USA II’s Sargent, Brennan in the Money in Sixth in Otepää Team Sprint

Alex KochonJanuary 18, 2015
Ida Sargent racing earlier this month in the opening prologue of the 2015 Tour de Ski in Obertsdorf, Germany. (Photo: Marcel Hilger)
Ida Sargent (U.S. Ski Team) racing earlier this month in the opening prologue of the 2015 Tour de Ski in Obertsdorf, Germany. (Photo: Marcel Hilger)

Suddenly, it dawned on her. Rosie Brennan of Alaska Pacific University (APU) hadn’t given the team sprint in Otepää, Estonia, much thought until she was on her way to Europe earlier this week and realized that she was going to be one of four U.S. women in Otepää, Estonia, this weekend.

A little quick math — the format required two-person teams — and she and APU coach Erik Flora determined that meant she’d probably get a chance to race the 6 x 1.2-kilometer freestyle team sprint on Sunday.

Brennan, a 26-year-old former U.S. Ski Team member and the current SuperTour leader, had done a team sprint just once before — back in 2009 at the pre-Olympic World Cup in Vancouver, British Columbia. There, she teamed up with Morgan Arritola to place 17th. Arritola and most of the other women in that race are no longer competing.

Coach Erik Flora runs to grab a new pole for Rosie Brennan, APU, 3rd after she broke her pole and was given an oversized one. Women's 10 k freestyle, 2015 Cross Country Championships, Houghton, Michigan
Alaska Pacific University (APU) Head Coach Erik Flora (l) runs to grab a new pole for Rosie Brennan after she broke her pole and was given an oversized in the 10 k freestyle individual start at 2015 Cross Country Championships two weeks ago in Houghton, Michigan. Brennan went on to place third, then won the remaining races at nationals.

At the time, the 2009 team sprint was only Brennan’s second World Cup race.

With nearly two dozen World Cup starts under her belt in the time since, Brennan returned to the international circuit this weekend for the first time since December 2013. Her expectations weren’t results-based, but she was definitely excited for the team sprint.

“Every time I watch [a team sprint], I always think, yikes, going out for the finals seriously seems like one of the hardest things in ski racing,” Brennan wrote in an email. “So, yes I was a little nervous and unsure how I would fare…”

Brennan and Ida Sargent formed the second-seeded U.S. team, and Sadie Bjornsen and Sophie Caldwell teamed up for the U.S. first team. Both teams were put in the second of two semifinals, on 35-degree Fahrenheit afternoon when racing earlier was definitely better.

“It was really warm out there … snowing, raining so the course was breaking down,” Sargent explained on the phone after Sunday’s race. “It was pretty soft in the morning when we were testing and then by the final it was shin-deep slush.”

Vying for a top-two finish to guarantee themselves a spot in the 10-team final, the two American squads came through the final exchange alongside each other in first and second. Bjornsen handed off to Caldwell for the last lap, and Sargent tagged Brennan.

Sargent explained she had been in second heading into the descent toward the stadium on her last semifinal loop, trailing Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk closely to make sure she caught her draft. She passed Kowalczyk, and Bjornsen passed Sargent after following her in similar fashion.

“Sadie and I went into the exchange after our last lap in one and two, so that was pretty fun to be there together,” Sargent recalled.

Sophie Caldwell (USA) shows her cornering skills in Val Mustair (SUI). (photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)
Sophie Caldwell (U.S. Ski Team) racing Jan. 6 at the Tour de Ski freestyle sprint in Val Mustair, Switzerland, where she placed seventh. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

After getting tagged in first, Caldwell explained that Germany’s Denise Herrmann and Poland’s Sylwia Jaśkowiec “took off” at the beginning of the final lap and left her struggling to keep up.

“They formed a little gap and I wasn’t close enough to take advantage of their draft on the [downhill],” Caldwell wrote in an email. “Unfortunately, I think I was leading a little train of my own, so people could hop into my draft.”

One of those people was Brennan, who shot past Caldwell to take third in the heat. Caldwell finished fourth, and the top three teams from their semifinal advanced to the final based on time. (The top-two teams in each automatically advance, then the next six-fastest times.) Seven of nine teams in the first semifinal made the final as well.

