RacingWorld Cup24 Teams in 24 Days: The Australian Invasion

Avatar Kieran JonesOctober 26, 20101

The World Cup season is rapidly approaching – before you know it, Petter Northug Jr. will be finishing mass start races at a blistering pace, Justyna Kowalczyk will be re-starting her dope-no dope argument with Marit Bjoergen about asthma (oh, wait…that already happened), and any news of Kris Freeman, Kikkan Randall, or Andy Newell will have the FasterSkier discussion boards afire. But herein lies your dilemma – other than the previously listed facts, you don’t actually know anything about the FIS World Cup. You think a hammer is something to hit nails with, not the nickname of a Finnish sprinter. You think you really like Dario Cologna, but you want to know whether he’s passionate enough about his skiing to win. You really want to bank on the Russians to do well this year, but you aren’t sure which Russian skiers were hit with doping bans in the off-season. You have no idea how to pronounce Sami Jauhojaervi’s last name, and you really want to impress that cute guy/girl in your masters training group/school ski team/college team/underwater basket weaving class with your knowledge of World Cup skiers. Well, now you have found a way to achieve these goals.

FasterSkier is proud to present 24 Teams in 24 Days, a series in which each team that scored points on the Nations Cup last season will be profiled, giving you a glimpse into what made them tick last year, and what you might see this season.

Australia Preview

Nations Cup Ranking: 24th (1 pt)

Men: 23rd (1 pt)

Women: N/A

2010/2011 World Cup Team

Men

Ben Sim

Callum Watson

Chris Darlington

Women

Esther Bottomley

Aimee Watson

What you may have missed last season:

The fact that Australia scored a World Cup point! High fives all around! Australia may not be the first country that pops into your head when you think of cross country skiing, but thanks to one man – Ben Sim – they ended up with a spot on the Nations Cup. Sim managed to get the Aussies on the board early, scoring the sole World Cup point in Beitostolen, Norway at the very first World Cup race last season.

For a small World Cup team with few race headlines to make, the Australians sure didn’t disappoint in the entertainment department. From their comic-book style World Cup race reports to their incredibly talented waxing and video making staff, they provided World Cup fans with lots of interesting content.

If you want an excellently waxed pair of skis, you know where to go.

Lastly, while he’s not Australian, and any Australians reading this will bombard the FasterSkier inbox with hate mail, we figured Ben Koons should get a mention for his pure guts in the 30 k Pursuit at the Olympics. The New Zealand national started in the back row of the grid, yet somehow managed to pass the entire field on his way up the first hill.

Go Koons Go!

On the plus side, that’s Dario Cologna he’s leading. And the rest of the field. On the down side, his day ended a little less awesome.

What You Should Know For This Season

As per a FasterSkier report this summer, Ben Sim has made the switch to Nordic Combined. It is largely unknown as to whether he will still race cross country at all, but he has been nominated to the Australian National Cross Country Ski Team. When he’s racing well, he can put up good results – regardless of where he is racing.

Who You Should Watch

If Ben Sim isn’t racing cross country World Cups, the team will have to look elsewhere for their one point. While the majority of the team is still young, Esther Bottomley, a 27-year old sprinter, is in her prime. She sprinted to 50th at the Vancouver Olympics, and has World Cup experience – and in sprinting, all you need is to have one amazing day, and you’ve got a World Cup point.

Esther Bottomley. Photo courtesy of Kikkan Randall.

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Kieran Jones

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