my journal


  chronology of a dream

  the list

  reader polls

  training data



  a piece of my mind

  about this site

  rollerski series

comments, problems
  or suggestions:

  send me an email

  advanced search
Somewhere Between Obscurity and Oblivion
Go To Official Olympic Site

The Trail To Soldier Hollow, February 2002
A Who, When, Where, and How (we all know What and Why).

HOW will the Olympic team be chosen?
The following document is the US Ski Team's criteria for choosing the Cross Country Olympic Team.
2002 Cross Country Olympic Team Selection Criteria

WHEN are the Olympic Trials?
There is a US Ski Team Gold Cup at Soldier Hollow from December 28-30 and the winner of that pursuit race automatically makes the team. But other than World Cup races and the Gold Cup, which is more of a publicity stunt than anything else, there are no trials per se. Instead, all the USSA points races between January 21, 2001 and January 20, 2002 will be used to select the team. Therefore, the most important races are the Continental Cups and US Nationals.
Nor-Am Continental Cup Schedule: November 2001- January 2002
US Cross Country Nationals: Bozeman, MT January 5-13, 2002

WHO is going to make it?

Though the first spots will go to the Gold Cup winner and World Cup point scorers, most people's hopes lie with the National Ranking List. See how we all stack up right now:
Men's Olympic Qualifying List
Women's Olympic Qualifying List

Having said that, there are still a lot of politics involved. Here is how I evaluate things as of January 10:
The following people have clearly been the top skiers in the country over the past year and are skiing well right now. They will definitely be on the team.

Men Women

Justin Wadsworth (won Gold Cup)
Carl Swenson
Kris Freeman
Andrew Johnson

Nina Kemppel (won Gold Cup)
Wendy Wagner

Then there are the following athletes, all who have a legitmate claim, competing for the remaining spots:

Men Women

Torin Koos
Marcus Nash
Pat Weaver
John Bauer
Lars Flora
Justin Freeman
Dave Chamberlain

Aelin Peterson
Tessa Benoit
Kikkan Randall
Barb Jones
Melissa Oram

Lindsay Weier
Kristina Joder
Julie Southwell

Now of the people above who are "on the bubble," the most recent buzz is that they will take:
Men: Nash, Koos, Bauer
Women: Aelin, Tessa and Kikkan

Having raced against all these people for years, I think they should take:
Men: Bauer, Weaver, Lars Flora, and whoever wins the 50K classic.
Bauer has been the best skier in the country for the last month. Weaver has been consistently good for the past year. Lars proved at Nationals that he can ski both the sprints and the long distances. My guess is that most of the main guys will be focused on the earlier races. The 50K classic will be an afterthought and the US, as usual, probably won't even start 4 guys. So I say, take the Nationals winner and have them focus solely on the 50K during the games.
I don't think you take Marcus because he has been out most of the season with a shoulder injury. I don't think they should take a pure sprinter, like Koos, because the best sprinter in the country, Carl Swenson, is already on the team and can do longer races as well.
Women: Tessa, Kikkan, Aelin, Barb, Julie, Melissa

Kikkan is an excellent sprinter who is also very good in distance events. Ditto for Tessa and Aelin. Barb is one of the best distance skiers in the country and should start the 15K and 30K races. Melissa has quitely been posting top results all year and has had a great Nationals. She can race any of the distances well. The final spot is a classic matchup of youth vs. experience. Both Lindsey and Julie could fill this spot well. I chose to go with Julie because she is a master of long races and this team is short on long distance experience. I say take her specifically for the 15&30K.
I don't disagree with any of the likely US team's female choices, I just think they should take more people. At every recent World Championships and Olympics, by the end of a very hard week of racing, the racers are always tired and sick. I think that if you take a full team, you have more fresh legs for the later events, like relays and 30Ks, and reduce the effects that sickness can have on a team's results. The US can take up to eight skiers, so I say fill the team. If nothing else, skiers will get experience for the future.

WHERE is big show taking place?
Soldier Hollow, just outside Midway , Utah will be the site of the cross country events for the Olympics.
Soldier Hollow Olympic Info
Olympic Cross Country Schedule
Soldier Hollow Course Maps
Olympic Cross Country News
Photos From 2001 World Cup at Soldier Hollow
Soldier Hollow General Info
Soldier Hollow Current Weather Conditions (only in Winter)
My report from Soldier Hollow in August
Perhaps the ugliest, least useful picture of Soldier Hollow ever, but hey the technology they used to come up with it must have cost millions: 360 Degree View of Soldier Hollow

© 2003 Cory Smith. All Rights Reserved.