“Today was a tough day with the weather and snow conditions, with each lap getting slower than the one before,” Bjornsen explained in an email after her team placed 11th overall. “Since we were in the second heat, our strategy was to go as hard as we could, because we knew making lucky loser positions were going to be tough just the way conditions were working.”

One hundred meters out of the start in the semifinal, someone skied over Bjornsen’s ski.

“I found myself lying in the snow,” she recalled. “I worked hard to catch back up, but Soph had to finish closing the gap. From there we had two great laps in the mix. I tagged off in the front of the pack, and Soph did a great job holding on. … As we predicted, lucky loser time was tough to catch, so sadly, Soph and I weren’t able to catch the finals.”

Sargent, Brennan Sixth in Final

Meanwhile, Sargent and Brennan moved on, which both Caldwell and Bjornsen, Brennan’s APU teammate, were excited about.

“I have believed that Rosie is skiing at the same level as us [U.S. Ski Team women] since the start of the season,” Bjornsen wrote. “It was just so exciting and wonderful for her to feel and show that today! It brings tears to my eyes to see everything she has gotten through this year, and here she is on the World Cup, challenging the strongest skaters in the World.”

“We both skied our last laps with everything we had and it turned out to be just enough,” Brennan explained. “I had no expectations for this race so I psyched when we were finding it possible to easily ski in the front of the pack.”

In the final, she resolved to stick with the pack and see what happened toward the end of the race.

Sargent said she was pleasantly surprised to feel better during the final than the semifinal.

“I guess you’re always excited for another chance to race again,” Sargent said.

She expected to feel tired and “on flooded legs” by the last lap, but the goal was to keep pushing.

Out of the start, Sargent put the U.S. in fourth at the high point of the course, at the turnaround before the downhill. She came through the first exchange in fourth, half a second behind Sweden’s Ida Ingemarsdotter — the eventual winner (with teammate Stina Nilsson).

Brennan kept them within three seconds of Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg in first after her first lap, tagging Sargent in sixth. One lap later, the U.S. was back to fourth, 2.2 seconds from Poland in first and among the nine teams within 5 1/2 seconds of the lead.

“I tried to move up and ski towards the front of the pack more because in the beginning of the semifinal, I was in the back and felt like I was stuck in traffic for the first couple laps,” Sargent explained. “So I tried to get a little farther forward in the final and it was just really fun to be in the mix.”

On Brennan’s second lap, Østberg in first led Nilsson and Poland’s anchor, Jaśkowiec, as the three pulled away. By the tag, they were just over a second ahead of Germany in fourth, Finland’s first team (Anne Kyllönen and Krista Parmakoski) was 4.7 seconds back in fifth, Finland’s second team (Aino-Kaisa Saarinen and Riika Sarasoja-Lilja) was 5.3 seconds behind in sixth, and Brennan 5.9 seconds back in seventh.

“The second lap was the hardest for me,” Brennan said. “I think the pace turned up a bit and I started questioning how much my legs had in them.

“The final was definitely faster paced, there is a lot more on the line,” she added. “It was super slushy and there were trenches around every corner. I think in general, there wasn’t one section that was really good for me or really bad, it was more about putting together a good lap, skiing each section as best as possible and trying to lose as little as possible.”

When Sargent set out on her final lap, she focused on cutting down the gap ahead of her and catching the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place teams.

Germany’s Hanna Kolb fell off the pace and into seventh, while Sargent moved into sixth, 8.4 seconds behind the leaders and 1.2 seconds behind Kyllönen in fifth.

On the last lap, Herrmann brought the Germans back into contention and led the pursuit of Sweden, Norway and Poland. While there was a three-way sprint for first, Germany finished 16.5 seconds back in fourth, Finland’s first team was another 1.1 seconds back in fifth, and Brennan anchored the U.S. to sixth, 18.1 seconds out of first and half a second behind Parmakoski.

Sargent said both she and Brennan were “really happy” with their result in the first-and-only team sprint before the freestyle team sprint at World Championships.

“[Rosie] just got over here and hasn’t raced a team sprint since 2009 … and she was just skiing really well all day and had some awesome finishes on both of the heats,” Sargent said. “So I was really impressed with her — first team sprint, first weekend on the World Cup this year and just to be right in there the whole time.”

