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2022 Olympics

Nordic Nation: Cross-Country Program Director Chris Grover on Looking Back and Planning Ahead 

I think we can all agree that the last two years have been a wild ride. For those at the helm of the cross-country program at U.S. Ski & Snowboard, added layers of COVID safety precautions and expensive testing have increased the otherwise mounting demands of preparing for an Olympic Games. There have been numerous domestic and international competitions canceled, including a full season of SuperTour racing in 2020/2021, numerous World Cups canceled, and three...

Nordic Nation: Jessie Diggins — Eating Disorder Awareness, Media, and Why What to Say Matters

It’s likely that today’s guest needs no introduction. Over the last decade, she has steadily worked to become the most decorated American cross country skier in history. As she gained more recognition beyond the niche of cross country skiing, she began to use her platform to become an advocate for causes she felt passionately about, opening up about her own experience struggling with an eating disorder and working hard at recovery through the Emily Program,...

China spent millions on cross-country skiing in the leadup to Beijing. What happens now?

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA — A month ago, I met with a source close to the Chinese government in a tiny room in this mountain resort outside Beijing, which hosted the 2022 Olympic cross-country skiing events.  There, the source explained how a decision by international skiing officials to disqualify a Chinese cross-country skier from a race was like killing a baby. China does not have, exactly, a long tradition of success in winter sports like cross-country skiing. But...

David Norris: Missing out on 2022 Olympic Team selection, “making the best of it”, and what’s to come.

It’s hard not to root for David Norris.  Often affectionately described by Devon Kershaw as a “grinder”, the humble 31-year-old Fairbanks, AK native has been an eternal underdog, despite consistently performing among the best American distance racers of his generation on the World Cup. Highlighting his career, Norris has finished in the top-20 three times during his appearances in the 2019 and 2021 World Championships. His best result arrived in last year’s Championships in Oberstdorf,...

Nordic Nation: Inside the booth with Chad Salmela and Kikkan Randall, NBC’s Olympic cross country ski analysts

In this episode, we’ve got Chad Salmela and Kikkan Randall on to discuss the experience of calling the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, live from a booth in Stamford, CT. The duo worked as cross country analysts, alongside long-time NBC play-by-play announcer Steve Schlanger. While Chad is a veteran in the role, this was Kikkan’s first Olympics inside the booth. During the call, Kikkan and Chad field a variety of questions on their experience –...

Hailey Swirbul writes “honest” blog post on Olympic experience

Intertwined with historic medal-winning races, tales of adversity overcome, and athletes with whom fans become enamored once every four years, the Olympics also brings about stories of defeat, the complexities of human emotion, and the simple humanity of the athletes competing at the Games, who are often glorified solely on the grounds of their seemingly inhuman capacities and accomplishments. While stars like Simone Biles and Mikaela Shiffrin remind us that extreme pressure to perform does...

Inside the hardest race of Diggins’ life: a unique post-30 k interview with FasterSkier in Zhangjiakou

On February 20th, Jessie Diggins made Olympic history yet again, taking second in the 30 k mass start skate to round out the colors of her medal collection. Gold in the freestyle team sprint in 2018, silver in the 30 k skate, and bronze in the individual skate sprint. Now thirty years old, Diggins is the most successful American cross country skier in Olympic history. She has spent over a decade rising to the top...

“So close, yet so far”: This international Olympic Covid romance is a story for our times

U.S. cross-country skier Kevin Bolger and Swedish racer Maja Dahlqvist met during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus kept them six feet apart during the Olympics — except one celebratory hug. ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA — American Olympic cross-country skier Kevin Bolger grew up in Wisconsin. His girlfriend, Olympian Maja Dahlqvist, is from Sweden. During the Olympics, in China, they got to spend a couple of weeks in the same place. Among their options for dates: • Go cross-country...

Sophia Laukli was crushing her Olympic debut. Then she went the wrong way. She still finished 15th.

It had been more than a month since Sophia Laukli last wore a race bib. Her last competitions took place on January 15th and 16th during the 2022 Sun Valley Nordic Invitational, where she was second to Rosie Brennan in the 5 k individual start skate, racing at altitude on a tough course. Eleven days prior, she was the fifth woman, and the first American, to the top of the Alpe Cermis in Val di...

Alaska physical therapist is one of USST’s secret weapons in Beijing

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA — Just about everyone involved with the U.S. Ski Team has a story about physiotherapist Zuzana Rogers fixing some weird corner of their body. “I had a dislocated cuboid bone, and she diagnosed it over Skype and essentially talked me through repositioning it, and I was better,” said Holly Brooks, the retired Olympic cross-country skier from Alaska. “It was insane.” Eli Brown, one of the team’s ski technicians, thought he had an Achilles...

