Cross Country Canada has confirmed it is sending a 23-strong team featuring six Olympians and one Paralympian to compete at Winter Games NZ on 21-30 August 2009.
Olympic gold medallist, Chandra Crawford, is joined in the womenʼs team by three-time Olympian and silver medallist, Sara Renner who also holds five World Cup medals. Crawford took out gold in the Individual Sprint (free), which is also the discipline she will be competing in at Winter Games NZ. Renner won silver in the Team Sprint (classic) at the 2006 Olympics.
The menʼs team features four Olympians including top ranked Canadian, Devon Kershaw who is currently ranked 18th in the World Cup overall. Ivan Babikov, and Alex Harvey are both ranked in the top 50 in the world and all have held national titles for Canada.
Brian McKeever won two golds, a silver and a bronze at the 2006 Paralympics and last year made history becoming the first Canadian athlete with a disability to ski in an able-bodied race. He finished 24th at the World Championships. His goal is to become the first athlete with a disability to compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010.
The Winter Games NZ cross country competition is based at Snow Farm near Lake Wanaka from 23-25 August. Disciplines included are 10km/15km classic interval start, sprint and 5km/10km freestyle interval start. Adaptive skiers will race with able-bodied athletes.
Winter Games NZ will take place at Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Snow Farm, Naseby and Dunedin from 21-30 August 2009 and will feature disciplines of alpine skiing, free skiing, x-country skiing, snowboarding, curling, ice skating and adaptive snow sports as well as the demonstration sports of winter triathlon and natural luge. For further information visit www.wintergamesnz.com .