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HomeAuthor Nathaniel Herz

Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.

The first three of the 36 cross-country skiing medals at stake at the Sochi Olympics are up for grabs Saturday, as racing begins here with the women's 15 k pursuit. Four Americans and three Canadians are entered in the event, which will have the athletes racing four 3.75-kilometer laps on trails at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center --a massive Olympic complex installed at the top of a ridge in Russia's Western Caucasus Mountains over the last five years.

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Early Saturday morning, Kikkan Randall's parents sat groggily in front of a pair of laptop computers in an East Anchorage condominium. Their daughter was seconds from starting a ski race 5,000 miles away, in a resort town in the Czech Republic. But their live stream of a Eurosport TV channel was showing ski jumping instead. "OK, come on," Kikkan's mother, said impatiently.

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After nine months of deliberation, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on Tuesday that it decided to uphold Estonian cross-country skier Andrus Veerpalu's appeal and overturned the three-year competition ban the International Ski Federation originally imposed on him in August of 2011 for testing positive for human growth hormone. The Panel cited lack of confidence in FIS's standard of proof.