Andrew Newell of the U.S. Ski Team posted a phenomenal 2nd-place time in the individual qualification round of the men's Olympic sprint race earlier today, before struggling somewhat in the quarterfinals to finish 16th overall. His rank in the qualifiying run tied teammate Torin Koos' recent record for the best-ever US finish (or North American male for that matter) in a World Cup or Olympic sprint qualification.
Koos, who is coming off of recent illness, finished a dissapointing 37th in today's sprint, but was the second-fastest qualifier in the recent World Cup sprint in Oberstdorf, Germany. At that race Newell qualified fourth and managed to work his way through the head-to-head heats all the way to the A-Final. US fans hope this may be a sign of things to come, as the young Vermonter has been out-gunning most of the world's best sprinters this season in the individual portion of World Cup and now Olympic sprints, while struggling to advance in the rough and tactical head-to-head rounds.
Nevertheless, today's 16th place is a significant improvement over the best US male result in the inaugural Olympic sprint event in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics: Carl Swenson's 30th.
Swenson's main focus at the Torino Olympics is the upcoming 50km skate, the final cross country event at the games.