“I was really impressed with her — first team sprint, first weekend on the World Cup this year and just to be right in there the whole time.” — Ida Sargent on teammate Rosie Brennan

“I surprised myself by having a little bit of finishing speed in both the semi and the final so I am happy I was able to pull together 3 solid laps each race even if none of them were outstanding,” Brennan wrote.

Finishing sixth, the two landed in the money, which Sargent said is always a goal. Moreover though, she wanted to make the final.

“We did that and after that, everything was just a bonus,” she said.

“Those guys skis great, actually all the U.S. athletes skied really good,” U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover said on the phone. “Despite some crashes, everybody skied super well, so that was really exciting.”

Hamilton Crashes on Last Lap

Simi Hamilton crashed out of contention on the last lap of the men’s first semifinal, and he and Andy Newell, of the first-seeded U.S. men’s team, placed 10th in the heat for 19th overall. The top six teams from their semifinal advanced to the 6 x 1.5 k final.

“Simi and I did a good job of staying up front,” Newell, the team’s scramble leg, wrote in an email. He tagged Hamilton in fifth for the final lap.

“It’s our goal not to ski any harder than we have to until the last laps,” Newell added. “I felt I was able to pace well and did my best to chase down Russia on the last lap and tag Simi in a strong position.”

Positioning himself in the draft behind Nikolay Morilov of Russia’s second team and Canada’s Lenny Valjas on the final downhill, Hamilton went down in a pileup with France’s Baptiste Gros, who had been around third at that point.

According to Grover, Gros face planted on the last rise after the fast downhill into the stadium. Sweden’s Emil Jönsson clipped Gros and spun around, getting tangled with Hamilton, who was on his way down the hill as well.

“[Simi] face planted right into the bridge basically,” Grover said. “He is OK, but he is definitely sore.”

“He was in a good position to move on as [lucky loser] since our heat was a but faster,” Newell explained. “If it wasn’t for the crash I think we would have advanced for sure.”

While the bad luck and resulting missed opportunity to practice a final was disappointing, Newell wrote that they were looking forward to World Championships and putting together a competitive freestyle team sprint there.

“I was feeling pretty good today and think I have regained a bit of my strength and fitness that I was missing during the [Tour de Ski],” Newell added. “I think this is the best my skating has felt for a while and it was fun to be able to accelerate and ski with power.”

Bjornsen, Gelso Miss Top 10 in 11th

The second U.S. men’s team, with Erik Bjornsen and Matt Gelso, the SuperTour leader from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, narrowly missed advancing to the final after placing fifth in the second semifinal. The top four moved on.

Bjornsen started them off in 11th of 12 teams, and Gelso skied up to ninth by the second exchange. One lap later, they were up to seventh, and Bjornsen came through the exchange in fourth on his last lap.

“Once the racing started it was super fun,” Gelso wrote in an email after his first World Cup race in Europe and second team sprint of his career, since racing one at Spring Series about six years ago.

“Erik and I both moved up some places on our second laps, then he moved really well on his third lap,” he added. “For much of the race it was a pack of guys so moving places within the group was more about position when the pace surged than it was about what place you would finish in.”

They had wanted to position themselves in fourth or fifth “as most times the top 4 qualifies for the final,” Gelso wrote. “We did not want to lead but we also didn’t want to sit on the back of the pack as once small gaps form in front of you it is really hard to close them down.”

After getting tagged in fourth just ahead of fifth place, Gelso set out to chase down three leaders. He stayed within a few seconds of them, but lost contact on the short, steep downhill before the wall-of-a-climb before the stadium.

“They really turned it on and put some more time into me and the fifth-place guy behind me [Italy’s Federico Pellegrino] passed me,” Gelso noted. “At this point I was fifth and got over the top of the wall and down into the finish as fast as I could for fifth in the heat.”

He explained that both he and Bjornsen were happy with their race and 11th overall.

“We both skied strong and smart and were able to mix it up with some of the best sprinters in the world,” Gelso wrote. “We would have liked to make the final but we still feel good about our result, that we had a good showing, and that we accomplished many of our goals for the day.”

Bjornsen was pleased that he posted the fastest time on the last lap, but wished he would have had more confidence to make a move earlier in the race.

