S. titles and goes for two more at the long distance U.S. Cross Country Championships, which open Friday, March 23 in Presque Isle, Maine, at the Maine Winter Sports Center.
The World Cup season concludes Sunday, March 25 with mens and womens relays.
U.S. Team Digest - March 21, 2007
March 21, 2007
••••Newell Finishes 6th in Sprint Standings/Randall 12th in sprint points••••
Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), capping his best season of World Cup racing, was 13th in a sprint around the royal palace - the final World Cup sprint of the season, lifting him into sixth place in sprint standings.
Newell finished no lower than 14th in any of the eight sprints this winter, giving him the highest sprint standing of any U.S. skier since the sprints were added to the World Cup in the 1996 season.
Russian Mickail Deviatiarov won the sprint, edging Emil Joensson of Sweden. Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) finished 29th and was 19th for the season.
In the womens race, Slovenian Petra Majdic won with World Cup champion Virpi Kuitunen of Finland second. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) was 30th, finishing the season 12th in sprint points.
The final World Cup cross country races are Saturday - the mens 30K (15+15) and the womens 20K (10+10) - during the Swedish Ski Games in Falun.
March 18, 2007
••••Demong 3rd in Final Combined Sprint for Career Best Season••••
World Championships silver medalist Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.) moved up four places in the 7.5K sprint to finish third, ending his best Nordic combined World Cup season on the podium behind Jason Lamy Chappuis of France and Felix Gottwald of Austria. Eric Camerota (Park City, Utah) was 27th.
Demong, whose season included the second World Cup victory of his career and a silver medal at the 2007 FIS Freestyle World Championships, was seventh in the lone round of jumping and started the four-lap race 56 seconds behind jumping leader Espen Rian of Norway.
At the 5.6K mark, Demong was second, a half-minute behind Lamy Chappuis and at the front of a five-skier "train" - with Gottwald having moved up from 19th after jumping to fourth, two seconds back of Demong. Gottwald pulled by in a short time and skied off while Demong, who had to scramble during the jumping event to get a second jump after the jury agreed he had been given the go-ahead in poor conditions, held onto third place.
"Felix definitely was pouring it on to retire with a big one," Demong said, "and when he caught me, just as I was breaking away from several guys, I dont think we skied together for three seconds and then he was gone."
Demong finished 11th in points, his best performance since he was 10th in 2002 - but suffered a fractured skull that summer in a fluke swimming pool accident. This winter, he said, was a "far more" satisfying season. "I came into the season with some confidence, and my jumping got better every competition. This, seventh, was my best jump result of the season...and my cross country has been strong all along."
"It was close, but it was also the way the day went. Still, its a pretty good day - a podium for Billy and World Cup points for Eric. Good for both of them. Eric should realize he can ski at this level, ski with these guys," Head Coach Lasse Ottesen said.
"Billy was totally out of gas at the end. Hed had quite a bit of activity during the jump, and it caught up with him...and he had nothing left in the tank, so this was an even more impressive result. Im psyched for both of them."
Gusting winds caused several holds during the jumping stage, including in front of Demong. When a forejumper finally was sent and then Demong, he went only 79 meters. Ottesen said he spoke to the assistant technical delegate, Finn Tapio Juonnonen, and suggested Demong should get another jump because his speed in the in-run was two kilometers slower than most jumpers. A few jumpers later, when the winds flared again, officials agreed to give Demong a re-jump. He hustled back to the top of the jump and arrived just in time and laid down a 98.5-meter jump, which set the stage for his podium.
"I was running, but if I didnt get the jump, I wouldnt have been [crazy]. I knew today was going to be nuts because of the winds, so whatever happened, happened, and if I didnt get a second jump, I would have gone back, packed my gear and been ready to come home," he said. "Ive learned to be more patient and a day like today wasnt going to throw me."
March 17, 2007
••••U-23s: Mannix Fastest Skate Leg in Pursuit••••
Taz Mannix (Anchorage, Alaska/Alaska Winter Stars/Alaska Pacific U. Nordic/U.S. B Team) had the fastest skating leg to finish ninth in the womens 15K pursuit that concluded the FIS U-23 World Championships.
Ioulia Tchekaleva had the second-fastest time in each stage of the mass start race, which begins with 7.5 kilometers of classic technique and then 7.5 Ks of freestyle. Her gold-medal time was 41:53.8 as she out-skied Coraline Hugue of France, who was 6.4 seconds back. Czech Ivana Janeckova was the bronze medalist.
Mannix was 23rd in the classic phase but she tore through the field in the freestyle to move up 14 places and finish ninth in the field of 43 with a time of 42:38.0. Morgan Arritola (Fairfield, Idaho/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation/U.S. B Team) was 23rd, moving up 19 spots as she turned-in the 13th-fastest freestyle loop.
In the mens 30K, Dario Cologna took his second gold, this time in 1:21.50.4 while teammate Curdin Perl and Russian Stanislav Volzhentsev tied for the silver, each finishing 1.6 seconds back of Cologna. Top U.S. result came from Ben True (Hanover, N.H./Dartmouth College), who finished 36th in the field of 74.
March 17, 2007
••••Freeman 21st in 50K CL at Holmenkollen••••
Kris Freeman (Andover, N.H.) finished 21st in the mens 50K classic race at Holmenkollen in sunny, 45-degree weather, a race won by newly crowned 50K CL world champion Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset of Norway. Kikkan Randall(Anchorage, Alaska) was 38th in the womens 30K CL behind Finlands Aino Kaisa Saarinen.
Hjelmeset, who edged teammate and close friend Frode Estil by four-tenths of a second for the 50K title at the 2007 FIS Nordic World Championships in Japan earlier this month, won in 2:17.22; that was a mass-start race and this had a traditional, 30-second interval start. World Cup champion Tobias Angerer of Germany was second in the field of 48 (2:17.31.8) and Estil was third, another 22 seconds off the pace.
Freeman, who was 27th in the 50K CL at Holmenkollen two years ago, finished with a time of 2:23.26.9. Lars Flora (Anchorage, Alaska) had to scratch because of sickness.
"Kris wanted to start at a pace he could maintain and he did well until he took a spill late in the race. These are three of the toughest laps anyone can ski and the course was very technical on some places - ice covered with slush, so the downhills were especially tricky," Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. "He was heading to a top-15 but he took a tumble and that took him out of it, but Kris did a good job. Ive got no complaints with his race."
Saarinen finished in 1:23.55.7, a half-minute ahead of World Cup champ and teammate Virpi Kuitunen with Slovenian Petra Majdic in third place. Randall, the lone American and looking to build her base beyond her sprint skills, finished in 1:34.09.7.
"Im really happy with where we are," Vordenberg said. "Weve made good progress this year, but just because youve made one good step doesnt mean the youll make the next one, so we have to keep working on things...and we know what we need to do. After 2003 [when Freeman was fourth and Carl Swenson, now retired, was fifth in races at Worlds and the next year when Freeman had fifth- and sixth-place results in World Cups, and the sprinters began to emerge], we thought, Were on our way. And it didnt happen.
"Just like in a race if you get a good first split, it doesnt mean youre on your way, either. We have a tremendous amount of work to do, but Im so encouraged by what Ive seen and what weve done," Vordenberg said. "Now we need to make that second step."
March 16, 2007
••••JWCs: Stephen 16th, Turzian 20th in Pursuit ••••
The U.S. Ski Team got two more top-20 results at the 2007 Nordic Junior World Ski Championships as Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, V.T./Burke Mountain Academy/U.S. B Team) was 16th and Alexa Turzian (Sun Valley, Idaho/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) 19th in the womens 10K pursuit.
The race started with a 5K classic technique leg and then a 5K free technique leg, and was won by Charlotte Kalla of Sweden, who earned her third medal (second gold) of the championships. Kalla, who had the fastest 5K classic leg and the fastest 5K skating leg, won in 26:10.9 - nearly 41 seconds ahead of four Norwegians led by Marte Monrad-Hansen (26:51.7).
Stephen, who was seventh two days earlier in the 5K free, had the sixth-fastest 5k free in the race and moved up 27 places in the final lap to finish in 27:50.8. Turzian, the U.S. 10K champion although shes only a senior at Wood River H.S., was eighth fastest over the 5K freestyle loop and passed 18 skiers in the field of 76.
March 15, 2007
••••U-23s: Mannix 14th in Womens 10K FR••••
Taz Mannix (Anchorage, Alaska/Alaska Winter Stars/Alaska Pacific U. Nordic/U.S. B Team) was 14th in the womens 10K freestyle at the 2007 FIS Under-23 Cross Country World Championships.
On the second day of the U-23s, Swiss skiers - each wearing bib No. 4 - swept both races. Silvana Bucher of Switzerland won the two-lap 10K with a time of 24:28.1 and Mannix finished in 25:21.5. Morgan Arritola (Fairfield, Idaho/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation/U.S. B Team) was 25th.
In the mens 15K FR, Dario Colognas winning time was 34:57.0, more than 45 seconds ahead of Russian Ilia Chernousov (35:44.2). Top American result in the 40-degree sunshine came from Mike Sinnott (Sun Valley, Idaho/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation/Dartmouth College) in 46th place (39:34.0).
March 15, 2007
••••Klebl, Cook 2nd in Disabled XC Overall••••
The U.S. Disabled Cross Country Team wrapped up the 2007 IPC Disabled World Cup with second-year World Cup skier Chris Klebl (sit-ski; Heber City, Utah) and Paralympic gold medalist Steve Cook (standup; Salt Lake City) second in the overall World Cup standings.
Klebls World Cup podium total for the season clicked off at eight with one victory and seven second place finishes in nine races, while Cook piled up five podium finishes, including three victories.
"Both these guys worked extremely hard in a season that was pretty challenging in terms of snow conditions, but they plowed right through," said Head Coach Jon Kreamelmeyer. "Chris just out works everyone, hes such an intelligent guy and really does his research - he knows everything there is to know about skiing, from waxes to skis to grinds to venues, hes on it and that shows in his skiing. Plus his dedication to training is truly inspiring, I couldnt be more proud of what hes accomplished this year."
With two races on Vancouver Island, Klebl won the mens 16K on with a time of 56:26.3, while four Americans loaded the top 10. Greg Mallory (sit-ski; Portland, Ore.) was fourth, with Andy Soule (sit-ski; Sun Valley, Idaho) sixth and Sean Halsted (sit-ski; Gig Harbor, Wash.) in seventh.
It was Mallorys turn to step up in the sprint, topping the field with Klebl in second, Halsted fifth and Soule sixth.