Rosie Brennan won’t take home medals from Beijing. She still helped change U.S. cross-country skiing.

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA — Jessie Diggins’ silver medal, the best-ever individual Olympic finish by an American woman, is what most people will remember from Sunday’s Games-ending cross-country ski race. Here’s why you should remember Rosie Brennan, too. Brennan, 33, may lack Diggins’ magazine covers and national endorsement deals. But she performed at ever-so-close to the same level in Beijing, and came heartbreakingly close to the medals. First, there was Brennan’s fourth place in the Games-opening individual...

“Chill with the judging”: Jessie Diggins has a message for Mikaela Shiffrin’s trolls

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA — American alpine racing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin struggled at the Olympics, failing to bring home any medals. Last week, she posted a message to social media broadcasting some of the hateful criticism she’d received during the Games, telling her audience that “there will always be turkeys” and that it’s “not the end of the world to fail.” Cross-country star Jessie Diggins, after winning a silver in her final race of the Games —...

The Devon Kershaw Show: They only raced half a 50k. We’ve still got a full podcast.

This isn’t a spoiler, even if it spoiled some of the glory Saturday: Organizers shortened the Olympic men’s 50 k to a 28 k skate. People were mad; the athletes still raced and delivered a good show. We’ve got our own show here, featuring guest star Kris Freeman, the retired American Olympian. Alaska’s Scott Patterson threw down the best Olympic result for a U.S. man in nearly a half-century, too. We break that down, plus...

Bolshunov collects third gold medal while Krüger rebounds to bronze post-COVID; Patterson historic 8th place for USA

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award.  To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com. There were a number of stories to unpack during the men’s 50-kilometer mass start free, which was changed last minute to 28 k due to extreme weather conditions in Zhangjiakou....

(Press Release) Deedra Irwin 23rd in Beijing Mass Start

BEIJING, China (Feb. 18, 2022) – Competing in the first mass start of her career on the Olympic stage, Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, Wis./ National Guard Biathlon & USBA) went toe-to-toe with the world’s best biathletes to finish 23rd in the elite field of 30 on Friday as the Beijing 2022 Winter Games’ biathlon competition came to a close at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Center. Irwin was 3 minutes, 24.1 seconds back with six penalties. “This has just been...

Race Suits of the Olympic Games: Men’s Relay Edition

FasterSkier previously surveyed the national-team uniforms from last year’s World Cup fashion season, starting with more traditional nordic powers (Norway, Russia, et al.) but also taking a look at some more outré ski countries (Brazil, Nigeria, Thailand). We didn’t run a comparable article at the start of this season, as there was relatively little change in most nations’ World Cup kit from last year to this year. But when the Olympics arrive, however, all bets...

Cyr and Ritchie faked it til they made it – to the best classic team sprint finish in Canadian men’s history

During the opening weekend of World Cup racing in Ruka, FIN back in November 2021, Canada’s Antoine (Tony) Cyr popped an 11th place finish in the first distance race – a tough 15-kilometre classic won by Finland’s Iivo Niskanen, now a gold medalist in the event.  After the race, Cyr wrote to FasterSkier that the course had suited him with its long uphills and frigiddig conditions; temperatures were near zero degrees Fahrenheit ( -17 C)....

The Devon Kershaw Show: Team sprint showdown in Zhangjiakou

Wednesday’s Olympic team sprint offered another thrilling set of races at the venue in Zhangjiakou — we’re back to break down an epic performance by the German women, a critic-silencing race from Norway in the men’s event and a U.S. women’s result that left a medal just out of reach. Thanks to everyone for sending in questions and feedback — we’re trying to keep our heads above water on the homestretch here, but you can...

Testing agency says Ukrainian Olympic cross country skier tested positive for steroid, stimulant

A back-of-the-pack women’s skier competing for Ukraine at the Beijing Olympics has tested positive for banned drugs, according to the agency that’s overseeing testing at the Games. Valentyna Kaminska tested positive for a banned steroid and stimulants on the day she finished 79th in the 10-kilometer classic event, the International Testing Agency said in a statement Wednesday. Kaminska has been provisionally suspended until the case is resolved and is banned from participating in further Olympic...

Germany outsprints Sweden and the ROC for gold and a second team medal; Brennan and Diggins fifth for USA

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award.  To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com. The team sprint: two skiers racing three laps each at roughly 1.5-kilometers a piece with a long climb thrown into the middle of the course and temperatures in the single...