“I think I could have brought us in at the front of the pack which would have really turned some of those Norwegians heads,” he wrote. “I’m very happy with the way my teammate Matt skied, he just got over here and he was in the mix. It’s a bummer we didn’t get to the finals. I was ready to make some more fast laps…next time!”

Bjornsen added that he’s starting to feel more confident in the event, one of the rarest World Cup formats.

“For some reason I always surprise myself in the team sprint discipline, I’m starting to wonder if it’s a race built for me,” he wrote.

According to Gelso, Bjornsen persuaded him to race the team sprint this weekend.

“I was actually planning to only ski the individual sprint here but once I got over here I talked to [Bjornsen] and he said how fun the team sprint was and how it was like a distance race,” Gelso wrote. “I also thought it would be a better prep race for next weekend in Russia.”

The Americans will head to Rybinsk, Russia, on Wednesday for the next World Cup races starting on Friday. There, they’ll meet up with Jessie Diggins and Liz Stephen, who took the weekend off to recover from the Tour de Ski and train in Seiser Alm, Italy.

At the end of the day and Otepää World Cup weekend, Grover summed it up as “some more tough days. … Of course, there were a lot of crashes out there so we weren’t the only ones that had a rough go of it,” he said.

“I was happy to see that everybody was putting together some good legs out there and some of our best team sprinters weren’t here,” Grover added. “Athletes like Kikkan [Randall] and Jessie on the women’s side. So when it comes time to [make] World Championships [selections], were are going to have some hard decisions to make, that is for sure. It is a good problem. It is nice to know that you have four or five women that could fill that spot and potentially at least three men and maybe more.”

“We have a really strong team,” Sargent said of the women’s team. “We have the defending world champions [Randall and Diggins] in the skate team sprint. We have a lot of girls that can be top 10 in a skate sprint or top 10 in a skate distance race so I think there’s a lot of awesome combinations on our team, and it’ll just depend on who’s skiing fast at that point.”

— Matt Voisin contributed reporting

Final results: women | men

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Alex Kochon

Alex Kochon ( is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.

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  • zakopane

    January 19, 2015 at 5:31 am

    Spills and thrills, but far too many spills and not many thrills. Sadly, that’s been the story of the 2014-15 season for the USA. Let’s hope they can salvage some respectable results in the remaining months of what has been a pretty dismal season. There’s some potential there, but the stars (and stripes) are going to need to align…

  • lihtsalt666

    January 19, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Great job Ida and Rosie, but rest of the gang ….. (read the remindar of comment rules)

  • hankmoody

    January 19, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Salty hit the nail right on the head. FS will surely construe anything remotely critical of Grover / USST as beyond the scope of the article and delete the comment. Je Suis TeamEpokeEsbyn

  • chuckrunkle

    January 19, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Dear Fasterskier,
    I frankly do not care if you block me, my comments, or moderate what I say. Yes, I recognize that I come across as an idiot and a tool, but it is all for more meaning than you care or think to depict. The writing as well as the race recaps are bland and all the articles do nothing but cheerlead the USST et al. There is no good or ground-breaking journalism going on here. How about some deeper questions? And if the USST does not want to answer tough questions, write about it. Tell everyone that they don’t want to admit anything or talk. I am sure the articles on and dagbladet delve into real issues and ask tougher questions. You know why they keep getting interviews? Because the athletes they speak to are honest about their performance. I half-heartedly apologize for my past posts. Actually, I don’t, because I thought it was funny. And I hope someone else did too besides that dingus Moody and that dork Edsbyn.

  • hankmoody

    January 20, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Holy S. I think Runkle is going to cry.

  • apresski

    January 20, 2015 at 10:29 am

    I find the posts of the above folks hilarious, adds a certain levity.

  • JimGalanes

    January 20, 2015 at 11:33 am

    You know what is wrong with Hank and Chuck comments. Nothing! Behind their levity and sarcasm is the glaring truth that apparently faster skier does not want to accept. Hank, Chuck and Salty seem to be hitting some important points. I have a suggesting for Faster Skier. How about asking real questions when you do interviews rather than presenting the sanitized white washed versions that the USST and related programs want you to get out.