"The young guys really stepped it up this season and thats one of the biggest highlights," added Kreamelmeyer. "Mallory, Soule and Halsted all did a great job getting up there. Soule especially, this was his first World Cup event and as a development guy, its huge to see him up there. This season has far exceeded my expectations and that puts a big smile on my face as we look forward."
Cook skied to fourth in the standing mens 20K, then battled back in the sprint to finish fifth.
"Steve has always been the work horse of this team. He won the overall title at Fort Kent, Maine in 2005, then was pretty sick before winning three medals at the Paralympics last year, so he finished third and now second this year. Theres room on his shelf for pretty much every bit of hardware you can win," said Kreamelmeyer.
In the womens races, two-time Paralympian Kelly Underkofler (St. Paul, Minn.) powered her way into the sprint final, finishing fourth, but focused on biathlon, where she was third in the overall World Cup standings for the season.
March 14, 2007
••••JWCs: Stephen 7th in Freestyle Sprint••••
Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, V.T./Burke Mountain Academy/U.S. B Team) skied to seventh place in the womens 5K freestyle race at the 2007 FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships. Alexa Turzian (Sun Valley, Idaho/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) was 16th in the field of 83.
Swede Charlotte Kalla, silver medalist in the 1.3K classic sprints, won in 11:44.5, a half-minute ahead of four Norwegians led by Martha Kristofferson with sprint champion Astrid Jacobsen in third place.
Stephen skied the one-loop race in 12:36.4 with Turzian, the U.S. 10K freestyle champion, who plans to enter Middlebury College in the fall, timed in 12:46.2.
In the mens 10K FR, Martti Jylhae of Finland - who also was silver medalist in the sprint - won with a time of 22:40.9. Kazakh Alexey Poltaranin was the silver medalist and Canadian Alex Harvey was bronze medalist in 23:11.4. Top American was Matt Gelso (Truckee, Calif./Auburn Ski Club/U.S. B Team), who finished 29th in the field of 94.
March 14, 2007
••••JWCs: Keate Leads U.S. in Combined••••
World Championships bronze medalist Anssi Koivuranta of Finland led the jumping and held off Austrian Marco Pichlmayer to capture the gold medal in Nordic combined at the 2007 FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships. Skyler Keate (Salt Lake City/National Sports Foundation/U.S. B Team) had the top U.S. result, finishing 37th.
Koivuranta, who was overtaken by Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.) for the silver medal at the World Championships in Japan on a 15K course, had the best jumps and made his lead stand up over a 10K Junior Worlds course. He finished 16.4 seconds ahead of Pichlmayer, who was followed by two teammates.
Keate was 34th in jumping on the 109-meter hill in the field of 63 and finished the four-lap course almost nine minutes back of Koivuranta.
March 14, 2007
••••Newell 12th in Drammen Classic Sprint••••
Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, V.T.) finished 12th in the annual classic technique sprint World Cup race through Drammen, a village about 25 miles west of Oslo. Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) was 15th.
Norways Boerre Naess nipped Swedens Mats Larsson for the mens win while World Cup champion Virpi Kuitunen of Finland took the womens race from Petra Majdic of Slovenia before an enthusiastic crowd with temperatures near 50 degrees.
Newell made it out of quarterfinals with Naess in a heat that included two other top Norwegians: former sprint Olympic and world champion Tor Arne Hetland and veteran Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset, who also is the new 50K world champion. In semis, he was up against four Norwegians and rising Japanese star Yuichi Onda, finishing fourth. In the "B Final" (places 7-12), he ran out of gas, Coach Pete Vordenberg said.
"Andy was just totally out of juice. Hed given everything and just had nothing left, but you know hes not going down without a fight," the coach said. "He was behind a Scandinavian roadblock in semis and just had nothing left to give, but there are no excuses for him at any time; Andy doesnt think that way.”
"I think the finals heat of the day, though, was Koos quarterfinal. He had the world champion, [ Norwegian Jens Arne] Svartedal, and he had the World Cup leader from earlier this season, [Norwegian Eldar] Roenning...and the Olympic champion, [Swedens Bjoern] Lind. Three Norwegians racing in Norway, two Swedes...and Koos...and he beat Svartedal and Roenning, and he just got out-numbered...but he was in there to the end, too. That was some outstanding heat."
Kikan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska), the only U.S. woman to step onto a World Cup podium, was 34th in the womens race and Chris Cook (Rhinelander, Wisc.) finished 38th in the mens sprint.
"When she can get into a classic [technique] finals, Kikkans okay because shes so crafty and she finds a way to dart through and pass," Vordenberg said. "But this race was one good example of the work we have to do in classic. Kikkan can be on the podium in classic, too. I have no doubt about that I also have no doubt shes going to work hard this summer on her classic, and shell improve there, too."
February 28, 2007
••••Biathlete Wins Snowy Mens 15K Freestyle/Squall Creates Surprise Podium Result••••
Biathlete Lars Berger of Norway was the surprise gold medalist in the mens 15K freestyle at the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships as a harder-than-expected snowstorm struck midway through the starting field. Lars Flora and James Southam (both Anchorage, Alaska) had the top U.S. results, finishing 57th and 58th in the field of 119 racers.
Berger normally skis biathlon but has skied in several World Cup cross country races - and was fourth, less than three seconds from the bronze medal in the 15K at the 2005 Worlds; he started 55th and finished in 35:50.0 for the win. Unheralded Belarussian Leanid Karneyenka, who skied No. 2 before the storm struck, took the silver medal (36:25.8) while defending World Cup champion and current points leader Tobias Angerer of Germany finishing third (36:42.4).
"It started snowing harder right when we were starting," said Flora, who skied out of the No. 53 start. Southam ran 57th with Andrew Johnson (Greensboro, V.T.) 62nd and Kris Freeman (Andover, N.H.) 76th. "It snowed around bib 25 for maybe five minutes and then it stopped...and then it began really pounding a little after we started."
Floras time was 39:13.0 while Southam finished in 39:15.8. Freeman, who was 10th at the 2K mark, 8.7 second off the pace and 20th, nearly 50 seconds out by 5.7 Ks, finished 65th in the two-lap race.
"It was kind of insane," Flora said. "All I was thinking was At least were not classic skiing...or waxing for someone skiing classic. It was a crazy day."
The snow was problematic, he said, adding, "I dont think it was my best performance of the year, but we skied solid - nothing amazing, but nothing bad, either. They thought it was gonna be smaller, just a little storm. The uphills were okay, downhills okay because they were packed...but the winds on the flats really sucked you down. That made it tougher."
"Im not even tired," said Freeman, who was 19th Saturday in the 30K pursuit. "I feel so good...really, so great. I focused my whole season on this one race and for that squall to come in just sucks."
Head Coach Pete Vordenberg, regrouping quickly, canceled plans for the mens 4x10K relay Friday "so we can focus on the 50K Sunday. I think the 50K is still a good opportunity for the guys to have a good result for the team, and running the relay would not be the best preparation for the 50.”
He admired Bergers result - "Bergers legit, no problem with him winning because hes a fine skier, cross country and biathlon" - and was equally impressed with Angerer getting the bronze medal. "He mustve had an incredible race, just incredible. The snow stopped while he was out there, but it was coming down hard when he started, too, so he must have really turned it on in those final kilometers."
February 28, 2007
••••Randall To Scramble in Relay/U.S. Men Set Focus On 50K••••
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska) will ski the "scramble" (leadoff) leg for the U.S. Ski Team in the womens 4x5K relay at the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.
Shell be followed, according to Head Coach Pete Vordenberg, by Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, Wash.) in the second classic technique leg and then Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis, Minn.) in the first freestyle leg with Sarah Konrad (Laramie, Wyo.) skiing anchor. Compton leads the USSA Cross Country SuperTour, the premier schedule of domestic races nationwide each winter, while Valaas is second overall and has clinched the sprint title.
"Kikkans been working on her distance racing, and this is only a 5K leg, and shes good in mass start events so Im excited to see what shell do," Vordenberg said. "Classic is Lauras strong point, so this should work well and Caitlin was sick coming into the races but shes been getting better every day, so this will be a good distance for her. And Sarahs a great athlete, not having the skiing here she was looking for, but shes a good skater and well see how it plays out for her."
Lindsey Weier (Mahtomedi, Minn.) returned home Wednesday so she can prepare for the NCAA Ski Championships next week hosted by the University of New Hampshire. The cross country races will be staged at the renowned Jackson Ski Touring Center.
A senior at Northern Michigan University and former Junior World Championships athlete, Weier has competed in the NCAAs the last two seasons. A year ago, she returned from racing at the Olympics and was bronze medalist in the 5K classic race at the championships in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA), who cruised to the Cross Country SuperTour Sprint title this winter, scrambled her way to the silver medal in the 1.3K classic technique sprint in the opening race of the Under-23 Cross Country Championships. All three U.S. women were in the top 13.
•••••Valaas Sprints to U-23 Silver in Italy - First U-23 Medal by a U.S. Woman•••••
Slovakian Alena Prochazkova took the gold medal just ahead of Valaas, a Whitman College graduate, with Estonian Piret Pormeister in third place. Northern Michigan University racer Morgan Smyth (Vernon, VT) was eighth and Lindsay Williams (Hastings, MN), another NMU skier, finished 13th in the field of 43.
In the mens race, Swedes Robin Bryntesson and Marcus Hellner went 1-2 while Tyson Flaharty (Fairbanks, AK), an Alaska Pacific University Nordic skier, was 24th and Michael Sinnott (Sun Valley, ID), fresh from helping Dartmouth College win its first NCAA Ski Championships title in 31 years, was 25th. Brenton Knight (Anchorage, AK), a University of Alaska Anchorage skier, was 40th and Bart Dengel (Valdez, AK) from the University of Alaska Fairbanks finishing 52nd.
Valaas medal is the first won by an American woman. Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) used the 2003 U-23s as his international launching pad, winning the opening mens event, a 30K classic race in Valdidentro, Italy. He was fourth in the pursuit, which closed those championships and a week later Freeman finished a shocking fourth in the 15K CL. In the 04 season, Freeman produced the best U.S. results in more than 20 years, finishing sixth and then fifth in two World Cup races.
Valaas joined the new CXC team from the Central Division this winter and has teamed with Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis, MN) to dominate the domestic racing scene. Each made her first World Championships team for Sapporo, Japan, last month; Valaas was 24th in the CL sprint at Worlds.
•••••Demong 11th in Hurricane Sprint•••••
Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) had a so-so lone jump Saturday, March 3 and finished 11th in a World Cup Nordic combined "Hurricane" sprint 24 hours after capturing the second win of his career at the Lahti Ski Games.
