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Freeman earns USA TODAY weekly award with strong cross-country result

Fri, Dec  4, 2009 - By Dan Friedell, USA TODAY

Every once in a while our panel comes across an Olympic athlete who records an "against-the-odds" result which carries some extra weight. Whether its placing well in an event after recovering from an injury or a young athlete who posts a breakout performance at the senior level, the sentimental favorite might overcome a veteran athlete's strong result. Well, in the case of cross-country skier Kris Freeman, there's no sentiment to this decision, even though there could be.

Freeman, who said he skied the best 15-kilometer race of his career on Sunday in Finland en route to a fourth-place World Cup finish, had the best result of any American athlete competing at his or her sport's top level over the last week. For his effort, he earned this week's USA TODAY Olympic Athlete of the Week award with a unanimous vote by our panel.

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