  • crashtestxc

    January 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    There’s an amazing amount of collusion amongst far too many groups in U.S. skiing. Were USSA to ever ask their constituents opinions on the USST, etc. I’m positive that they would be overwhelmingly negative. Well stated JimGalanes!

  • chuckrunkle

    January 20, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Who is Jim Galanes??

  • caldxski

    January 20, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    One of my favorite stories is about this guy who walked into a high-end car dealership and started looking around. A clerk finally came over to help the guy and the guy asked how much one of the cars cost. The clerk said, “Sir, if you have to ask that question, you don’t belong here.”

    So,Chuckrunkle, if your question about Galanes is serious, you don’t belong in the discussion.

    John Caldwell

  • chuckrunkle

    January 20, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Dude! Who do you think you are? I guess you must be one of THE Caldwells. Let me take a wild guess, you went to Dartmouth? Where do you get off saying I need to know who he is when I don’t even know you?! Chill out brosef Stalin!

  • Tim Kelley

    January 20, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    RunkleChuckie: If you don’t know who Jim Galanes or John Caldwell is, then not only don’t you belong in this discussion, you don’t deserve to own a pair of xc skis.

  • kwikgren

    January 20, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    “That an American is now the all-time leader in World Cup victories is significant for ski racing in the United States.” Powder Magazine. On Lindsey Vonn’s 63rd world cup victory in Cortina.

    I know this is somehow irrelevant to the discussion because it is Alpine Skiing, but as a fan of skiing I really don’t see the difference. What part of United States Ski Team am I failing to understand? I’m proud of Lindsey, and all the rest of our skiers in all disciplines both Nordic and Alpine. I remember watching World Cup downhill racing on TV years ago. Tommy Moe came in like 30th place and I thought ,”wow our skiers really suck”. Then just a couple years later he won the gold medal in Lillehammer. Then, in a few more years he was honored in the United States Ski Hall of Fame.
    You know who is also in the Ski Hall of Fame? John Caldwell.

    Who will be the next U. S. Nordic skier to achieve that status? I see some real promise for the future, and success can come despite the challenges Nordic skiing faces in this country.

    Meanwhile, I will shamelessly enjoy this moment in alpine skiing history. Is that so wrong?

  • erikfluoro

    January 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm


    Your post should be deleted a irrelevant to this discussion. As mine no doubt will also be. You must be from the UP to think the US Ski Hall of Fame has any relevance. There are many Nordic skiers who should be there but are not! Regardless What does it have to do with this discussion or anything for that matter.

  • erikfluoro

    January 20, 2015 at 9:10 pm


    Collusion and lots of KoolAide. Thank the Reverend Luke

  • jacob

    January 20, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Oh boy… Where to start…
    1. chuckrunkle – you want fasterskier to ask the hard questions. there are none. teams have bad years/months/days. try not to blame grover (the most successful coach of the USST xc team).
    1.1 you want a less bland news source? consider the sport that FS is reporting on. Its not glamorous. It has no gossip. Although I love it and devote unmeasurable time to it, it’s not super exciting. Asking for interesting ski racing is similar to asking for a quesadilla without cheese. If you want sensationalized news, watch FOX and pick a new sport to unload your baseless claims onto.
    2. Falun World Champs havn’t happened yet. Falun World Champs havn’t happened yet. Falun World Champs havn’t happened yet. Let it sink in. We knew, pre-WC season, that the USST was working toward a Falun Peak so they wouldn’t disappoint. This means unrepresentative results until Falun. So I’ll ask the question: why are some of you basing opinions on results that we knew wouldn’t match last seasons period I and period II results?
    * Quick note: I won’t say weather I think US skiers will or will not disappoint, but I WILL say with absolute certainty that we don’t know yet.
    3. This FS commenting game should end. I understand that my comment won’t be popular among the less-informed FS ‘members.’ I also understand that, in all likelihood, it won’t be up for that long – it, and so many other comments, shouldn’t. They all represent a biased and faceless opinion that I’d rather not get angry over when I’m done reading My articles. Do me a favor and don’t respond to this.

