Nordic combined, cross country teams are led by veterans
Alik Keplicz, AP
PARK CITY – Two-time World Cup spring champion Kikkan Randall leads one of the strongest U.S. Cross Country teams in history.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association nominated 14 athletes, including Randall, a four-time Olympian, and Jessie Diggins, who, as a team, are the reigning world champions.
“We have a unique opportunity to make history in Sochi,” said U.S. Cross Country head coach Chris Grover. “Our team speaks to years of dedication, experience and hard work with veterans setting the stage to turn that work into great results. Additionally, our younger athletes are fighting for results and have shown that they have earned their spots on this team. We're ready for the challenge ahead.”
The women’s cross country team nominations include Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), Holly Brooks (Anchorage, Alaska), Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.), Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.), Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska), Ida Sargent (Orleans, Vt.) and Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, Vt.).
Men nominated to the team include Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), Kris Freeman (Concord, N.H.), Brian Gregg (Minneapolis, Minn.), Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.), Noah Hoffman (Aspen, Colo.), Torin Koos (Leavenworth, Wash.) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.). Koos skied for the University of Utah.
The Nordic Combined team was also announced Wednesday morning, and two of the four men who won the first U.S. Olympic medals in the sport will represent their country again in Sochi, Russia. Todd Lodwick secured a spot on his sixth Olympic team by winning the team selection race in Park City Dec. 28.
Olympic gold medalist Billy Demong and brothers Bryan Fletcher and Taylor Fletcher, both first-time Olympians were named as the other three members of the team.
“This team is a perfect mixture of Olympic veterans and young talent,” said Nordic Combined head coach Dave Jarrett. “Demong and Lodwick have proven Olympic results that have set the bar high for the next generation to follow. The rest of the team is rising to the challenge with international results to back them up. The team is well prepared for Sochi and we're ready to compete.”
By Wednesday afternoon, USSA had nominated 68 athletes for the 2014 Winter Olympics. All U.S. team nominations must be approved by the USOC and will be finalized Jan. 27.
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