Norway announced that they have named seven more athletes to their Olympic Cross-Country Team, bringing the total to 11.
Celine Brun-Lie, Marthe Kristoffersen, Vibeke Skofterud, Ronny Hafsås, Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Øystein Pettersen and Eldar Rønning all got the nod, and now join Ola Vigen Hattestad, Petter Northug, Marit Bjørgen and Kristin Størmer Steira with tickets to Vancouver.
Norway has a total of 20 spots, but have not taken their full quota in the past.
Top skiers not yet on the team include Therese Johaug, Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset, John Kristian Dahl and Astrid U. Jacobsen.
Regardless of total quota, each nation is only allowed to start four skiers per race.
Both Rønning and Pettersen did not ski well in the classic sprint yesterday in Otepaa, with neither advancing to the heats. Pettersen fellin the qualification round.
“This was fun, I’m clearly a better mood today than yesterday, to put it mildly” Pettersen told newspaper VG Nett. “I had not dreamed that I would make the Olympic team by being 49th yesterday.”
Despite being longtime veteran of the Norwegian National Team with much international success, Pettersen has not raced in the Olympics.
Rønning skied very well in the Tour de Ski sprints before withdrawing to prepare for Otepaa. But he was just outside the top-30, along with Hjelmeset and Dahl.
Hafsås was surprised to be named to the team at this point, as he was under the impression he had to race the Norwegian National Championship 15km skate on Thursday to cement his place on the Olympic team.
It is likely that Norway will name several other athletes to the team. Hafsås is a biathlete and will most likely only race the relay and the 15km skate. With Pettersen and Hattestad as sprint specialists, that leaves some start spots in the the pursuit and 50km, good news for Dahl and Hjelmeset.
Northug has indicated that he will race all events in the Olympics.
On the women’s side, Johaug has not skied well this year, and has yet to show medal-winning form. Jacobsen has been solid, if unspectacular. One major factor will be how many starts Bjorgen and Steira plan on making.
Bjorgen recently stated that she is open to racing all distances, including the sprint.
“It is not appropriate to exclude some distances in advance. I feel I have the potential to do well at all distances. We will take it as it comes,” she said.
The final spots will likely be based on the Norwegian National Championships, to be held this week. At this point strong performances from any of a dozen athletes could secure Olympic spots.
From the perspective of the US, the fewer athletes Norway takes the better as unused quota will be reallocated to nations with a low number.