Cross-Country Skier of the Year
The 2010 FasterSkier Awards wrap up with the Cross-Country Skier of the Year. While the women’s winner was a no-brainer, the men’s was not so clear cut.
Cross-Country Skier of the Year (women):
Kikkan Randall (USA). Randall is head and shoulders above the rest of the North American women. She followed up her silver medal at World Championships last season with a stellar all-around campaign.
With a focus on the Olympics, Randall was the only American to race her fastest consistently in Whistler. She set a new mark for American women by placing 8th in the classic sprint – also a career-best in that event. She teamed up with Caitlin Compton for an excellent 6th in the Team Sprint, hung with the leaders in the scramble leg of the 4x5km relay, and placed 24th in the 30km – just the third time she had raced over 15km on the World Cup.
In addition to her Olympic results, Randall climbed back on the World Cup podium with a 2nd place in the pre-World Championship sprint in Oslo. Randall did not have many opportunities to race her favorite event, the skate sprint, and used the chance to show she should be considered a favorite to defend her silver from Liberec.
Randall also continued to improve her distance racing and is quickly becoming an all-around World Cup skier. She capped the season with a 14th in the pursuit at the World Cup Finals in Sweden, and ended the 4-day mini-tour in 17th. All told she had four top-30 distance races this season.
On the domestic front, Randall swept the US National Championships, winning all five titles and the SuperTour Finals.
She finished the season ranked 18th in the World Cup Sprint Cup standings, and 37th in the overall.
Sarah Renner (CAN). Renner completed a standout career with her third Olympic Games. She placed 10th in the 15km pursuit and 16th in the 30km.
Her season highlight came the week before in Canmore when she thrilled the hometown crowd with a 3rd place finish in the classic sprint. Renner also placed 16th in the Tour de Ski and was ranked 39th in the overall World Cup.
Congratulations to Sarah on a wonderful career.
Cross-Country Skier of the Year (men):
This was hands down the hardest choice. The Canadian men – Devon Kershaw, Ivan Babikov, George Grey, and Alex Harvey all had standout Olympics. Like most skiers their focus was on the Games, and the result was that they did not ski very well the rest of the season.
Andy Newell, on the other hand, had arguably the best all-around season of any US skier since Bill Koch. But he crashed out in the Olympic sprint qualifier.
While Grey and Harvey both had standout performances, Kershaw and Babikov were a bit better results-wise. Babikov has the edge in the overall World Cup, but Kershaw had two top-5 Olympic results.
While it may seem like a total cop out, the point of the FasterSkier Awards are to recognize the best skiers, not artificially try to differentiate between them for the sake of picking a winner.
And so for the first time, there is a three-way presentation.
Ivan Babikov (CAN). Babikov placed 5th in the Olympic pursuit, 8th in the 15km, and helped the Canadian men to a 7th place finish in the relay.
His result in the pursuit sets the mark (matched by Kershaw) for the best Olympic finish ever by a Canadian man.
In addition the Olympics, Babikov placed 17th in the World Cup Finals mini-tour, 9th in the Tour de Ski and ended the season ranked 23rd in the overall World Cup standings
Devon Kershaw (CAN). A two-time winner of the Skier of the Year Award, Kershaw, like Babikov, saved his best for the Olympics. He was less than two seconds out of the gold medal in the 50k, and teamed up with Harvey to finish 4th in the Team Sprint. His “worst” Olympic performance was a 16th in the 30km.
Kershaw also placed 16th in the Tour de Ski and 31st in the World Cup Finals.
Andy Newell (USA). Newell’s season should not be judged on the basis of the Olympics. He was in the running for a top-3 Sprint Cup finish until the last sprint, and ended up a still-impressive 4th.
He finished in the top-10 seven times, including a 3rd place in the Drammen, Norway classic sprint, and qualified for the heats in every World Cup sprint start.
Newell also expanded his distance racing, showing improvement throughout the season, and became the first American to ski in the Tour de Ski.
Domestically, Newell won the SuperTour Finals in March, holding off Ivan Babikov in the final climb.
Kikkan Randall (USA)
Devon Kershaw (CAN)
Kikkan Randall (USA)
Devon Kershaw (CAN)
Thursday, April 15 – Rookie of the Year
Friday, April 16 – Collegiate Skier of the Year
Monday, April 19 – Adaptive Skier of the Year
Tuesday, April 20 – Continental Skier of the Year
Wednesday, April 21 – Biathlete of the Year
Thursday, April 22 – Nordic Combined Skier of the Year
Friday, April 23 – Performance of the Year (cross-country, biathlon, nordic combined)
Monday, April 26th – Cross-Country Skier of the Year