January 20 — The National Nordic Foundation (NNF) is excited to announce details of its support for unfunded cross-country athletes attending the 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. These six athletes, not currently on the National Team, will receive race support from the U.S., but will be responsible for the cost of their own travel, lodging, and more. The NNF is proud to provide $2,000 each to Caitlin Gregg, Chelsea Holmes, Kyle Bratrud, Tad Elliott, Ben Lustgarten, and Cole Morgan to offset these expenses.
The National Nordic Foundation has supported unfunded World Championships athletes for several seasons, including 2015, which helped Caitlin Gregg to win a Bronze Medal. In 2017, Gregg will again receive funding represent the U.S. at her fourth World Championships. “I am so happy for this opportunity to represent the U.S. and my community on the World Stage,” says Caitlin. “A huge thank you to the NNF and the skiing community who make it possible to focus and prepare for these World Championships. Thank you to everyone for believing in our U.S. athletes. In the past, the financial cost made the decision to accept a nomination to the World Championship team a difficult one; now I can spend my time and energy on focusing on the best preparation. Thank you NNF.”
In addition to World Championships veterans like Gregg and Tad Elliott, four new faces will be representing the United States for the first time. For Ben Lustgarten of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, this trip wasn’t on his radar at the beginning of the season: “It exceeded all of my goals this year to be selected to race at the 2017 World Championships in Lahti! I am honored to represent the U.S.A. at such a prestigious event. NNF provides me, along with other unfunded World Championship athletes, the incredible opportunity to race with the U.S. Ski Team against the fastest and fittest athletes in our sport. This is an event of a lifetime, and I am thankful to NNF for helping me to literally pursue my dreams at my first World Championships!”
For Chelsea Holmes, an Alaska Pacific University athlete, making the 2017 World Championships team means achieving a long-term goal: “I am very excited and honored to be named to my first World Champs team! This is a goal I have been working towards for a long time. Now, with the knowledge that I have the support of NNF, I am free to focus on my performance later this month! I look forward to representing the U.S. with the support of NNF!”