Red Group Announced for World Cup Period III

FasterSkierJanuary 27, 20092

The Red Group consists of the top 30 distance and sprint racers in the world. It is based on World Cup points from the previous four World Cup periods. The Red Group rankings are extremely important, in that the race organizer must pay the travel and living costs (accommodation, food, etc) for every athlete in the Red Group. Expenses must also be covered for a maximum of one coach per nation and sex, if there are three or more athletes per sex in the Red Group List for that nation. Obviously, this can amount to significant savings for National programs.

The Red Group is not used for seeding purposes. The current World Cup ranking list, updated after every World Cup event, is used to seed the top 30 competitors in every event. This is somewhat confusing as this group is often referred to as the “Red Group” during race commentary. Technically this group should be referred to as the “Seeded Group.”

The new Red Group list includes races from February 10th 2008 through last weekend’s races in Otepaa. There is a separate Red Group for distance and sprint. A new Red Group list is compiled at the end of every World Cup period. There are four periods every winter.

North American Athletes in the Red Group

Sprint Men
8. Andy Newell USA
24. Devon Kershaw (CAN)

Torin Koos is the next closest North American in 64th with 35 points. Nikolay Chebotko (KAZ) is 30th with 90 points.

Norway has 11 of the men’s sprint Red Group spots, including 7 of the top 10. Andy Newell is the only non-Scandinavian in the top 10.

Italy is the next best nation with 5 in the top 30. Sweden only has two athletes in the Red Group, but both are ranked in the top 10.

Sprint Women
16. Chandra Crawford (CAN)

Kikkan Randall (USA) just missed the Red Group and is ranked 33rd with 89 points, 12 points out of 30th. 12 points is the equivalent of a 19th place finish. Kikkan has been a member of the Red Group for about a year, based mainly on her victory in Rybinsk last season.  Given how World Cup points are allocated (100 for 1st, 80 for 2nd, down to 1 for 30th), a single top performance can be enough to hold a skier solidly in the Red Group, until that result comes off the books.  With several freestyle sprints in the next period, and her improving classic sprinting, Randall has a good shot at regaining Red Group status.

Sara Renner (CAN) is 47th with 39 points. Crawford, Canada’s top sprinter, has been out all season with an injury and has not raced.

Finland is top top team with 5 athletes in the Red Group. Sweden and Norway both have 4.

Distance Men
17. Devon Kershaw (CAN)
28. Ivan Babikov (CAN)

Kris Freeman is the first US skier on the list in 49th place with 69 points, 71 points out of 30th. Both Norway and Germany have 5 skiers in the distance Red Group.

Distance Women
22. Sara Renner (CAN)

Shayla Swanson (CAN) is the next North American on the list in 58th with 14 points. Kikkan Randall is the top American in 70th with 8 points. Norway is the top team with 5 athletes in the Red Group. Several teams qualified 4.

Complete Red Group Lists from FIS in PDF form

Men’s Distance Red Group 2009 Period III

Women’s Distance Red Group 2009 Period III

Men’s Sprint Red Group 2009 Period III

Women’s Sprint Red Group 2009 Period III

The Red Group mean all expenses are covered!


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  • rbradlee

    January 28, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Not even one skier in the distance Red Group? Not one? That is pretty lame. Finland has 5 and we’re only 60 times their population. What can we do?

    Rob Bradlee

  • jsasseville

    February 14, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    This argument – that the US has 60 times the population is completely off the mark. How much of this population actually has snow to ski or or xc skis?
    The number of people who have access to snow and to xc ski trails should be the comparison not the total population. Norway has 7 million people but 4 million ski. How many ski in the US?
    More to the point is whether the population has access to snow, good groomed trails, coaching for xc skiing and learn to ski programs.
    A good example is xc skiing in Canada vs hockey in Norway. Almost every schoolyard in Canada where it is cold enough has an outdoor rink. When it is not cold enough there is an indoor rink. Most small towns have this indoor rink and many cities have multiple rinks for kids to learn and to play hockey.
    In Norway every school yard where it snows in the winter has a ski trail going through it. These trails are lit in the winter and trackset most days.
    Skiing is something that the kids do every day. It is part of the school curriculum and one of the major ways that the kids play. The better kids go into a club in their town and ski with their friends every day.
    The same is true for hockey in Canada. Ball hockey, shinny, pickup hockey games and organized hockey programs are the norm in most towns and cities in Canada.
    Is it any wonder that Canada is a hockey power and Norway is a xc ski power? It has NOTHING to do with total population. The Chinese have billions of people and India has a much greater population that the US – does this mean that they should be that much better than the US or Canada in xc skiing too?
    Look to your facilities, access to good trails and snow, and your programs for the answer. In Finland the have over 150,000 kids in a program called Hopeasompa – their equivalent of the Jackrabbit program in Canada or the Bill Koch Ski League in the US.
    Plant more seeds and you will have a much better chance of growing good flowers. The bigger the gene pool the better.

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