The following article was originally published on FasterSkier on February 24, 2004. It was reprinted from press releases from the U.S. Ski Team and Cross Country Canada.
Andy Newell, who is now the head coach for the BSF Pro Team, had 220 individual World Cup starts in his career. His first ever start came the weekend before this: Stockholm, February 18, 2004, 1.1-kilometer classic sprint, 43rd in qualifying. That race was won by Norwegian Jens Arne Svartedal, who was born in 1976 and last raced the World Cup in 2010. I wanted to reprint this site’s coverage of Newell’s inaugural race, but it seems, based on the existent archives, that we… just didn’t cover it? Oops. Sorry.
Thankfully, a mere six days later, Newell scored points in his second-ever World Cup start, in Trondheim, Norway, an event duly recorded on this site. Note that Newell’s 25th-place finish in qualifying in Trondheim was good for World Cup points, but not for a spot in the heats, which at that time involved four heats of four athletes each. That is not how sprints currently work.
The women’s race in Trondheim was won by Marit Bjørgen, whom you may have heard of. The men’s race was won by Janusz Krężelok, whom you would be forgiven for not knowing much about. Note also two German women on a sprint podium, and “upstart” 20-year-old Chandra Crawford finishing 9th in an OPA Cup race, as described at the bottom of this article. Crawford would, of course, win Olympic gold in the sprint in Torino, just less than two years later. Newell would, by my math, finish in the top thirty in an additional 114 World Cup sprints in his career, highlighted by three podium finishes: second in Lahti in 2008; third in Changchun, China, in 2006; third in Drammen in 2010.
After 16 years on the National Team, Newell stepped down in 2018, transitioning into his current role as head coach at BSF with a couple final World Cup races along the way. For some nostalgic not-quite bookends to his professional racing career, watch this 2007 footage of Newell jibbing in Park City (a little lower film quality than his resources on Nordic Team Solutions) – inspiring the next generation of heavy-metal skinny ski shredders – then read FasterSkier’s coverage of Newell’s “anti-retirement” here.
The below article, featuring a then–20-year-old athlete still getting his feet wet at the sport’s highest stage, feels appropriate to revisit now, as a large crop of American youngsters invades the World Cup for Period 1 starting later this week. Someone’s first World Cup points are coming soon.
Newell Scores His First World Cup Points
TRONDHEIM, Norway (Feb. 24) – Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vermont), sprint champion of the 2004 SuperTour, collected his first World Cup points Tuesday, finishing 25th in a freestyle sprint at the 1997 World Championships venue at Granåsen Park. Janusz Krężelok gave Poland its first World Cup victory in cross country, edging sprint world champion Thobias Fredriksson of Sweden, while Norway’s Marit Bjørgen, the women’s world champion, won her fourth straight sprint.
Martin Koukal (CZE) finished an impressive 7th, less than two months after breaking his arm in a sprint in Peking, China.
Newell, a member of the U.S. Development Team from Stratton Mountain School, earned start rights to the final three weeks of World Cup races by winning the SuperTour sprint crown. He races again Thursday as the tour moves to Drammen, Norway, south of Oslo, for classic technique sprints.
Canada’s women’s cross-country ski duo of Beckie Scott and Sara Renner had a difficult day on a wet and sloppy one-kilometre sprint track in Trondheim, Norway on Tuesday.
With rain pelting down throughout the race, Scott, of Vermilion, Alberta, qualified for the finals with the top-16 women, but was knocked out in the opening heat and finished 14th, while Sara Renner, of Canmore, Alberta, finished 24th in the one-run qualification round, which were considerably slower times than usually posted by the 48 women entered in the event.
“We just weren’t very good today, but that happens,” said Dave Wood, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team, who is preparing his troops for a busy week which has them competing four times in various countries throughout Europe. “The conditions were terrible today with warm weather and rain. It seemed more like a 5-kilometre race than a sprint, but it was the same for everyone and we’ll just have to regroup.”
The finals consist of four heats of four athletes; with the top-two athletes in each heat moving onto the next round and the bottom two sent packing.
Hometown favourite, Marit Bjørgen, was the eventual winner in the women’s final. Two German athletes joined Bjørgen on the podium. Evi Sachenbacher [now Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, now also known for retiring from skiing following a positive test for methylhexanamine in Sochi, although contemporary coverage was somewhat sympathetic] grabbed the silver, while Claudia Künzel [now Claudi Nystad] was third.
The Canadian men did not suit up on Tuesday in Norway as they are preparing for a 50-kilometre marathon this weekend.
Meanwhile, upstart cross-country skier, Chandra Crawford, continues to shine at an OPA Continental Cup event in Capracotta, Italy. The 20-year-old Canmore, Alberta, native, who was not supposed to travel to Italy until she won two medals 10 days ago at the Under-23 World Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah, followed up a silver medal sprint on Sunday with a ninth-place finish today to lead the Canadians in the 10-kilometre classic event with a time of 33 minutes 50.3 seconds.
Dan Roycroft, of Port Sydney, Ontario, led the Canadian men in the 15-kilometre classic event, finishing 11th with a time of 44:42.9.
Gavin Kentch wrote for FasterSkier from 2016–2022. He has a cat named Marit.