USSA Announces 2010 Olympic Team

FasterSkierJanuary 19, 20107

PARK CITY, UT – World Championship medalist Kikkan Randall (Anchorage), along with Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) headline a group of eight athletes announced Tuesday by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) for the 2010 Olympic Cross Country Ski Team.

USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt, together with the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team partner Visa, announced the roster of athletes to compete in the cross country events at the Whistler Olympic Park north of Vancouver.

“This is a Team that goes to Vancouver well-prepared, with proven success in major international competitions,” said U.S. Nordic Director John Farra.

Randall, who will be taking part in her third Olympics, became the first American woman to win a World Championships silver medal in the freestyle sprint last year. Her focus this season has been to expand her skills in the classic sprint and distance races. The individual Olympic sprint will be classic technique, with the team sprint freestyle.

Newell, who has skied to World Cup podiums in the past, will be making his second Olympic appearance. He has been consistently among the top qualifiers in World Cup sprints this season in both classic and freestyle technique and is considered one of the sport’s fastest skiers.

Freeman, who will become another three-time Olympian, has twice finished fourth in the 15K classic event at World Championships. He is also a diabetic and has worked with USSA Sport Science on the management of the disease in race conditions. After surgery last spring for compartment syndrome, he’s come back stronger than ever and was just off the podium in an early-season World Cup.

The Olympic Team coaching staff will be headed by two-time Olympian Pete Vordenberg.

The 2010 Team is smaller than in the past, the result of a new Olympic quota system. U.S. officials are also optimistic of the possibility of additional quota spots becoming available later in January. “While the Team is smaller, we’re also still confident of both having the athletes to challenge for top results while at the same time preparing first-time Olympians for the future,” said Vordenberg.

Randall, Newell and Freeman all made the Team based on World Cup results. The remaining five athletes qualified through results scored on the USSA National Ranking List.

Other past Olympians include Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA), who has skied to a World Cup podium and is competing in his third Olympics, and 2006 Team member James Southam (Anchorage). First time Olympians making the 2010 squad are Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID), Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis) and Liz Stephen (Montpelier, VT).

Athletes are presently training around the country, preparing for a pre-Olympic camp and World Cup on the 1988 Olympic trails in Canmore, AB Feb. 1-8. The team will arrive in Vancouver on Feb. 9 to prepare for a schedule that includes 12 medal events.

The Team is subject to final review by the U.S. Olympic Committee.


(name, hometown, age as of opening ceremonies, birthdate, (past Olympics))

Morgan Arritola, Ketchum, ID, 23, 5/13/86

Caitlin Compton, Minneapolis, 29, 11/7/80

Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 29, 10/14/80 (2002, 2006)

Torin Koos, Leavenworth, 29, 7/19/80 (2002, 2006)

Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT, 25, 11/30/84 (2006)

Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 27, 12/31/82 (2002, 2006)

James Southam, Anchorage, 31, 6/5/78 (2006)

Liz Stephen, Montpelier, VT, 22, 1/12/87

Source: USSA

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  • mandlim

    January 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Congratulations to all the new and old olympians. Tough job making the selections, but they appear fair. As we all know through the great reporting of Fasterskier, more spots are likely and we can see more of our favorites named to the team. For all those who put in the effort and hard work to reach the dream, much appreciated.

  • flakenordic

    January 19, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I still believe that Garrott Kuzzy should be added to the team.

  • davord

    January 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Aren’t these news or announcements official? I mean once they have named the eight skiers, isn’t that final? I realize all of the scenarios and possibilities with other nations pulling some skiers out, and I am surprised that they didn’t take one or two more skiers, but from the way Farra and Vordenberg were quoted, it seems to me like this is it. I think all of the scenarios and point calculations are nice and dramatic, but at the end of the day the way they pick the team is by FIS points list, which war gonna happen one way or another (or more importantly in this case, straight from the NRL #4 list), so I guess from that perspective this is the best team they could have chosen. However, I totally agree with you Flakenordic.
    Congratulations to all who made the team and good luck in Vancouver.

  • FasterSkier

    January 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Davor – You obviously have not been following the Olympic selection news over the last months. Pete and John could not take more. The US currently has a quota of 8 for the Olympics. That is decided by the FIS quota system.

    If other nations do not take their full quota those spots get reallocated. That happens next week. The US will likely gain additional spots during reallocation, at which point the team will grow.

    Finally there have been several articles on how the team is chosen, and while FIS points is a primary criteria, coaches are permitted to use discretion, opening the door for endless speculation and discussion.

  • davord

    January 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    I knew they could not take as many as they would have had in previous years, and as you point out spots could get reallocated. I never new of the exact numbers however, and as you say that is yet to be determined although looks set right now. I can tell you I imagined more than eight people, that is for sure. I was trying to be optimistic. The first time I heard of the new FIS quota system was in the summer, but obviously things can change each month or even every week during the ski season. I definitely did not analyze the procedures and articles on how the team is chosen in detail any more since then, only was hearing rumours, and was following results. Discretions can be controversial, but the US ski team has always done a good job with that, so if there is still time for that, then it shouldn’t be a problem. I hope that makes sense!

  • nordic_dave

    January 19, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Thoughts and prayers going out to the “Kuzz” on gettin’ another spot next week!

  • amerho

    January 26, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Too bad for Rebecca Dussault, she should have been named to the team. She is skiing faster than anyone right now.

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