"To be 11th on a mediocre day still shows Billys skiing well. Hannu Manninen, Finlands defending World Cup champion and sprint gold medalist at World Championships last month in Japan was third yesterday behind Demong and 14th. Magnus Moan - Norways Olympic and Worlds silver medalist was 25th...so we learn from this, take the positives and keep going forward," Head Coach Lasse Ottesen said.
In the sprint, athletes get one jump and then race over 7.5 kilometers. In the Hurricane sprint, skiers are penalized so much distance - rather than the traditional time handicap - behind the top jumper and then line up in a swirl with everyone starting together, but with the field unrolling from the swirl as the athletes begin to go after the jumping leader.
Demong, silver medalist in the individual event at Worlds and winner of an individual competition Friday, was 16th in jumping and moved up five places in the race, finishing just over a minute back of German Bjoern Kircheisen. Felix Gottwald of Austria had the fastest sprint time and moved up from 13th to second, 14.2 seconds behind Kircheisen.
"Billy had a good trial jump, but then was about four meters shorter in the comp, and thats enough to hurt him," Ottesen said. "He was a little early on the jump - since you only get one jump, he wanted to make sure it was a good one, but he pushed a little too hard and came up short... and that dropped him back to start the race...
"And, Ive got to admit, Billy didnt have the skis he had yesterday. Hed catch up to everyone than theyd leave on the downhills...and hed catch up again - he said he felt good and he skied like it - and then theyd take off again."
Former sprint world champion Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) did not start the event because of continuing pain in his left shoulder, which was reinjured during the World Championships in dryland training.
•••••Randall 7th in FR Sprint at Lahti Ski Games•••••
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) finished seventh Saturday, March 3 in a 1.2K freestyle World Cup sprint at the Lahti Ski Games while Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) had the top U.S. mens result, finishing 14th in their 1.4K sprint.
World Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen of Finland won the womens sprint with teammate Riitta Liisa Roponen, also on the gold-medal winning sprint team at the recent World Championships in Japan, taking second.
Randall, who was second to Norways Marit Bjoergen in their quarterfinal heat, didnt qualify for finals from her semis heat. That put her in the B Final (places 7-12), where she had the fastest time.
Norwegian men, led by Jens Arne Svartedal - who won the mens sprint title at Worlds when it was a classic technique event, took the top three places. Newell was 14th with Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) 21st.
•••••Demong Wins Lahti World Cup - First World Cup Win in Five Years•••••
World Championships silver medalist Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) took the lead at the 8K mark Friday, March 2 and went on to the second World Cup Nordic combined victory of his career, winning by 6.6 seconds at the Lahti Ski Games.
"Im psyched to put another result back to back, just for my own confidence, that I didnt get lucky [in the sprint at Worlds], that this really is the shape Im in," Demong said. "Its nice to put together two in a row like this."
"Billy showed everyone that the medal he won last weekend in Sapporo [Japan, during the individual event at the 2007 FIS Nordic world Ski Championships] wasnt a fluke, wasnt a one-time lucky deal - that hes the real deal," Head Coach Lasse Ottesen said. "Hes shown that all year, but he just hasnt gotten to the podium," a reference to two photo finishes for third place which Demong lost each time.
The field was cut to 35 after the first round of jumping on the 130-meter hill; Demong was 10th with Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) 19th but Eric Camerota (Park City, UT), who was 38th, was eliminated.
Demong, 1:25 behind jump leader Espen Rian of Norway, started fast, reeling in skiers ahead of him as the six-lap 15K race opened, and he finished by holding off Sebastien Haseney of Germany, who was another minute behind Demong to start the race. Third place went to World Cup champion Hannu Manninen of Finland, who was nine seconds father off the pace with Ronny Ackermann of Germany, who has won the last three individual titles at World Championships, in fourth place.
"Today was good," Demong, a three-time Olympian from the Lake Placid region, said, "because I was out there by myself for the last 7.5 Ks...off the front, on my own. I didnt ski the best tactical race, but this is a hard course. Its an all-new course and it almost bit me.
"I was putting it out during the first five Ks but I was hanging on for the last 10. Well, thats probably a little exaggeration, but its really tough. When I spit out [No. 2 jumper Austrian Christoph] Bieler, I said Lets imagine theres somebody 20 seconds, or maybe 30 seconds, in front and I have to go get him. Those last five Ks I was digging deep, just kept putting one foot after the other...
"I took three [liquid] feeds and the last one kicked in for that last kilometer, gave me a little bit of juice in the legs," he said.
Lahti organizers revamped the traditional cross country layout, he said, which starts in a track & field stadium, climbs up a hill to a series of trails on the second level. But they ran the new trails down a couple of hillsides and back, creating more climb for the skiers.
"There are at least 10 solid climbs over five Ks, three of them are multiple-minute climbs, so its very challenging," he said.
The victory also washes out some of the sour taste he had from his 2002 World Cup triumph in Liberec, Czech Republic, when he won following a protest over weather conditions when a block of skiers refused to compete. "Today was much more satisfying," he said.
"Once he took the lead, Billy had control all the way although he said [before going into a press conference] he thought he might have pushed a little too hard on the second lap because he tired at the end as [Germanys Sebastien] Haseney put on a real effort to catch him."
It rained during the night and up until perhaps an hour before the jumping competition and then everything went still, Ottesen said. "Ive never seen Lahti this way, no wind whatsoever. It was definitely the calmest jumping competition weve had this year."
Demong and U.S. coaches said Pete Vordenberg, cross country head coach and his staff pitched in to test and wax the combiners skis Friday after combined waxer Snorre Haugland had a death in his family and returned earlier in the week to Norway for the funeral.
"We got it down to one pair apiece which Johnny, Eric and I wanted to ski on, and we gave our skis to Vordy and the guys. We counted on them for the pure, finishing touch and they did a bang-up job," he said, noting combined Coach Dave Jarrett also helped with the testing and waxing.
The Lahti Ski Games, at the end of every World Cup season, are among the most prestigious in Nordic skiing. The last American combined win in Lahti came in 1983 when Kerry Lynch won what turned out to be the next-to-last unofficial World Cup meet; the combined World Cup officially began with the 84 season - and Lynch was a co-winner in that opening event in Seefeld, Austria.
•••••Freeman Powers to 12th in Worlds 50K•••••
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) ignored shoulder pain and muscled his way through softening snow Sunday to finish 12th in a 50K mass start classic technique "slushfest," the final race of the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. It was the the fifth top 20 of the season for Freeman, who injects himself with insulin up to six times a day to fight diabetes.
Norwegian Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset out-sprinted teammate and defending champion Frode Estil for the gold medal by four-tenths of a second in 2:20.12.6 with Germanys Jens Filbrich taking bronze (2:20.17.1). Freeman, who injured his right shoulder in a fall during the 30K pursuit a week earlier, had a time of 2:22.51.5 with Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK) 37th and James Southam (also Anchorage) 50th in the field of 68 starters.
"It was a slushfest. One hill was firm at the start and by the last lap, it was slush. It was really soft," said Freeman of the six-lap Shirahatayama course. The weather was sunny with temperatures in the low 40s.
"There was a north loop and a south loop, and the south loop was slush to begin with and the north was firm - but at the end it was all slush, too," Freeman said. He won the U.S. 50K CL title at the end of last season in Fort Kent, ME, but noted wryly, "The pace here was a little faster."
His result is the second-best in U.S. history behind only Jim Galanes 11th-place finish at the 1978 Worlds in Lahti, Finland, before there were separate "freestyle" and "classic" technique distinctions for races, in a period when all races were classic.
Hjelmeset, 2005 Worlds 50K bronze medalist in a snowstorm behind Estil, was part of a five-man lead group that was left from an original pack of 10 skiers within 6.1 seconds of the lead at the 30K mark. Freeman, who was 10th - 4.7 seconds out at 20 Ks, was part of the chase group through the last half of the race.
"Around 30 Ks the lead group of guys was too fast and I stayed in the chase group the rest of the way," he said. "The chase would have guys drop back to it, or move up, and some would fall off and die...
"I put every drop of what I had into there. I was hoping for better things to come," he said. "The wax techs did an awesome job. I had awesome skis the whole way. My glide was better than everybody I was skiing with."
When he was toppled in the pursuit on opening weekend, Freeman said he strained upper biceps muscles in his right arm. "It was all right when I was poling," he explained, "but that was only during the poling motion. I cant lift my arm to the side, so it was painful taking feeds."
Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said, "We knew Kris could be top 10, and he was pretty close to that. He showed he can be a winner although I think that may be a year, maybe two, out. But hes shown hes on the way back. His trainings been going well but we have some work to do to erase that 2-1/2 minutes to put him on a podium."
He also said he was pleased with Floras effort, starting hard "and putting himself up with the leaders early. His goal was to be top 30, and he paid for it, but he kept fighting the whole way. I like that - go after your goal, no matter whats happening."
He echoed Freemans praise for the waxing staff and said the teamwork among all members of the staff - coaches, waxing technicians and others - was "awesome." At the same time, Vordenberg said, "Weve got a lot of good stuff to come, but its going to be hard work and we cant have any illusions. We still have a ways to go before were a consistent contender."
•••••Demong Wins World Champs Silver Medal•••••
Bill Demong of Vermontville, NY starting 100 seconds back after jumping, out-sprinted Finn Anssi Koivuranta by two-tenths of a second Saturday, March 3 to collect the silver medal in the Nordic combined individual event at the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, only the second medal in combined by a U.S. skier at the Olympics or World Championships.
Germanys Ronny Ackermann, fifth after jumping and starting 34 seconds behind leader Jason Lamy Chappuis of France, broke away for his third consecutive individual world championship. That left Demong, a three-time Olympian, and Koivuranta, second in jumping - 12 seconds back to start the 15K, to compete for silver.
Demong, eighth after jumping - 1:40 back of Lamy Chappuis, stalked Koivuranta, caught him at about 14Ks and stayed with him into the stadium before out-skiing him to the finish. Demongs medal is the second by an American combined skier following the sprint gold medal won at the 2003 Worlds by Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO), who was 20th despite a painful shoulder injury.
"I didnt think about it. I just kept looking forward, kept looking ahead,” Demong said of his race plan. He wasnt looking to "get a ride" from any of the other big guns who might be coming up in the four-lap race at the Shirahatayama cross country complex.
"I traded in those two photo finishes for a medal at Worlds," he said, referring to losing a photo finish for third place in two World Cups a week apart in early January.
Ackermann won in 38:35.6 with Demong taking silver in 38:44.1 and Koivuranta .2 back for bronze. Lamy Chappuis faded to 15th, three minutes out, while Spillane - 10th after jumping - was 20th, 3:42.3 back. Brett Camerota (Park City, UT) won a photo finish for 31st place and his twin brother Eric was 44th.