  • Martin Hall

    January 21, 2015 at 12:21 am

    What trash up above—WOW!!!!
    A comment on the WSC and the focus by the USST since the beginning to be totally ready for these WSC games—-good luck—where did they came up with this strategy I’ll never know? I’m not sure they can allow themselves the chance of taking this approach to ski the beginning of the season at a lower level then the previous year—because they were too hot and compromised there prep for the Olympics and essentially flopped.
    After Rybinsk—-there is a 3 (yes, 3 week ) break before 2 WCs in Oestersund and then 3 days more before the WSC begin in Falun! With this amount of time you should be able to recover from almost any sickness a skier could have, tear a trng program apart and put a new one in place for any skier that is not performing up to snuff, take any number of days off if fatigue is the problem, find some extra races of any distance on one of the two weekends before Oestersund if a skier needs those kinds of intensities, do altitude trng for 10 days to 2 weeks and still get enough low altitude time to work on the racing gears.
    Those guys should have been trying to be as hot as may be the Norwegians were to start the season and then adjust schedules like I pointed out above—-or even to the point, you make a Kikkan Randall adjustment and go home to Alaska for 16 days.
    I can tell you there was not too much brain smoke being developed from May until November—-you guys (USST coaches) should talk around more—-nothing beats experience.
    We know there are some irons in the fire at different temperatures—but you have time on your side—my choice for low altitude camp is in Sweden any where—make it easy to get to and Sieser Alm for high altitude—Davos is compromise–it is not a true altitude location.
    Well, it sure is going to be fun—reading all the blogs, twitters and FS and ST reports for the next month—can’t wait.

  • hankmoody

    January 21, 2015 at 4:22 am

    Ah Jacob is yet another member of the cross-country elite. only his “informed” views have validity. I guess the BKL tradition of a ribbon to every participant should be continued on the world cup? or at least on the USST if one were to believe FS. I think there are a few athletes who have had success this year (both bjornsens, ida, caldwell on the mend)… the rest are struggling. The groverian plan of “peaking” for world championships is BS. Are we to assume the norwegians, swedes, russians et al. are not going to peak? so — the so-called “peaking” americans need to first make up the deficit they relinquished to this “peaking” plan and then they need to improve more than their likewise peaking competitors to get back to the same place they were a year ago. in order to do that they need an assist from dr. shiffrin — hey he went to Dartmouth too right? maybe grover or that caldwell guy can help with that?

    Jabot your “institutional memory” is damaged. marty hall and mike gallagher both ran programs with tremendous success including the men winning a world cup relay.

    as for runkle, he’s an idiot. but i applaud the right of idiots to speak their mind. even if they didn’t go to dartmouth and they don’t know jimmy the greek.

  • nordic_dave

    January 21, 2015 at 9:04 am

    First, my hat’s off to Rosie she is having a transformational year. Major atta gurl there!

    I don’t know who many of the commenters are posted here, don’t really care, sometimes they can be clever, other times not.
    I want thank John Caldwell for getting me riled up on FS 8 years ago which created the mother of all commenting responses in the world U.S. Cross Country skiing. Today John is my friend and I have gotten to know his family as well. I also get to talk Marty often and find his insight timeless.

    My point is IF we are ever going to have the sustained success we crave on the world stage, it will take generations helping generations get to the next level. THAT is the difference between the U.S. and the best nations that produce great skiers generation after generation. Although money, great coaching, exercise science, etc.. all play a role , providing help where it be best used with the know how to get it done is the key here. As a once problem admirer to taking action, I can share with you it’s a very bumpy road to smooth out. Personally I still see some major obstacles ahead to achieve a goal of supierior results but i can also say improvements have been made. Having put in a lot of time and effort and not seeing a podium at the Olympics and other major events is extremily frustrating and I hope we continue to find better solutions.

    One thing we all have in common is we love this sport. Let’s provide the best ideas and help we can whether it is at a local level or at an international level.

    Dave Knoop a.k.a. nordic_dave

  • chuckrunkle

    January 21, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I am going to do you a favor and not reply to you because your post was nothing more than one giant excuse as to why the USST is doing poorly and why they do not have to answer our questions.

    Nordic Dave- Mad props. You da man. You are doing a great job. I hope Rosie is getting some financial support for this trip and is getting better wax than Fastwax Salmon.

