Kikkan Randall was an easy choice for her fifth Skier of the Year Award, while Andy Newell took his second title.
Following the U.S. Ski Team’s announcement of its 2013-2014 nominations, cross-country head coach Chris Grover discussed reasoning behind the major changes to the roster, which left off three men and for the first time in two years did not include a development tier. “This is a performance organization and at the end of the day the athletes have to be judged on their performances,” Grover said.
The U.S. Ski Team formally announced its 2013-2014 nominations on Monday, and seven women in total were named to the squad. In contrast to the men’s team there were no cuts, and the addition of Sophie Caldwell reflects an expected expansion of the U.S. women’s World Cup quota by one more spot in both distance in sprinting.
(UPDATED) Kris Freeman, three-time U.S. Olympian in cross-country skiing and member of the U.S. Ski Team since 2002, was not renominated to the national team roster for the 2013-2014 season. Freeman said USST coaches notified him this week of the news, citing limited medal potential at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. “For whatever reason the USST no longer believes in me,” he said.
Erik Bjornsen thought he was done for. The 21-year-old U.S. Ski Team and APU skier had gone out too hard, too early in Monday’s 6 k freestyle hill climb before the real ascent up Sugar Bowl Resort even started. Somehow, he found at least three more gears and beat Kris Freeman to the top for his first SuperTour Finals title.
It’s been a week since World Cup Finals wrapped up in Falun, Sweden, and the dust has more than settled on the international season. The American women had their best run yet: World Championships gold, all six athletes in the top ten at some point and another sprint crystal globe in the bag. When asked to recall their personal season highlights, these were among the moments they pointed out.
We know, we know: it’s FAHL-IN. But still. The World Cup wrapped up with spectacular races and plenty of sun in Stockholm and Falun, with Justyna Kowalczyk and Petter Northug winning the season-long titles and Kikkan Randall taking home not only the Sprint Cup but also third place in the overall. Plus, racing on this side of the pond at Whistler and Craftsbury.
Kikkan Randall did just what she needed to on Sunday, finishing 7th in the 10 k skate pursuit with the second-fastest course time to hold onto third place in the overall World Cup standings. Three other Americans finished World Cup Finals in the top 30 to end the season “better than I could have imagined,” Randall said.