Demong told a press conference he may have benefited from a dropoff in jump training at weeks end when winds were bothersome and he was losing his concentration on the event although it was the competition he had singled-out as where he could turn in a top result.
After 2-1/2 weeks in Japan, he said, "I started to focus on more training and was losing [race focus. I was a little far off on the jump and I was losing my expectations. It was good today to come into this just trying to do my best on the jump hill and cross country."
Still, as he neared Koivuranta and could sense he was closing in on a medal, Demong said he played a mental game with himself so he didnt think too much about the podium." This is my first podium since 2002 when he won a pre-Olympic World Cup in Liberec, Czech Republic, my first top-10 in the Olympics or Worlds. I think I started to play a game in my head to keep my mind off that I was actually in third.
"I wanted to forget what was on the line, to make this just a ski race." He set a new goal of catching Ackermann. Demongs tactic worked as he skied up to the young Finn, skied with him and then passed him in a close duel for the finish.
Demong, who could have gone into the adjoining lane on Koivurantas right for the final 100 meters, said he felt he was being squeezed almost off the track as he passed Koivuranta over the last 40 meters.
"When I crossed the finish, I was in a different race. When I crossed the finish, it was, Oh, theres another guy ahead of me, not Ronny. I wasnt thinking this was Worlds, that Id won a medal...it took about 10-15 minutes to pull it back in," Demong said.
"I had a good feeling coming into this," said Demong, who is skiing the best cross country of his career. "I did some video homework and I was relaxed, ready to ski."
"Billy really stepped up today. He was ready to go," Head Coach Lasse Ottesen said. "We did some video last night; we looked back at some good stuff, some good jumps in training in Park City before we came here and in the World Cups in Oberstdorf and Ruhpolding, Germany, where he lost a photo finish for third place on consecutive weekends...did some side-by-sides, and looked at his good stuff.
"The wind wasnt such a big factor today, so he could have some good jumps...and then he went right at it in the race," Ottesen said. "This was definitely the comp we looked forward to.
"And if anyone deserved it, it was Bill. Hes got such a strong work ethic and hes been doing a helluva job all season. Hopefully, hes shown everyone else, too, that you have to work hard and believe in yourself - thats so important - to get a medal. They dont just hand these out; you cant buy em anywhere. You work for em."
Two-time Olympian Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) earned the first World Cup cross country podium by a U.S. woman Sunday, January 21, finishing third in a photo finish in a 1.2K freestyle sprint.
Randall Nabs First U.S. Womens Podium
Randall, who set U.S. marks for women's Olympic and World Cup cross country results last season, qualified ninth, was second in her quarterfinal heat, led her semifinal heat and lost the photo finish to Germany's Claudia Kuenzel-Nystad. The podium tops her fifth-place result in Borlaenge, Sweden, after the 2006 Olympics. Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) was 10th behind Italy's Renato Pasini in the men's sprint with Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) 19th.
Following a day of rain, Sunday dawned with temperatures around 20 degrees F. Arianna Follis of Italy won the sprint with Kuenzel-Nystad, the wife of ex-U.S. Coach Trond Nystad, in second, Randall third and World Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen of Finland fourth.
"Claudia got me by an inch or two and I got [Kuitunen] by an inch or two. It was wild," Randall said.
Originally, Rybinsk was to have held a team sprint, but when a lack of snow forced cancellation of a sprint in Cogne, Italy, Rybinsk picked up the individual race rather than go on with the team event.
Randall came up with a strong tempo in the finals heats, where the top two skiers advance. She was second in the quarterfinal (behind Kuitunen), led her semifinal heat (ahead of Kuitunen) and was in the final charge to the finish line, again just ahead of Kuitunen.
Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said, "Kikkan's a crafty racer besides being fit and fast. She's the right kind of mean - when you're racing, and she blasts her way through a spot too small to get through. Kikkan's really crafty."
"I had a dream last night that I'd qualified third, but I didn't see how I did in the finals heats because the dream didn't go on long enough," Randall laughed. "I was happy when I woke up and saw it had cooled off [after Saturday's rain] and the track had firmed up."
She described the course as "kinda tough with a gradual climb out of the start, then a short downhill, an uphill and then a steep climb, a big fast downhill that brought you close to the finish." The finish was a slight uphill "with the finish line was kind of a bump. I stumbled but managed to stay on my feet," she said.
Randall, who has trained on the Eagle Glacier outside Anchorage with Alaska Pacific University Nordic club members, said, "Conditions were what you might see on a glacier in Alaska during the summer, and I've asked myself, 'When am I ever gonna race on this?' It was good to have that experience..."
She didn't give up when she was blocked "Coming up the climb, I was back in, like, fourth or fifth - I got closed out just as I was rarin' to go because climbing is one of my strengths. I worked my way up to third as we went over the top of the hill and I thought, 'Man, I'm in a perfect position on this downhill. I can draft...and just as I got ready to make my move [in the final sprint], I was blocked. So I had to go to the right, go to the outside, and then Arianna Follis was right there, so I had to go even farther out. As we entered the finish lane, I was in fourth, but I worked my way up and we all went for the finish line…
"I didn't know what happened, what place I got, and they said photo finish, and then Claudia was second, I was third. She got me by an inch this time," Randall said.
She thanked Vordenberg for great skis - "He did a great job as a one-man show getting my Fischers ready. I mean I was up against skiers with big waxing teams, a dozen or more, and Pete did it all himself, just great work."
Randall also credited team dynamics, starting with Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) finishing fourth at the 2003 World Championships and producing two World Cup top-10s in the 2005 season plus Newell's performance, including the first U.S. podium since 1983 last season when he was third in the inaugural World Cup in China. "I'm just excited being in the momentum of the team, what Kris started and Andy's continued with his good results. It's contagious and I'm happy to do my part. I knew this was coming and today was a good day to make it happen," she said.
"I'm happy to have skied in there and felt competitive with those guys. At the start, I looked to one side and there were [Czech Olympic champion Katerina] Neumannova and Kuitunen [recent winner of the first Tour de Ski], and on the other side, there was Claudia Kuenzel and Follis, and all of them have won World Cups. So, that's what I want to do and it was fun to be competitive with them."
Vordenberg said simply, "Kikkan knows what she's doing every day, she's so professional. But I gotta tell you, my heart was in my mouth in that final. I could barely stand it."
Russian organizers used ingenuity
Randall was "fighting the whole time. She got caught up with someone on the steep climb, stumbled and almost went down but she regained her composure quickly," he said. The three who were so close made it dramatic "but Kikkan had to have fitness just to be there, and she used her craftiness wherever she could. She's been doing a great job with APU and what Erik Flora's got going there, and Chris [Grover, U.S. sprint coach] stays in touch with them when she's not with us..."
The course, he said, was a marvel of local engineering. "I've never seen anything like this course. They had chopped blocks of ice out of river or lake ice and they cobbled together a course, just like a cobblestone street, piecing the blocks together. And then they had crushed ice - like they'd put it through a wood chipper, and not little crushed ice but like ice cubes in a drink...and covered that with slush," he said. "Then it got cold and snowed, the chunks of ice with the new snow...oh, just amazing...where there shouldn't have been any skiing, they did an amazing job. Such creativity...and it was a good course, a good one."
Rybinsk, several hundred kilometers (about 250 miles) north of Moscow, at the confluence of the Volga and Sheksna rivers, turned the weekend into a ski festival. "They had huge crowds, people coming up in buses, all so loud - I mean LOUD - and having a great time. It's like this was the only game in town and everyone came to have a fun time," he said.
Northern Michigan University took College Cup honors at the 2007 U.S. Cross Country Championships at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center in Houghton. The Wildcats rode the skis of their two Olympic veterans, Lindsey Weier and Lindsay Williams, to victory.
Northern Michigan Earns College Cup
Weier and Williams placed first and second among collegians in both the 5km classic and 10km freestyle races.
On the men's side, Darmouth made strong showing in both the 15km freestyle and the 10km classic races. Michael Sinnott and Benjamin True placed in the top ten in both races. Glenn Randall joined them in the top ten in the freestyle race, placing second.
Dartmouth's men's squad outdistanced NMU by almost 30 points, but the strong Northern Michigan women's team – taking the top four spots in the freestyle race – had a 61 point lead on Dartmouth.
Rounding out the top five were the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Alaska Anchorage and host Michigan Technological University. A total of 27 teams participated in the College Cup competition.
The College Cup is part of the U.S. Cross Country Championships. College skiers earn points for their institutions through their finishes in the two distance races during the week-long competition.
2007 COLLEGE CUP U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Northern Michigan University 790
- Dartmouth College 757
- Univ of Alaska Fairbanks 702
- Univ of Alaska Anchorage 619
- Michigan Technological Univ. 613
- Middlebury College 599
- Denver University 594
- University of Utah 537
- University of Vermont 469
- University of Colorado 410
For complete results: www.seniornationals.org
Two-time Olympian Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK) and Chad Giese (St. Paul, MN) upset Olympians Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) in Sunday's freestyle technique 1.3K team sprint, which ended the U.S. Cross Country Championships at Michigan Tech.
SUBARU TEAM SKIERS WIN TEAM SPRINT
Koos had a binding malfunction just before tagging Newell in his third and final 1K lap, forcing Newell to re-start his last lap, which gave Flora a chance to stay with him from the start as they stalked Tyson Flaharty (Anchorage, AK), who took an early lead, and then pulled past him.
In the women's team event, Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) and Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis), teammates on the Midwest's regional club, CXC, won comfortably with two-time Olympian Kikkan Randall and training mate Taz Mannix (both Anchorage, AK) taking the silver medal, 18 seconds off the winning pace. Valaas is the sprint leader in the winter-long SuperTour while Compton is the women's overall leader.
The team sprint made its U.S. championships debut this year. Teams of two skiers complete a total of six laps of the sprint course. The skiers alternate laps, tagging each other in an exchange area in the stadium. As many as 22 teams were on the course at the same time.
"It was our intent," Valaas explained, "to take it a little easy in the morning, doing what it took to move forward and this afternoon we had our strategy [for finals heats]. Caitlin would take the first lap and stay near the front, out of trouble...and then ski off. Second lap, she'd put some gap on the field because we knew Kikkan could probably out-sprint me on the last lap.
"She did it superbly and I was able to hold that final gap. She increased it and I was able to maintain it," Valaas said.
Flora said he and Giese were confident, despite the prowess from Newell and Koos "because the last time we had a skate [technique] team sprint Chad and I won it. Our question was if Chad could hang in there because he hasn't been training fulltime. I was confident if Chad was there, we were okay. My game plan was just to hang with Newell, and I pretty much hung on him, skiing right behind him every lap. We were head to head all through the final round.
