2006 US Olympic Cross-Country Ski Team: Star Studded

A star studded, 17 member American cross-country ski team will compete against other world class athletes at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games that kick off February 10th in and around Turin (Torino), Italy. The cross country ski competition runs from February 12th through the 26th at the Pragelato venue, which is about 45 miles outside the city. It features 12 events (six each in the men’s and women’s program) consisting of sprint, team sprint, individual start, pursuit, mass start and relay.

The U.S. Olympic cross-country ski team is comprised of ten men and seven women. Five of the men and three of the women were on the 2002 Olympic Team at the games in Salt Lake City. Kris Freeman and Carl Swenson headline the group.

Freeman has posted the best U.S. cross country skiing records since the Bill Koch era more than 20 years ago. The 25 year old Freeman was diagnosed with diabetes five years ago and the prognosis was that his elite athletic career was over. But, Freeman has learned to manage the disease by testing his blood sugar as often as 12 times a day. He injects himself with a fast-acting brand of insulin up to six times a day. Freeman won the first Under-23 championship in Italy in 2003. He finished fourth in the World Championships a couple of weeks later. Since then, Freeman has produced a pair of top-6 results.

It will be the third and final trip to the Olympics for Swenson who is a seven-year veteran of the American cross country team. Swenson plans to begin law school later this year and will retire from competitive skiing. Swenson anchored the men’s 2002 Olympic relay team, which finished a U.S.-record fifth place.

The roster for the 2006 U.S. Olympic Cross Country Ski Team, released on January 17th, includes ages, hometowns, and previous Olympic experience.

MEN

Chris Cook, 25, Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Justin Freeman, 29, Andover, New Hampshire
Kris Freeman, 25, Andover, New Hampshire (2002)
Lars Flora, 28, Anchorage, Alaska (2002)
Andrew Johnson, 28, Greensboro, Vermont. (2002)
Torin Koos, 25, Leavenworth, Washington (2002)
Andy Newell, 22, Shaftsbury, Vermont
James Southam, 27, Anchorage, Alaska
Carl Swenson, 35, Park City, Utah (1994, 2002)
Leif Zimmermann, 22, Bozeman, Montana

WOMEN

Rebecca Dussault, 25, Gunnison, Colorado
Sarah Konrad, 38, Laramie, Wyoming
Abigail Larson, 26, Bozeman, Montana
Kikkan Randall, 23, Anchorage, Alaska (2002)
Wendy Wagner, 32, Park City, Utah (2002)
Lindsey Weier, 21, Mahtomedi, Minnesota (2002)
Lindsay Williams, 21, Hastings, Minnesota

The United States will face some stiff competition at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games despite the team’s all-star lineup. Historically, the Scandinavian countries have dominated Olympic cross country skiing. The U.S. Olympic squad faltered four years ago in Salt Lake City. Norway and Italy took the lead in the 2002 Olympic cross country competition. Athletes from Germany, Sweden and Russia collected three Olympic medals in cross country skiing in 2002.

But the U.S. cross country team has a good chance to win in Turin. According to Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner, the American cross country team is a lot stronger than four years ago. Bodensteiner says the 2002 rookies from Salt Lake City have developed into real performers and the Olympic first-timers are poised for some very noteworthy results

MSNBC, CNBC and USA networks will televise the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino. The six-hour time difference between Italy and the U.S. East Coast will allow most of the evening events to air on daytime cable TV. However the cross country skiing competitions all begin in the morning or early afternoon Torino time.

2006 Olympic Cross-Country Skiing Schedule

Event Time (Torino)

February 12
Ladies’ 15 km Pursuit (7.5+7.5) 10:00
Men’s 30 km Pursuit (15+15) 13:45

February 14
Ladies’ Team Sprint Semifinal 1 10:00
Ladies’ Team Sprint Semifinal 2 10:20
Ladies’ Team Sprint Final 11:20
Men’s Team Sprint Semifinal 1 10:40
Men’s Team Sprint Semifinal 2 11:00
Men’s Team Sprint Final 11:42

February 16
Ladies’ 10 km Classical 10:00

February 17
Men’s 15 km Classical 10:00

February 18
Ladies’ 4×5 km Relay 09:45

February 19
Men’s 4×10 km Relay 10:00

February 22
Ladies’ Sprint Qualification 10:00
Ladies’ Sprint Quarterfinals 12:30
Ladies’ Sprint Quarterfinals Heat 4 12:45
Ladies’ Sprint Quarterfinals Heat 5 12:50
Ladies’ Sprint Semifinals 13:24
Ladies’ Sprint Semifinals Heat 1 13:24
Ladies’ Sprint Semifinals Heat 2 13:29
Ladies’ Sprint Finals 13:46
Ladies’ Sprint Final B 13:46
Ladies’ Sprint Final A 13:55

Men’s Sprint Qualification 10:30
Men’s Sprint Quarterfinals 12:57
Men’s Sprint Quarterfinals Heat 1 12:57
Men’s Sprint Quarterfinals Heat 2 13:02
Men’s Sprint Quarterfinals Heat 3 13:07
Men’s Sprint Quarterfinals Heat 4 13:12
Men’s Sprint Quarterfinals Heat 5 13:17
Men’s Sprint Semifinals 13:35
Men’s Sprint Semifinals Heat 1 13:35
Men’s Sprint Semifinals Heat 2 13:40
Men’s Sprint Finals 14:05
Men’s Sprint Final B 14:05
Men’s Sprint Final A 14:15

February 24
Ladies’ 30 km Free, Mass start 11:30

February 26
Men’s 50 km Free, Mass start 10:00

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