United States of America
Nations Cup Ranking: 15th (803 pts)
Men: 12th (527 pts)
Women: 16th (276 pts)
2010/2011 A Team
What you may have missed last season:
Let’s be honest, you’re reading FasterSkier – you probably have not missed a thing on the American World Cup squad. When an article on the US team changing the color of their ski suits garners more comments than just about any other story in the last six months, you know people are invested in their national team.
But on the trails, despite a highly publicized and criticized Olympic Games, the US had its best season as a team in at least the last ten years on the World Cup. Both the men and women, sprinters and distance skiers fared better than ever before.
Andy Newell finished in the top 10 a whopping 10 times, including a bronze medal in Drammen, and that consistent sprinting kept him in the running for the overall sprint title until the World Cup Finals, where he ultimately fell to fourth by a small margin. Simi Hamilton showed he has the speed to contend with the big guns. Torin Koos qualified second in Canmore, and struggled with health problems. Despite the artillery leveled at him following the Olympics, Kris Freeman still finished with two top 10 results, and ended up with the most World Cup points he has collected since 2004.
As for the women, Kikkan Randall reeled in a podium on the now-controversial Oslo sprint course, scored points in several distance races – something a lot of people never expected – and proved that she is utterly amazing at the International Ski Federation’s favorite new concept: the mini-tour. Caitlin Compton and Holly Brooks also took a step up: On the tough climber’s course in Canmore, both finished in the top 30 in a legitimate World Cup field.
And CXC’s Brian Gregg took a flying slide tackle like a champ, not like the individuals in that OTHER World Cup event that happened this summer.
What You Should Know For This Season
The Americans are tackling the Tour de Ski in force, and all three athletes (Randall, Newell, Freeman) mean business. As the Tour de Ski is now an important fixture on the World Cup, anyone gunning for the overall must compete to remain in contention, and do it well. With Randall and Newell gaining ground in the distance fields, there is reason to have hope. Don’t expect an overall victory quite yet, but with the number of World Cup points up for grabs on the Tour, the increased American presence should give all the three a greater chance at the Crystal Globe.
Who You Should Watch
Simi Hamilton impressed just about everybody last year, and rightly so. Hamilton had his sights set on a killer sprint at U-23’s until he ran into some tough luck, and he obviously has speed, reminding the FasterSkier staff of a young Andy Newell – no small compliment. If he gets more starts on the World Cup this year, it is very likely there will be a lot of surprised sprinters.