"In the early rounds [of qualifying and finals heats], I kept making breaks up the hill, but I learned that was too early," Flora said. "In the final [against Newell], I saved myself for the last 150 meters...and it worked perfectly."
U.S. Head Coach Pete Vordenberg echoed athletes and club or college coaches who were lavish in their praise of the tireless effort by the organizing team and its volunteers. "They did an amazing job. It takes a lot of work, not just a couple of people driving a Pisten Bully. It takes a whole bunch of people shoveling all night, which is what they did.
"It was an incredible effort and without that effort, these championships don't happen...and we need these championships. It's so important to making what goes into being world-class skiers."
The U.S. Cross Country Championships will return to the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center during the first week of January 2008.
The team sprint attracted 57 men's twosomes and 44 women's pairings.
U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center
Houghton, MI - Jan. 7, 2007
Team Freestyle 1K Sprint (6 laps, 2x3 laps each)
- Chad Giese, St. Paul, MN/Subaru Factory Team, and Lars Flora, Anchorage, AK/Subaru Factory Team, 15:14.0
- Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA/U.S. Ski Team, and Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT/U.S. Ski Team, 15:14.5
- Anders Haugen and James Southam, both Anchorage, AK/Team Rossignol, 15:15.2
- Tyson Flaharty and Eric Strabel, both Anchorage, AK/Alaska Pacific U. Nordic, 15:21.0
- Colin Rodgers and Zach Simons, both Sun Valley, ID/FSx, 15:21.4
- Caitlin Compton, Minneapolis/CXC, and Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA/CXC, 17:16.7
- Taz Mannix and Kikkan Randall, both Anchorage, AK/U.S. Ski Team, 17:34.7
- Kate Pearson, Anchorage, AK/Alaska Pacific U. Nordic, and Karen Camenisch, Switzerland/Team Rossignol, 17:59.1
- Lindsey Weier, Mahtomedi, MN/Northern Michigan U., and Lindsay Williams, Hastings, MN/Northern Michigan U., 18:01.1
- Anna Berglund, Marquette, MI/Northern Michigan U., and Maria Stuber, Waukesha, WI/Northern Michigan U., 18:10.3
For complete results from the championships:www.seniornationals.org
"HAndy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) grabbed his first national title and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) earned her first of the week after two silver medals as they won classic technique 1K sprints Saturday, Jan. 6 at the U.S. Cross Country Championships at Michigan Tech."
"Newell, Randall Capture Sprint Gold Medals"
"Newell held off two of his Olympic teammates, Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) and Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) - and delighted his parents who drove in the night before from Vermont, for the victory. Randall, second in the 5K classic and 10K freestyle technique title races at midweek, pulled away from Laura Valaas (Minneapolis) to earn the seventh gold medal of her career."
"Completing the podium with Randall and Valaas was Lindsey Weier (Mahtomedi, MN), the Northern Michigan University senior - and Randall's two-time Olympic teammate - who started the week winning the 5K CL. ""Lindsey's had a great week. She's skiing so well,"" the winner said."
"""It's about time,"" Newell said. ""I've missed it a couple of times [because of racing on the World Cup] but I've also been on the podium twice, but never been a national champion...and especially in classic. That's sweet,"" Newell said."
"Organizers, who have done a heroic job preparing the trails without a lot of natural snow, kept the sprint course off limits during the week, so there would be optimum conditions for the race. The sprints start with a time trial (prelim or prologue) in which everyone skis, and then the top skiers move to the final heats."
"""We had a dusting last night, so there was a little bit of fresh snow. The tracks were icy and fast,"" Newell said, ""and the conditions held up; the tracks stayed fast and firm. I ended up going on skate skis in the qualifier, the prelim. I thought it would good practice for events like Drammen [Norway - a classic technique World Cup sprint site each season]. ...They tried to keep the sprint course fresh and not have the snow skied off. There's one big hill that hadn't been used, it had a few rollers and a few steep sections...a nice striding course for classic..."""
"At the same time, he said, ""The course was flat enough, so I knew I could double-pole the whole thing. Torin was second and Chris third, a good day for the U.S. Ski Team."""
"Randall, sporting what's become almost signature pink hair - to go with her customary wide smile, laughed as she thought about finishing second twice earlier in the week. ""Third time's a charm,"" she said."
"""We were lucky. It froze overnight. It could have been a lot worse. I had a fast start and on the big uphill there are some places where you could make a good move,"" Randall said. ""I took the lead and got comfortable. I came out of a turn fast so I could accelerate and that kinda broke the pack up; Laura came with me into the downhill and then I set myself up good on the hill and I broke it way open."
"""I just focused on skiing well,"" said Randall, who has mixed classes at Alaska Pacific University with her training and racing."
"U.S. Sprint Coach Chris Grover agreed. ""Kikkan looked really strong today. Every round she created a huge gap - even through the flats to that first downhill, and Laura was doing the same thing on her side [of the elimination heats]...and when they came together in the A final [for the gold medal], they did the same thing to the rest of the field. They put a huge gap from the get-go on the other four ladies...and then Kikkan put the wood to her on the uphill and won easily."
"""Lindsey was a ways back of Laura, but handily in front of fourth place,"" Grover added. ""I've been impressed with Laura's skiing. She's been close to Kikkan and that's world class."""
"In the men's race, Grover said, Newell and Koos, the 2005 U.S. sprint champion battled for the win with Cook and Kris Freeman (Andover, NH), who had won the first two races of the week, in a tight duel for bronze."
"""Andy and Torin got away on the uphill and with a few hundred meters to go, either Torin or Andy could have won. Andy just had a little more juice at the end...and then there was small gap to Cook and Freeman, very intense...very close. Cook got him by a foot or two,"" Grover said."
"The title races for the championships conclude Sunday with team - i.e., two-skier - sprint in free technique."
"The U.S. Disabled Cross Country Championships opened Wednesday, Jan. 3 at Michigan Tech University with 2006 Paralympians and U.S. National Team members Chris Klebl (Heber City, UT) and Monica Bascio (Denver, CO) capturing the sit-ski long distance titles."
"Klebl, Bascio Win Sit-Ski Titles"
"Klebl tore through the 15K course in 44:19.0, besting teammate Greg Mallory (Portland, OR) by nearly five minutes. Mallory's time of 49:04.2 then narrowly edged a charging Sean Halsted (Gig Harbor, WA) - also a national team member - who claimed the final podium spot with a time of 49:06.8, just 2.6 seconds out of second place. Bascio's winning time was 41:49.2 over the women's 9K course."
"""Everything went really well for us today,"" said head coach Jon Kreamelmeyer. ""Chris was absolutely flying out there, you can see by his time, he just crushed everyone and Monica skied a great race as well in some pretty tough conditions. The snow was pretty slow, but I'm really impressed with the organizers at Michigan Tech. With what little snow they had, they put on an amazing event - the whole situation was great and the volunteers and staff bent over backwards to make sure everyone was comfortable."""
"Kreamelmeyer also gave special praise to his skiers for overcoming some ""pretty horrendous"" travel problems just to get on the snow at all. Due to flight troubles because of weather, the Team didn't arrive until midnight on New Years Eve, two solid days before competition. However, their luggage - including their sit-skis - didn't arrive until Tuesday night, less than 24 hours before competition."
"""We didn't have any training before running this one, but we did the best we could. Every athlete was in the same boat, so there weren't any advantages. The snow might have been a little slow, but not getting out of the hotel for two full days didn't help either. We all took it in stride and everyone still skied well - it's good to have a race under our belts."""
"The U.S. Ski Team dominated the opening day of the 2007 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Houghton, Michigan. U.S. team members took five of the six podium spots in the men's 10 kilometer and women's 5 kilometer races."
"FREEMAN, WEIER WIN CLASSIC COMPETITION AT NATIONALS"
"Kris Freeman from Andover, New Hampshire, took the top stop in the men's race, and Lindsay Weier of Mahtomedi, Minnesota, took the women's title. Both are members of the U.S. Ski Team and competed in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics. Weier will also compete with her college team at Northern Michigan University this year."
"Racers faced record high temperatures at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center, with the mercury soaring to 41. Skiers report that the trails held up well despite the ""heat."" Groomers will be working late into the night getting the track ready for the freestyle race on Thursday."
"Andy Newell of the U.S. Ski Team finished second in the men's race, with Chris Cook taking the third spot. For the women, Kikkan Randall finished second and Laura Valaas was third. Valaas, who skis for the Central Cross Country Ski Team, was the only non-U.S. team member on the podium."
"Freeman took first place by 42 seconds, while Weier's margin of victory was 9 seconds. Only 1 second separated the second and third place finishers in the women's race."
"In addition to the national title races, the races represent part of the $130,000 Cross Country SuperTour, with double points awarded. Freeman, who won four straight races after returning from snowless Europe earlier this month, and Caitlin Compton from the Central Division's fledgling CXC squad, are the overall leaders coming into Houghton"
"""The community has really come together for these championships and it's great to see that kind of support. They've put in a lot of work,"" said Pete Vordenberg, head coach for the U.S. Ski Team."
"The races also include the U.S. disabled championships, as they have every year since 1986 when USSA became the first federation to roll the disabled cross-country championships into the able-bodied nationals."
"Chris Klebl won the men's sit-ski competition, while Monica Bascio won the women's title. Sit skiers traverse the course on a skiing equivalent to a wheelchair, using their poles and arm strength to propel themselves through the entire race. The men sit skiers went 12 kilometers, while the women skied 9 kilometers."
"Women racers had the advantage on opening day, starting in the morning with cooler temperatures and a nice hard track to ski on. The temperature climbed during the afternoon men's race, making for soft and slippery conditions toward the end of the race."
"The U.S. Cross Country Championships will continue with freestyle racing: 10 kilometers for the women and 15 kilometers for the men. The temperature was expected to be even warmer, with the National Weather Service predicting a high of 44."
"""Despite these warm temperatures, our base is holding up fine,"" said organizing committee chair Mike Abbott. ""We trucked in 200 truckloads of snow last weekend to make a solid base in the stadium and on our five kilometer course."""
A complete list of results and the schedule for the remaining races are at www.seniornationals.org.
"The U.S. Cross Country Championships open Wednesday at Michigan Tech with a chance to earn a place on one of several teams - the Nordic World Championships, the Junior World Championships, the Under-23 Championships and a Continental Cup trip in Europe."
U.S. Nordic Championships Open Wednesday
"More than 450 skiers - from Olympians to marathon racers and collegians, to all manner of ski racers - are registered to compete in one or more of the four days of racing on the Michigan Tech trails, which hosted the highly successful Junior Olympics last season."
"""I'm really excited because everyone's going to be there,"" U.S. Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said Sunday. ""There's a lot at stake and a lot of opportunities for skiers to see how fast they are."""
