PRAGELATO, Italy (Feb. 22) - Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) all qualified for the cross country sprint finals. Newell qualified second with Cook 16th, while Randall was 10th. The top 30 times in qualifying make it to finals.
"I'm excited to make the finals," said Newell, "but it all comes down to the heats. I feel good. The heats will be exciting."
In the finals, however, Newell placed 16th and was the top American finisher in Wednesday's Olympic cross country sprint. Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) was 21st, Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) was 36th and Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK) was 46th.
Bjoern Lind of Sweden won the men's cross-country skiing sprint gold medal. Roddy Darragon of France was second and Sweden's Thobias Fredriksson took the bronze.
Newell had the best U.S. finish in over 20 years when he qualified for the final four, finishing fourth, in a World Cup in Oberstdorf, Germany in January. Cook was 12th in a World Cup sprint in Canada in December. Randall is a three-time U.S. sprint champion.