U.S. Cross Country Team Criteria
The top athletes in the United States are named each year to the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team. Nominations to the team come from objective selection criteria based on international rankings and head-to-head competition.
For U.S. Cross Country Team Criteria, please refer to the Resources section.
We are excited to announce a new U.S. Ski Team selection criteria for the 2019-20 season. The intent of the criteria is unchanged from past criteria: to identify those athletes who have the potential to win medals at the Winter Olympic Games and the World Championships.
The new criteria are much more detailed than those that we have been using for the past years; they are primarily based on world rank (WR). The USST staff has spent much of the past year examining data from major championship medalists over the past decade, and have found that world rank is often the best indicator of who is on the path towards a future medal. As you’ll see, these criteria create many objective pathways to a USST nomination and identify a clear path for athletes, coaches, and parents to understand exactly what is necessary to be nominated to the USST.
A couple of main points about these criteria:
- The D-Team has informally been a U-23 Team for years, but this formalizes it. If an athlete is a last-year U23, they must qualify for the B-Team for the following season.
- We’ve dramatically expanded the standard for a direct performance nomination to the USST by Juniors and U23s, from a top-3 individual finish to a top-10 individual finish.
- We’ve tightened the A-Team standard from top-30 to top-15 in the Red Groups to finally mirror the changes made to funding levels in the Red Groups by the FIS several years ago. Only the top-15 receives Red Group support these days.
- Another change you’ll see is the inclusion of age-weighted criteria. This takes some of the guesswork out of deciding who is in a position to succeed at the World Cup level right now vs. younger athletes with strong potential.
I’m confident that these new criteria will help us do a better job of identifying those athletes with the potential to medal while creating better transparency around the U.S. Ski Team nomination process.
If someone has a question or concern about these criteria, please feel free to reach out to me directly.
Cross Country Head Coach