"In addition to the national title races, the races represent part of the $130,000 Cross Country SuperTour with double points awarded. Two-time Olympian Kris Freeman (Andover, NH), who won four straight races after returning from snowless Europe earlier this month, and Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis) from the Central Division's fledgling CXC squad, are the overall leaders coming into Houghton. Anders Haugen (Anchorage, AK) and Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) are the sprint leaders."
"The 2006 U.S. Cross Country Championships schedule:
Wednesday (Jan. 3) - Men's 10K classic technique, women's 5K CL
Thursday (Jan. 4) - Men's 15K freestyle, women's 10K FR
Saturday (Jan. 6) - CL sprints
Sunday (Jan. 7) - Team (i.e., two-skier) sprints (each skis three 1K laps)"
"The races also include the U.S. disabled championships, as they have every year since 1986 when USSA became the first federation to roll the disabled cross country championships into the able-bodied nationals."
"""The community has really come together for these championships and it's great to see that kind of support. They've put in a lot of work,"" Vordenberg said, ""and I'm looking for some outstanding racing at all levels."
"""We've got everybody on the national team healthy and fit, and I know a lot of athletes want to see how they measure up with our best, so that should make for some terrific racing...and the SuperTour just adds to the fun."""
"Complete information on the championships, including links to three webcams, is available at www.seniornationals.org."
"Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) was fourth - his best performance in nearly five years - in a photo finish Saturday at a Nordic combined World Cup 15K, less than three seconds back in a wild five-man sprint won by defending World Cup champion Hannu Manninen of Finland."
Demong 4th in Ruhpolding Photo Finish
"Manninen, 24th in the jumping, earned his first victory of the season - and the 44th of his career - by 1.7 seconds over Sebastien Haseney of Germany in the opening competition of the three-event German Grand Prix, an annual series within the World Cup series."
"German star Ronny Ackermann lunged past Demong at the finish line and, after a brief review of video tapes, was awarded third place; he and Demong were 2.7 seconds back with Austria's Felix Gottwald in fifth, another full second out. Brett Camerota (Park City, UT) was 33rd."
"""It was a good day. This has been a good hill for me the last couple of years,"" Demong said. ""I had decent training jumps; we got here Thursday about noon, took a light ski and jumped yesterday, and I put it together today...although it was a really tough finish."
"""It was Hannu and Ackermann and Felix and Haseney, and the cross country rank [for the 15K] was just about the same as the order of finish, which you don't often see. I was focused on going out, opening slowly"" Gottwald had the fastest 15K and Demong's time was fifth fastest."
"When Ackermann, who started 27 seconds behind Demong, caught him, the three-time U.S. Olympian took off with him; eventually, Manninen and Haseney joined them. As they got into the final stages, he said, ""It was a good pace, those last three laps with Hannu driving it. I got caught up with the guys behind me on a couple of uphills. I figured I had a good chance for third - Hannu opened it a little with Haseney on the last roller, but it was tight and icy, so I couldn't step on it."
"""I slid by Felix and was maybe a little ahead of Ronny, but somehow he literally threw himself to get his feet ahead of me, but I thought I still got him,"" Demong said. ""We waited about 10 minutes for them to decide the photo finish. I saw the video and I'm a little bit ahead of him, sticking my foot out [to cross the finish first] and he went right on his butt as he threw himself at the line ... and they finally said Ronny was third."""
"""To miss the podium by a photo finish is never fun,"" said Head Coach Lasse Ottesen, ""so Billy's psyched but he's also bummed because he had Ackermann at the end. I told him he could spend half an hour being angry but then let it go and realize what a great race he had, and what a tremendous effort he put out there."
"""I mean, this is Billy's best result in nearly five years, since he won in Liberec [Czech Republic - January 2002, just before the Salt Lake City Olympics]. Don't lose sight of that,"" the coach said. ""It's great for him and it's great for the team...and there's more to come."""
"Jumping to 10th was a key to the performance, Ottesen said. Demong had strong races earlier in the season, but his jumping was erratic. Saturday, jumping put him in a position to challenge for the podium."
"""He's been taking steps forward on the jump hill in training, doing some great stuff but not as stable yet as he could be to bring it into the competition, but it's coming. And this is definitely what the team needs going into the New Year because we know we're doing the right thing. We need to trust what we've been doing,"" Ottesen said."
"The competition originally was set to open the Grand Prix in the former East German Nordic center of Oberhof, but the snow drought in Europe forced organizers to move the event. Ruhpolding, which was set to hold a two-man team sprint Wednesday, said it would pick up the event."
"The Americans have been scrambling to get on-snow jump training and after additional training at home during the Christmas break, Ottesen said they're making progress. Sunday will be an ""open"" jumping day in Ruhpolding, rather than the traditional three rounds of official training, ""so we could get maybe 10 or 12 or 15 rounds of jumping, which is exactly what we need."""
"New rules this season cut the field of competitors to 35 after the first round of jumping and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 40th, so he was eliminated. Ottesen said staying in Ruhpolding should help him since he'll be jumping at the same venue for several days instead of traveling."
"The two-man competition at midweek doesn't count in the World Cup standings. From there, the Grand Prix concludes Jan. 6 in Obersdorf, having been moved from the traditional finale site in Schonach, also because of a lack of snow."
For complete results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?cal_suchsector=NK&event_id=21078
"The CXC Team capped off a great early season racing tour with two more wins at the 2002 Olympic site of Soldier Hollow, Utah. They have now dispersed to their respective homes to enjoy Christmas with their families but will be back on the race scene January 1-7, 2007 in Houghton, Mich. for Senior Nationals."
CHANGING SNOW CONDITIONS DOESN'T DETER CXC TEAM AT THE SOLDIER HOLLOW SUPERTOUR
"On Friday, December 15, the snow had melted from Soldier Hollow and the hills were brown. All that was left was a 2km loop that had a good base of man-made snow. On Saturday the women raced five laps to complete their 10km and the men raced eight laps for their 15km race. The trails were hectic with so many racers on the course at once but all of the CXC competitors: Garrott Kuzzy, Brian Gregg, Bryan Cook and Caitlin Compton, managed to stay strong and focused to pull off good races. Kuzzy had the best race on the men's side, finishing 7th (1:40 back of the winner, Kris Freeman) in an extremely competitive field. Kuzzy posted the fourth fastest time for an American as the Canadian National Team had several top men racing. Cook and Gregg also skied well, placing 28th and 30th, respectively. Gregg was the top U.S. U23 competitor."
"Before the race, Compton predicted, ""There's going to be a lot of girls out on the course. I am going try to catch as many of them as possible; catch up to someone, pass them, then chase down the next girl."" Her strategy paid off as Compton posted a blazing fast time of 26:36 setting a standard that only one other woman could come close to Tasha Betcherman's 26:43. Everyone else was more than 50 seconds back. This win further secured Compton the SuperTour Overall Leader and Distance Leader's bibs."
"On December 17, Sunday's Individual Classic sprint races, CXC Team was represented by two athletes Bryan Cook and Laura Valaas. The heavy snowstorm and colder temperatures allowed them to race on hard wax instead of klister, although it did make the tracks soft and, in some places, nonexistent. Cook raced the prelims well and qualified for the heats in tenth. He landed in a competitive quarterfinal with Andy Newell (USST), Dave Chamberlain (MWSC), and Anders Haugen (Rossignol). The group was all together coming over the biathlon bridge into the stadium when another skier's ski snapped Cook's pole. His misfortune bumped him back to last in that quarter, 13th place overall."
"Valaas had better luck, skiing all three heats without mishap. She won her quarterfinal and semifinal and then went up against Amanda Ammar (Canadian National Team), Kristina Strandberg (Subaru Factory Team) and Tara Whitten (INDi2010) in the women's A Final. Valaas went out hard and put the hammer down on the first hill, dropping the other women. She maintained her lead to win the A Final by 13 seconds, her fifth consecutive victory in a sprint race this season. Valaas said after her race, ""I didn't mind if the other women drafted me out of the stadium, I just wanted to have a gap by the top of horseshoe hill so they couldn't draft on the long downhill into the stadium. The plan was to leave them in my wake; the high point on the course the race was mine!"""
"The CXC athletes racing in Soldier Hollow look forward to rejoining their other two teammates, Andre Watt and Matt Liebsch, for the next series of races in Houghton, Michigan at Senior Nationals January 3rd, a 5/10km classical race."
"World Cup leader Christoph Bieler of Austria won his second consecutive Nordic combined event Saturday, December 16 as he led both rounds of jumping. Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.) was 22nd and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) finished 24th."
Demong Top American in Ramsau Mass Start
"In a mass start event that began with a 10K race, Demong was third and Spillane 11th but they struggled with the jumping while Bieler - 17th in the 10K - excelled with jumps of 96 and 97.5 meters. He finished with 265.0 points to top Finn Anssi Koivuranta (263.7)."
"""The boys are so close,"" Head Coach Lasse Ottesen said, ""but not having enough training jumps is a problem. They got a couple of days of good training in Steamboat before coming here, which was a help, but we still need more time jumping on snow."
"""They're positive and they're being patient because they can tell how close they are to turning this thing around...and because they know they can count on their cross country,"" he said. ""The mass start always favors the better jumpers, so tomorrow when it's jumping and then cross country in a 'hurricane sprint,' they know they should do better."""
"In a hurricane start, the athletes start the 7.5K according to a formula which equates points behind the jumping leader to distances behind the top jumper at the start of the race. Under the traditional Gundersen method of handicap start, the skiers are docked time - not distance - according to how far behind the jump leader they place."
"Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.) tore over a flat course covered in soft snow Sunday, December 17 for the second-fastest 7.5K race as he moved up 10 places in a Nordic combined World Cup hurricane sprint."
Demong Advances 10 Places in 7.5K Race
"A disappointing jump (87.5 meters) in the lone round on the 98-meter jumping hill left him in 26th place. But Demong, who is skiing the best of his career in each race, stormed over the meadow loop and moved into 16th place. Norway's Magnus Moan won by seven-tenths of a second over Jason Lamy Chappuis of France, who was born in Montana when his parents were college students."
"Demong, who started the six-lap race 1:42 back of jumping leader Christoph Bieler of Austria, finished 53 seconds behind Moan. Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) was 28th."
"""I'm happy with my race...but I still need to get a couple of meters in my jumping,"" Demong said, adding he planned to train extensively at Lake Placid when he comes home for the holidays. ""I want to get as many jumps on snow as I can, so I'll be there every day, if I can."""
"He said the lack of hills on the course ""means not too many people were moving up, so you really had to be hauling. No hills reduced the chance of putting some time on the other guys."""