    One thing that has become increasingly apparent is that the nordic community is disgustingly tight circled. Do I really not deserve to be in the sport or own a pair of nordic skis Mr. Kelley? That kind of attitude is exactly what our sport needs.

    This is why the dialogue in skiing sucks. The USST and Grover want to keep their training one huge secret and they don’t want to say what they did different, or mention how many travel days Kikkan has had bouncing around between Alaska, the main States, and Europe.

    I wish Nordic Dave good luck, because USST XC is not far behind NC in getting the ax unless they get some medals. Just wait.

    Runkle is ankling!

  • therealchuckrunkle

    January 21, 2015 at 10:50 am

    I’d like to apologize for many of my previous posts.

    I have been using FS comments to vent frustrations about being a US Nordic athlete who was never able to commit myself enough to meet the goals that I had laid out for myself. Deep down I know, as I’m sure you all do, that trying to be a top-tier athlete in the nordic sports is challenging. There are very real issues with governance, funding, sponsorship, culture, and logistics that pose a handicap American athletes. The efforts of the USST should be open to healthy debate. Yet when I reflect upon my commenting history I realize that my tone has not always been focused on contributing positively to finding solutions.

    Having some of my most recent comments hidden from public view has made me realize that while we all cherish free speech there is a difference between having a forum for discussion versus attempting to squash meaningful debate. It has been dawned on me that ignorance of USST’s stated goals (some of which are open to debate), historical precedents within the American nordic community (not all of which should continue to be followed), and the efforts of more mature members of the community (many of whom have seen , does not assist me in my analysis of current events.

  • hankmoody

    January 21, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Who is that poser? And can’t you come up with your own name? Haha chuck would never write with such pompous introspection. I am sure this is yet another Dartmouth grad. I just came across a recent Matt Taibbi article. He says it better than the poser Runkle:

    “If we try to shun or hide ideas, they tend to pop up on the edges somewhere in garishly loud form, where we end up having to talk about them anyway, the key word being talk. These ideas don’t have to be right, they can even be very wrong, but their existence is supposed to be healthy.

    This is a core principle of who we are and not a difficult one, which makes all this frantic running sideways away from a few offensive cartoons that much more ridiculous. People seem more worried about being mistaken for holding disreputable ideas than they are proud to be correctly identified as citizens of a free-speech society. Are we really all so insecure?”

    I submit — the cross country ski world really is that insecure.

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  • therealchuckrunkle

    January 21, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I’d like to apologize for many of my previous posts.

    I have been using FS comments to vent frustrations about being a US Nordic Combined athlete who was never able to commit myself enough to meet the goals that I had laid out for myself. Deep down I know, as I’m sure you all do, that trying to be a top-tier athlete in the nordic sports is challenging. There are very real issues with governance, funding, sponsorship, culture, and logistics that pose a handicap American athletes. The efforts of the USST should be open to healthy debate. Yet when I reflect upon my commenting history I realize that my tone has not always been focused on finding solutions.

    Having some of my most recent comments hidden from public view has made me realize that while we all cherish free speech there is a difference between having a forum for discussion versus attempting to squash meaningful debate. It dawned on me that ignorance of USST’s stated goals (some of which are open to debate), historical precedents within the American nordic community (not all of which should continue), and the efforts of more mature members of the community (many of whom have been witness to previous success/challenge cycles), does not assist me in my analysis of current events. Upon reflection if I had wanted to engage in meritless debate I could have done that on my own athlete website. I think I chose to do it here because of the anonymity (as I understand that my personal sponsors and supporting organizations would probably not have wanted to be associated with my posts) of what I have posted, and because of the number of people who read FS… as opposed to my personal blog which gets almost no traffic as I haven’t posted to it in over a year.

    So… I would like to suggest an upgrade to the comment section. While there are many examples of very positive discussion surrounding articles the faceless posting system can encourage poor behaviour. Could a real-name system be adopted? I’ve seen systems that require a Facebook sign-in. This is not a perfect solution (I would hate for someone to be excluded from adding constructive thoughts to discussion because they had no Facebook account) but to ensure that FS remains a viable and growing platform which encourages community engagement we can’t continue down the path that I, and a few others, have happily carved. Free speech can only be free when we are willing to accept responsibility for sharing our ideas.


