WHISTLER, BC - (Jan. 19) - Seven Olympians, including World Cup winner Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and World Cup podium performers Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA), lead the way for the 13 person World Championship Team named Monday. U.S. Nordic Program Director John Farra announced the team following the final qualifying World Cups at the Whistler Olympic Park that ended Sunday.
The team will compete in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Feb. 19-March 1 in Liberec, Czech Republic.
"The athletes have been preparing for these World Championships as a main focus for the season," said Farra. "They are true fighters and I am very proud of the work they do to raise the level of U.S. cross country skiing."
Randall and Newell bring in the strongest results, both with top 10 sprint finishes this season. Newell was seventh in the pre-Olympic sprint this past weekend in Whistler, while Randall and Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) were fourth in the team sprint.
The freestyle technique individual sprints take place Feb. 25, with the classic technique team sprints Feb. 26. The techniques are reversed from what will be used at the 2010 Olympics.
It will be a first World Championships for the nordic skiing hotbed north of Prague. "Liberec seems to have decent snow, and they making more to ensure that the venue will be ready to host the world's best," Farra added.
The 2009 FIS Cross Country World Championships Team:
Chris Cook (6/15/80; Rhinelander, WI) * **
Kris Freeman (10/14/80; Andover, NH) * **
Torin Koos (7/19/80; Leavenworth, WA) * **
Garrott Kuzzy (11/26/82; Hayward, WI)
Andy Newell (11/30/84; Shaftsbury, VT) * **
James Southam (6/5/78; Anchorage) * **
Leif Zimmermann (10/3/86; Bozeman, MT) *
Morgan Arritola (5/13/86; Ketchum, ID)
Caitlin Compton (11/7/80; Minneapolis) **
Kikkan Randall (12/31/82; Anchorage) * **
Morgan Smyth (2/10/86; Vernon, VT)
Liz Stephen (1/12/87; East Montpelier, VT)
Laura Valaas (3/02/84; Wenatchee, WA) **
* Past Olympian
** Past World Championship Team member