US Olympic skier Justin Freeman will start his first Olympic race in Friday's 15K classic. We asked Justin about his preparation for this race.
I am assuming that you will be racing the 15K classic. How are you preparing for your first Olympic race?
I am racing the 15 km. I did hard intervals on Monday, and other than that I have been skiing really easy and testing skis.
Does the Olympic 'circus' interfere with your preparations at all?
The level of organization here leaves something to be desired. For example, I walked through two levels of security to enter the village a couple days ago with my credential out of sight under my jacket. And yesterday a shuttle came to the venue to pick us up, but the driver decided he was entitled to a 20 min break, so he simply parked the bus and started smoking. The key is to consider these issue to be interesting quirks and good stories, rather than annoying organizational failures. And about 90% of the time I do.
What do you think of the trails at Pragelato Plan?
The 15 km course is pretty good. There is a long stretch that follows the river down and back up, and this section is somewhat flatter than I would prefer–though to be fair 1/3 of a FIS course is supposed to be flat to rolling, something that was left out at Soldier Hollow. The course makes up for it with two big climbs at the end, each a little over 2:30 skiing flat out with about 45 seconds of recovery (very fast but non-technical descent) between them.
Do you have a specific goal for the 15K?
At this point I am hoping for a top 30. I think this is achieveable if everything goes my way. I also want to ski fast enough in the 15 km to be selected for a leg in the relay where I can help the team match (or improve on) the 5th place from 2002.
Thanks for your time Justin and good luck on Friday.