"After spending the holidays at home, Spillane and Demong will return for the German Grand Prix, the annual three-meet World Cup series, which opens Dec. 30 in Oberhof, Germany."
"After three stops on the $130,000 Cross Country SuperTour schedule, three men are battling for the overall lead while Central Division CXC teammates Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, Wash.) and Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis, Minn.) are atop the women's standings."
"SOUTHAM, COMPTON SUPER TOUR LEAD AFTER SEVEN RACES"
"Sun Valley was the third location on the schedule and included sprints Dec. 6 with distance races throughout the weekend. Olympic teammates James Southam and Lars Flora (both Anchorage, Alaska) and Brayton Osgood (Putney, VT) are 1-2-3 in the men's overall points."
"Two-time Olympian Kris Freeman (Andover, N.H. ) held off Canadian Dan Roycroft Sunday in a mass start SuperTour 30K freestyle race for the victory by six-tenths of a second. Saturday, Freeman won the 10K classic race by 17.2 seconds over another Canadian Olympian, Drew Goldsack. A third Canadian Olympian, Sean Crooks, won the 1.5K CL sprint the previous Wednesday, leading a Canadian sweep of the top six places."
"On the women's side, Valaas stayed unbeaten in SuperTour sprints Wednesday, topping leading qualifier Shayla Swason (Bozeman, Mont.) with Canadians Perianne Jones and Tara Whitten completing the final foursome. Saturday, Canadian Amanda Ammar won the women's 5K classic race in 14:45.7 with Compton runnerup (14:54.4). Sunday, Compton overtook local favorite Morgan Arritola (nearby Fairfield, Idaho) to win the 15K skate by 4.9 seconds - in 43:24.5. Taz Mannix (Anchorage, Alaska), Arritola's teammate on the U.S. Ski Team, was third (43:41.2)."
High-level competitions within the Nordic ski world converge on Utah as the USSA Cross Country SuperTour and the Nordic combined World Cup-B open at the 2002 Olympic cross country trails and ski jumps this week.
U.S. SKIERS ACTIVE IN MAJOR TOURS
"As coaches and athletes began arriving in the Park City area, Olympians Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) were headed back to Europe for World Cup combined events this weekend in Ramsau, Austria. They had returned home from Norway because of poor snow conditions and the uncertainty of upcoming events, but recent snows have improved conditions in Ramsau, scene of the 1999 FIS Nordic World Championships."
"Meanwhile, Friday and Saturday, December 15-16, the Nordic combined World Cup-B, comprised of athletes trying to make their onto the World Cup tour, will be competing on the large hill at Utah Olympic Park and on the trails at Soldier Hollow. Saturday and Sunday, December 16-17 the $130,000 USSA Cross Country SuperTour will offer distance and sprint races at Soldier Hollow; the overall champions from the SuperTour earn places on the World Cup to start the 2008 season."
"""The snow's good,"" Nordic combined World Cup Coach Dave Jarrett. ""The guys are ready to go, and we're looking at what should be a couple of good competitions."""
"The World Cup-B Tour stopped in Steamboat Springs, CO, over the weekend for the Mountain Resorts World Cup-B events; Olympian Brett Camerota (Park City, Utah) reached the podium Saturday and was just 11 seconds away from a victory in the season opener."
"The World Cup-B schedule has opened in the USA in recent seasons because of the reliability of snow in the American West. After this week's two meets, the tour heads to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the annual Lamb Lumber Classic with competitions Dec. 20-21 before the Europeans head home."
"Some new snow this week further spruces up the track conditions at Soldier Hollow, which is offering more than 20 kilometers of skiing. There are short distance freestyle races - women's 10K and men's 15K - Saturday with classic technique sprints Sunday. In the sprints, everyone skis the course in a qualifying time trial and the field is cut to 32 for final heats."
"Olympians James Southam (Anchorage, Alaska) and Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis, Minn.) are the SuperTour leaders after the first seven races. The SuperTour champions will compete on the World Cup next season but of more pressing urgency is the opportunity to earn a place at the World Championships in Japan next February."
The women's side of the CXC Team saw Laura Valaas and Caitlin Compton continue their podium streak in every SuperTour race of the season. In Wednesday's Sprint race Laura and Caitlin went up against a very competitive field of Canadian women and were able
CXC TEAM SHINES AT SUN VALLEY SUPERTOUR
On Saturday Caitlin was the only CXC woman to race as Valaas was taking a day off after such a busy race schedule and was focusing on being fresh for the skate race on Sunday. The race was only 5k but at such a high altitude (7200) it was a real test of control so as not to go out too fast. Caitlin had a very good day and finished 2nd overall behind Amanda Ammar of Canada by only 9 seconds.
"Sunday's Skate race was 15k of mixed conditions and crowded skiing. The Women's race went out fairly conservatively and Laura was exactly where she wanted to be in about 6th position. Caitlin started a little slower and although not very far behind Laura she was in about 20th position. After the first downhill people began to shift positions and Laura was able to let Caitlin into a gap that had opened up around 5th position. As the first lap was ending the snow began to fall. At first the snow wasn't too much of a problem but slowly the track became slower and slower. Skis and grind became very important during the changing conditions. Caitlin was able to take advantage of a gap in the lead group and maintain her lead through the final 4k to finish 1st overall. Laura skied a solid race and finished 21st, eager to race another distance race at Nationals."
Both women will be only racing one race in the Soldier Hollow SuperTour next weekend. Laura will do the Classic Sprint while Caitlin will race the 10k Skate.
"The CXC men's team came into the Sun Valley series well rested and ready to race. Wednesday's classic sprint featured Bryan Cook's CXC Team debut. In a tough day on a long sprint course, Brian Gregg led the men's squad with a 22nd place finish, followed closely by Cook in 25th. The Canadian National Team competed in the sprints on Wednesday as well, taking the top 6 places."
"Saturday's 10km classic race took place on a beautiful morning on the Galena trails. The sun crept above the mountains minutes before the race start, warming the spectators and treating races to optimal race conditions. Coach Bryan Fish tested klister co"
"The Grand Finale of the Sun Valley SuperTour was Sunday's 30km mass start skate. As if 30km at 7,200 feet with 1,000 feet of climbing weren't hard enough, Mother Nature pitched in with a heavy snowfall starting an hour before the race. By the start, there were almost 3 inches of fresh powder covering the skate course. Gregg and Kuzzy started the race with Cook taking the day off. The race got off to a clean start with both CXC teammates in good position. The race was by far the most demanding this season and skiers had to pace themselves well. Kuzzy started the race too fast and was soon caught by Gregg and dropped by the lead pack. After recovering during the 2nd and 3rd laps, Kuzzy was able to catch up to Gregg and they skied much of the fourth of six laps as a CXC train, catching and passing a number of skiers. Eventually, Kuzzy and Gregg ended up finishing 17th and 23rd respectively."
"The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said it was ""disappointed"" by the International Olympic Committee decision to ignore adding women's ski jumping to the Olympic schedule for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver."
USSA Questions Snub of Women's Ski Jumping
"Former World Cup alpine skier Zach Crist (Ketchum, Idaho) lamented the thumbs down on women's jumping. "" I was hoping women's jumping would make it because that's a cool sport and they're exciting to watch,"" Crist said."
"At the same time, Marolt - a vice president of the International Ski Federation and member of its governing FIS Council - went on, ""It's really hard to understand the decision on women's ski jumping. This is a sport in which women have participated at the highest levels for many years. It has an established international competition circuit with a strong pool of athletes."
"""We're disappointed in the decision of the IOC as we have felt that the athletes had progressed over the past decade to a position where the sport was ready for Olympic participation."" He noted the U.S. Ski Team has named women to its ski jumping squad for the first time and women's jumping will be part of the FIS Nordic World Championships in 2009 and 2011; five U.S. women were in the top 15 women's jumpers on the sport a year ago, including Lindsey Van (Park City, Utah) second and Jessica Jerome (Park City, Utah) third."
"The IOC, despite its stated intention to bring gender equity to the Games, said women's jumping was not yet global enough with enough nations or participants. Ski jumping and Nordic combined are the two ski sports which have no Olympic women's events, but there is no formal Nordic combined women's circuit while women's jumping is in its third year as a Continental Cup schedule after several seasons as a Women's Grand Prix tour."
"U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said, ""This doesn't change our resolve to press forward with women's jumping. These women have the opportunity to compete to be the best in the world, whether they're given that opportunity in Vancouver or not. And we'll take full advantage of that by continuing our commitment to this team and to this sport."""
"Marolt added, ""As Luke indicated, we plan to continue to press the IOC to reverse its decision about women's jumping. It's not a question of 'owing' women another sport, but the simple fact is the number of athletes and nations participating are worthwhile, and the sport will be even larger by 2010. We feel strongly that it's important to add women's jumping to the Olympics."""
"The Bozeman SuperTour started with a freestyle individual sprint on Saturday, December 2 and a team classic sprint on Sunday. It was apparent that the Bozeman ski community went to great lengths to ensure the weekend sprints were a success. The 1.2-kilometer course started with a 200 meter straight away and then had a short steep descent into a long gradual uphill. The course twisted and turned - up and down throughout the middle of the course and then ascended back into the stadium to the finish."
CXC TEAM - BOZEMAN SUPERTOUR RE-CAP
"The weekend started with the women's qualifiers. It was dTja vu from West Yellowstone. The results went Karin Camenish, Caitlin Compton and Laura Valaas in qualification. These three rapidly moved through the quarters and semi finals. Laura made a decisive move into the last transition and up the last hill to seal the win. At the end of the day it was Laura Valaas, Karin Camenish and Caitlin Compton. Same order as West Yellowstone."
"The men also skied well. Garrott Kuzzy qualified second and Brian Gregg qualified seventh. Garrott and Brian were in the same quarterfinal, semi final and B final. The semi-final was tightly contested. James Southem, Eric Strable and Garrott Kuzzy had a photo finish. The video displayed that Garrott was third across the line and hence bumped out of the A final. Brian Gregg made a gutsy move in the B final by taking the lead and opening a gap on the field. Garrott was able to reel him in. They opened up a sizable lead in the B final and ended the day in 5th and 6th. The A final came down to another photo finish between Southem and Strable."
"Garrott was not 100% on Sunday, so he sat out the team sprint. Brian was able to find a partner and his team ended up fifth."
"""It was a very fun race today and the organizers and volunteers did a great job preparing the course,"" said Brian. ""I was bummed that Kuzzy wasn't feeling well this morning; the team sprint is something we have been looking forward to all summer."""
Caitlin Compton scrambled and Laura Valaas anchored the women's team classic sprint. They took the lead on the first lap and lead all six laps.
