CANMORE, Alta.—Canada’s high-performance cross-country ski athletes will begin their four-year march to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games with a new head coach blazing the trail to world-leading results. Justin Wadsworth, a three-time Olympic cross-country skier for the United States, has accepted the role as head coach of the National Ski Team, Cross Country Canada announced on Friday.
The 41-year-old Wadsworth, who is very familiar with Canada’s cross-country ski program as the former training partner and now husband of two-time Olympic medallist Beckie Scott, brings more than two decades of experience as a high-performance athlete and the last four years as World Cup coach of the United States Ski Team. Leveraging his experience as an elite athlete,Wadsworth has an uncanny ability to execute a high-level training plan, while putting a strong emphasis on technique to maximize an athlete’s athletic ability.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me to build on the significant progress made to date, and further develop a strong, cohesive team that works well together while posting results at the World Cup and World Championships consistent with their talent,” said Wadsworth, who has an early advantage given his existing solid foundation of relationships with Canadian Ski Team members through Scott. “My coaching goals are always to bring everything I can to the athlete, the team and the program as a whole in an effort for the National Ski Team to accomplish its collective goal of achieving excellence, but most importantly, to give athletes the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
Wadsworth replaces Inge Bråten who returned to his home in Norway after completing a one-year contract to lead the Canadian squad through to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
In his new role, Wadsworth’s primary responsibility will be on leading the World Cup Team. He will continue building the Canadian program in alignment with the training plan and principles developed over the last eight years under the sport science and sport medicine umbrella of the Canadian Sport Centre Calgary, while adding new perspective in program delivery and leadership of the National Ski Team’s most elite athletes.
“It is very exciting to join a program with a talented pool of athletes, a fantastic wax team, an established sport science program and experienced administrative staff already in place,” saidWadsworth, who now lives in Canmore – minutes from the home training base of the National Ski Team at the Canmore Nordic Centre with his family. “This is already a professionally-run program, but this sport is changing before our eyes where you need the speed of a sprinter along with the endurance of a traditional distance skier. Our main challenge in training will be to keep up with the demands of our sport and develop a team that can find the balance required to win at all levels. Yes this will be a challenge, but it is one I’m excited to take on and succeed.”
As part of Cross Country Canada’s strategic planning towards 2014 and beyond, the national sport body also announced it has appointed Dave Wood to the new role of manager of National Ski Team operations and coach development. Wood, who has been a head coach of the National Ski Team for more than a decade, takes on the responsibility for structuring Cross Country Canada’s Integrated Support Team while overseeing all technical support programs. Wood will also manage the operations relating to Canada’s participation in all major international events, and will be tasked with recruiting and developing high-level domestic coaches while mentoring international coaches.
Eric de Nys will continue holding the coaching reigns as Senior Development Team Coach and will begin to assist Wadsworth at World Cup events. An accomplished skier hailing from British Columbia, de Nys joined Cross Country Canada in 2004. During his six years with the national program, he has coached many Canadian athletes to significant jumps in performance while competing at the Haywood NorAm’s; Under-23 World Championships; and World Cup competitions. De Nys will be responsible for all training and competition programs while fostering the development of Canada’s next generation of elite skiers.
“World-leading coaching, and a strong support team are core to Canada’s cross-country ski athletes’ pursuit of excellence,” said Davin MacIntosh, executive director, Cross Country Canada. “With Justin leading the way, we are confident our high-performance coaches and support staff will deliver a high level of instruction and motivation that will ensure our athletes are fully prepared to win against the world’s best.”
Source: Cross-Country Canada