CANMORE, Alta.—Canada will send four more cross-country skiers to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, bringing the team’s total size to 15, thanks to additional spots allocated to the Canadians by FIS, Cross Country Canada announced on Wednesday.
Drew Goldsack, of Red Deer, Alta., Calgary’s Brent McMurtry, Gordon Jewett, of Canmore, Alta., and Brittany Webster, of Caledon, Ont., who all met Cross Country Canada’s Olympic criteria for nomination to the Olympic Team in December, had their dreams come true, and will join the other 11 Canadian cross-country skiers who will compete at Whistler Olympic Park in February.
“Adding this group definitely increases the firepower of our team at the Games,” said Tom Holland, high-performance director, Cross Country Canada, who added there will now be nine men and six women representing Canada at the Games. “These athletes all fought hard to meet the Canadian selection criteria and earned their opportunity to compete in Vancouver-Whistler. Not only will this add depth, but it will also build on the experience our athletes need for the future. We are thrilled they will get this chance-of-a-lifetime to compete in the Olympics at home.”
For the first time ever at an Olympic Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee negotiated with the FIS a maximum quota of cross-country ski athletes that can be entered into the Games. With a maximum number of athletes set at 310 for cross-country skiing, Canada was given 11 spots when its Olympic squad was originally announced January 22, with the understanding that all nations had the possibility of being allocated additional quota spots based on a FIS allocation list of all competitors in the top-500 of the international rankings.
Each National Olympic Committee had to give confirmations to FIS on their intent to use the allocated quota places for their nation. Spots not used were returned to FIS, and re-allocated to the next eligible National Olympic Committee. As a result, Canada was given four more positions.
The announcement caps off a remarkable comeback story for 2006 Olympian, Drew Goldsack, who missed last year with an injury to his left ankle that required surgery. The 28-year-old fought off the flu and the most pressure-packed races of his life to win the classic-sprint at the Olympic Trials in December, and position himself for a spot in the 2010 lineup.
“This definitely is a great feeling and so nice to have the Olympic spirit back. I can now focus on my preparation for the Games and not all the political stuff that is involved in the lead up,” said Goldsack. “It has been a hard year for me and this is the culmination of a lot of hard work, both physically and mentally, to get to where I am. I have proved to others, and not just myself, that I’m not going to these Games as a tourist, but I am going there to perform.”
Goldsack celebrated the announcement on Wednesday with teammates, Brent McMurtry and Gord Jewett, who also got the call that will allow them to participate in their first Olympics. The trio of Canadians, who will be part of the strongest men’s cross-country ski teams assembled in Canada, will also be joined by rising young star on the women’s team, Brittany Webster. The 22-year-old Webster will also make her Olympic debut in Vancouver-Whistler.
Canada announced last week it will send one of its most talented teams of cross-country skiers to the start line with a focus on contributing to the nation’s medal count at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Each of the four athletes named on Wednesday will join their Olympic teammates for final training preparations. Canada’s Olympic Cross-Country Ski Team will compete at the 2010 Alberta World Cup in Canmore, Alta., February 5-6, 2010, prior to heading to the Olympic Winter Games.
Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada. Its 51,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. Cross-country skiing is Canada’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually.Canad