"""We put in a high volume week this past week and continue to progress our training,"" said Valaas. ""We have been working more on technique and have been doing a good job getting in aerobic distance and strength. I'm very happy with our results to this point, but I'm pleased that we are also planning and progressing toward future races this season."""
"The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced Thursday, Dec. 7 that Todd Wyant will assume the role as the first associate athletic director of athlete services. Wyant brings over 15 years of experience in athlete support services and will work directly in support of U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding athletes."
USSA NAMES FIRST ATHLETE SERVICES DIRECTOR
"""Todd's new role is vital to our organization in providing a higher level of service to our athletes,"" said President and CEO Bill Marolt. ""Todd brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of athlete services to USSA. In his new role Todd will assist our goal-oriented athletes in their pursuit of excellence, by providing additional support for their professional careers and personal lives beyond athletics."""
"As the associate athletic director of athlete services, Wyant will manage, coordinate and facilitate the interaction and communication between USSA, team athletes and other partners. He will act as a resource for sport directors, coaches and staff, but primarily athletes. In addition, he will be the principal point of contact relative to athlete management outside of athletic, performance-based programs."
"""I'm excited for the opportunity to work with this outstanding group of athletes,"" said Wyant. ""With the assistance of the USSA staff and other outside resources, we will provide an outstanding support program for the athletes. Our services will include educational advancement, financial planning, agent selection, media relations, team building, networking and other optimal opportunities to benefit the athletes personal growth and development."""
"Prior to USSA, Wyant served as associate athletic director for student/athlete services at Syracuse University for six years. He received his undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in math from Montana State - Billings and a Masters in counseling student personnel from the University of Wyoming."
"Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) moved up 14 places during the six-lap 15K race on Saturday, December 2 to finish ninth in a Nordic combined individual event with Bill Demong (Vermontville, New York) 12th."
"Spillane 9th, Demong 12th in Lillehammer Nordic Combined"
Norwegian favorite Magnus Moan - medalist at the 2006 Olympics and '05 World Championships - out-sprinted Sebastien Haseney of Germany to win by one-tenth of a second and defending three-time World Cup champion Hannu Manninen of Finland was a half-second back in third place.
"Under a new World Cup ruling, athletes who are not in the top 35 after the first round of jumping are prohibited from continuing; a week earlier in Kuusamo, Finland, neither American was a top-35 skier in the opening event of the season. This day, Spillane was 23rd and Demong 28th. During the race, run over a 2.5K loop because of the lack of snow, Spillane had the seventh-fastest time and Demong was sixth fastest."
"""This was a very positive day. We've still got work to do on the jump hill,"" Head Coach Lasse Ottesen said, ""because it's so tight and the boys just need to get another couple of meters on their jumps to jump into the top 10, and then really challenge for the podium. Obviously, though, their cross country is strong, which was what we thought but couldn't confirm last week in Kuusamoa"
"""Their skis were good and they just kept moving forward today. They're so close in jumping and when we tighten a couple of things with some more training, they'll be in a better position to move up,"" Ottesen said. ""Today was a good start for them."""
He said the two were able to take about a dozen jumps in Lillehammer although the jumps were closed most of the week to preserve the limited snow cover.
"The World Cup has been moved to the 1994 Olympic jumps and cross country trails from Trondheim because of poor snow conditions. The next World Cup is scheduled for Dec. 16-17 in Ramsau, Austria, but there is no snow there, he said, so officials are trying to sort out potential options."
"Jessica Jerome (Park City, Utah), ranked No. 3 in the world last year in women's jumping and the leading U.S. women's jumper during the first half of the current season, is resting at home after surgery to repair torn ligaments in her right knee, sustained in a training crash."
Jerome Undergoes Successful Knee Surgery
"Melinda Roalstad, medical director for the U.S. Ski Team, said Jerome underwent surgery Tuesday, Dec. 12 by Dr. Vernon Cooley at The Orthopedic Surgery Hospital in Salt Lake City for reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament and repair of her medial collateral ligament, too. ""She'll be out five or six months,"" Roalstad said."
"Jerome, 20, a student at Westminster College in Salt Lake City when she's not training or competing, injured the ligaments and dislocated her right elbow Dec. 2 when she crashed after landing a training jump at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, CO. Roalstad said the surgery was delayed until swelling had gone down."
"""I'm not sure how it happened,"" Jerome said. ""I landed my jump and was going through the outrun and I caught an edge...and that was it. So, my season's over; I don't expect to be jumping in late March or April, so I'll wait until June or so when Utah Olympic Park reopens. I definitely didn't want this to happen, but I'm fine and the surgery went well."""
"Jerome, who had five top-5 finishes in the current Continental Cup season, including two podiums, said she hoped to be out later this week when Nordic combined World Cup-B action starts with jumping at Utah Olympic Park followed by cross country racing at Soldier Hollow. ""I can't do much for a week or so, but I want to be out there Friday and Saturday to cheer for the Americans,"" she said."
"The U.S. Ski Team has announced the return of U.S. Ski Team Day, slated for February 10, 2007 at participating ski areas around the country. For each ticket or trail pass sold on event day, one dollar will be donated by the host resorts to support education and development of tomorrow's athletes. The inaugural event helped kick off the excitement of the 2006 Torino Games domestically as more than 50,000 skiing enthusiasts became honorary Team members for the day."
U.S. Ski Team Day Returns for Second Season
"""U.S. Ski Team Day 2007 will celebrate skiers' national passion"" said Bill Marolt, U.S. Ski Team President and CEO. ""We know that tomorrow's competitors are making turns today at ski areas and resorts across the country. Our gratitude goes out to our partner resorts for helping us groom the next generation of U.S. athletes."""
Ski areas are currently registering to host the 2007 event. Participating areas will celebrate the day with special collateral elements and will receive educational support materials to assist the development of local skiers.
"More information about the event, including a list of participating resorts, will be available at www.usskiteamday.com."
"Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) opened his World Cup season with an 18th-place finish in a 15K freestyle race north of the Arctic Circle."
Freeman 18th in Swedish World Cup
WCSN.com will stream video coverage from Gallivare later this week.
Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen - who left Utah's Soldier Hollow with four biathlon Olympic gold medals in 2002 - stormed through the final stages of the three-lap race to win in 33:05.6. Teammate Tore Ruud Hofstad was second (33:28.9) in the 25-degree fog.
"Freeman, starting 61st in the 97-racer field, was second at the 2.3K mark and top-10 into the middle of the race before dropping back in the final lap; his final time was 34:12.4. It was his best performance since last December when the two-time Olympian was 18th in another 15K free World Cup race in Canmore, Alberta. Andrew Johnson (Greensboro, VT) was 58th and Dave Chamberlain (Bethel, ME) was 82nd."
"Earlier, Czech Olympic champion Katerina Neumannova won the women's 10K in 24:17.9 with Estonian Kristen Smigun, the Olympic 10K classic gold medalist, runner-up in 24:42.8. Sarah Konrad (Laramie, WY) was 51st while sprint specialist Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK), using the race as a tune-up for her first sprint of the '07 season next week in Kuusamo, Finland, was 63rd."
"""Kris is fit, and we said, µAll right, roll it out and let's see what happens' - and he was in there until he slowed in the last two and a half Ks,"" said Head Coach Pete Vordenberg. ""He felt like he was up to it, so he gunned it as long as he could. He's got more to give, as does AJ, but this is the first race of the season...and it's a solid start."""
"After warm weather Friday, cold returned during the night to harden the 5K loop ""and the snow stayed cold all day. It was an icy, misty day but skiing was really good,"" Vordenberg said. ""The terrain is a windy, twisty trail - nothing huge but a lot of climbs."""
"The men and women have relays scheduled for Sunday and Vordenberg said the U.S. men will have a team while the two women join with the Canadians for a mixed relay foursome. The season continues Nov. 25-26 at the self-styled Nordic Opening in Kuusamo with a sprint and classic technique races, a men's 15K and women's 10K."
"Melinda Roalstad, the first fulltime medical director for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association who is credited with professionalizing the medical programs and services for USSA but on an international scale as well, is leaving Dec. 31."
Medical Director Roalstad to Leave USSA
"Roalstad, who started with the Ski Team in 1990 as a sports physiologist and team trainer for the freestyle squad, helped expand the physician pool, the critical network of doctors who provide coverage for most training and competitions for the 15 teams of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. She also helped establish the official medical providers and designed the systems, which treat acute injury situations, from worst-case scenarios with emergency evacuation to more routine episodes, from injury to rehab and recovery."
"She has no immediate plans but will be exploring several opportunities and challenges, she said. ""I've been lucky to have had an amazing, devoted staff and many dedicated volunteers who have genuinely contributed to the vision, and I've dealt with such outstanding athletes for about 15 years,"" she said, ""but it's time for me to try something else."""
"USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt hailed Roalstad's ""incredible legacy of commitment and service to our athletes. In the process, she's totally professionalized our approach to medical servicesa"
"""Tirelessly and with great integrity, Melinda has built a world-class medical program for USSA with the ultimate goal of providing the best possible service to our athletes. Plain and simple,"" he said, ""she established the protocols and systems, which have made USSA's medical program one of the leaders among national governing bodies in Olympic sports - worldwide, not just in the United States."
"""But, beyond USSA, Melinda's been a leader in the International Ski Federation medical program and community, a behind-the-scenes driving force in our sports. It's never been about Melinda, it's always the athlete for her and we're going to miss that kind of expertise and dedication,"" Marolt said"
"Roalstad grew up in Boulder, Colo., and graduated from the University of Colorado and then from the University of Miami with a master's degree in exercise physiology; she worked to create a private performance center in Steamboat Springs, Colo. that initially involved her with USSA. She later earned a physician's assistant certificate and license from the University of Utah. Roalstad served twice with USSA, from 1990 to 1996 (in 1991 she was named assistant director of sport science) and returning in 1998 as alpine women's team physiologist before being named USSA's initial fulltime medical director in 1999. She was medical supervisor for FIS during the 2003 Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy."
"""This was a very hard decision to make because I'm extremely proud of what we've accomplished in building this medical program into a model for others. We have such a great group of doctors involved and other medical personnel,"" Roalstad said. ""But there comes a time, and I've felt for a while that I wanted to look at some other opportunities and challenges. I hope to continue working with the FIS Medical Committee because I'm proud of all the good things that are at work with the committee, and how they benefit our sports and certainly our athletes and other nations' athletes. It's an important role."
"""I'm thankful for the talented people I've worked with through the years. We've done some terrific things in building a medical program based on integrity and respect as well as a vision of the service that must be provided for our athletes...and USSA has the potential to achieve even better things for our athletes,"" she said."
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