  • T.Eastman

    January 21, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Jeezum, some skiers put in a pretty danged good effort, an article written in normal sports reporting style describes the event for the folks back home, and then the grump parade…

    … if you don’t like how the system is run, fix it, don’t whine here.

    BTW, skiing even in a poor snow year still beats any other sport!

  • Tim Kelley

    January 21, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    “therealchuckrunkle” … ha, what an idiot, you just blew your cover. You need to come up with better handles and not use the same format all the time. Remember the time you tried to get an account on FS for “therealtimkelley”? Well, FS sent me your email on that for verification, and it was easy to Google-sleuth and find out who you are. You are not a Nordic combined skier. You are on the Dartmouth ski team. (It’s because of you I won’t be donating to Friends of Dartmouth Skiing again until you are gone. ) You’ve been a plague on FS commenting for a long time. Want me to name your name? Get a life, stop posting on FS and please … seek professional help for your mental illness. Have a nice day.

  • chuckrunkle

    January 21, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    This is just getting confusing. I apologize, on my own accord, for my gross sarcasm. I know who Galanes, Kelly, and Caldwell are, and I have a lot of respect for those guys. Admittedly, they know much more than I do about nordic and are good dudes. I was only on here to have some fun and drum up some more traffic to the comments section, I hope someone can appreciate that and my stupid sense of humor and see it as only that. Everyone is right, none of this contributes to good discussion or dialogue. Real names should be used on Fasterskier, but it was fun to use a made-up persona for a while! And my comments to nordic-dave were legit, he is doing great things. I just wanted some more tough questions from Fasterskier. This marks the end of the Chuck Runkle era.
    Runkle is ankling- forever!`

  • teamepokeedsbyn

    January 21, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Mr. Kelly – they should take away Mr. Runkle’s meal card at the dartmouth cafeteria….that will teach the snippy little wannabe. Go big Green!
    Mr. Nordic Dave, I present, that, while development of established racers is a event trip funding is an issue, the real salvation, for this sport, now and in the future, lies in recruitment, as in finding/seeking/introducing those to the sport whom would not ever participate but for said recruitment efforts. Holding BKL events for local ski-town kids does not fill that need. Busing in kids from a non-skiing locals to try the BKL events would be more important example. Recruitment will lead to finding genetic freaks, and a more robust industry, which is most vital. Rember those Dannon Series in cities? Recruitment is Something that is the responsibility of the NGB, but clearly not even on the USSA radar.
    To the prognosticators/devils advocates Runkle and Moody, I think you are funny, keep it up.
    To Faster Skier website, please offer Jim Galanes a blog, he has some interesting points, and I googled his name and he was a top racer like 100 years ago. Plus it would be funny to see Runkle and Moody rip him a new one.

  • kwikgren

    January 21, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    I applaud the efforts of all of our skiers duking it out over in Europe. Some of the way things have played out so far with USST-Nordic has been a bit of a puzzlement to me sitting in the cheap seats, but I’m certainly in no position to judge. I especially want to congratulate Rosie, Caitlin, Kyle, Kris, and Dakota for dealing with cold, snowy weather and winning races in Houghton. That’s what skiing is all about!

    I’ve read these articles on both FS and USSA and find them to be very similar in substance, informative, and I am unaware of the underlying conspiracies purported to exist. You want harsh criticism or the coldest of snubs, that’s what the mainstream media is for. Even after Lindsey Vonn’s 15 minutes are up, all the media really wants are stories about her personal life and the more controversial the better. Nordic skiing? All the press wants are numbers of Olympic gold medals to glorify U.S. nationalism. They will never understand how, to some of us, this sport of Nordic skiing transcends all of that. So maybe being part of a subculture is not all that bad.

    One difference I noticed between the FS and USSA websites is that on USSA below every article there is a link to contribute money, while at the bottom of FS articles there is place for these comments. Maybe FS should charge $1 per word of comment. Of course from me being a lowly yooper and all there isn’t going to be any money, but I will donate all of my empty beer cans worth 10 cents each. The only catch is that you have to come to the U.P. and brave snowy weather to get them. If you stay and ski, I will even give you some full ones.

    Ken Wikgren (nada credentials, just a ski enthusiast)

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