PARK CITY, Utah (April 27) – Kris Freeman (Andover, NH), who produced the best U.S. cross country results on the World Cup in 20 years last winter, and two-time Olympian Carl Swenson (Park City, UT), who had three top 15s, head an eight-member U.S. Cross Country Ski Team for the 2005 season, announced U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner.
Freeman, a former University of Vermont racer, is a diabetic who self-administers up to six insulin shots daily. He was fifth and sixth in two races in December, the best World Cup result for a U.S. skier since Jim Galanes was fifth in a race in 1984. Swenson, a Dartmouth College graduate who finished fifth in the 50-kilometer race concluding the 2003 World Championships in Italy, equaled his World Cup best by finishing 11th twice last season.
This team represents the same core of skiers that the US Team has been working with in the past couple of years. Andy Newell, on the development team last year, made the jump to the USST based on his impressive World Cup sprint performances. Rebecca Dussault skied for the Subaru Factory Team last year as she ripped through the North American race circuit in her comeback tour. On the men's side a number of skiers who were considered 'on the bubble,' such as Nor Am SuperTour winner David Chamblerain and 2002 Olympian Lars Flora, were not named. On the women's side, Development Team skiers Aubrey Smith and Melissa Oram will not be returning.
“This is a solid team with excellent potential for more success. Everything for these athletes is focused on the World Championships [in February in Oberstdorf, Germany] and staying healthy,” Bodensteiner said. “Obviously, Kris and Carl are among the top skiers in the sport and we want to maximize their opportunities. But Andy and Torin have shown they're starting to move up in sprinting, and, now that's she committed to racing, we want Rebecca to get more experience so she can start to challenge.”
Bodensteiner said Head Coach Trond Nystad has designed “an aggressive World Cup schedule” in which both Freemans, Swenson, Johnson and Wagner will train and race in Europe from early November as they aim for their top results during the World Championships. Sprint specialists Koos and Newell, as well as Dussault, will stay in North America. Bodensteiner noted the return of Dussault, back for her second season after taking time off to start a family, adds significant strength to the women’s team.
“We're looking to reduce the wear and tear from travel, so Trond has come up with a creative plan that will have the sprinters in North America to train and race in early SuperTour events while Kris, Carl and the others get right at it on the World Cup.”
The team participates in a residence program in Park City, Utah, living and training together throughout the preseason.