U.S. Olympic Cross Country Skiing Team Announced
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Friday (January 26) announced its selections for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Cross Country Skiing Team that will compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 beginning February 9.
A team of veteran U.S. cross country skiers with proven results led by Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.), Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) and Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) will head to the Games in PyeongChang with a strong opportunity for success. Diggins is presently ranked third in the world, with Bjornsen seventh.
The selections will be confirmed by the United States Olympic Committee when it formally names Team USA today (January 26).
Among those named is Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska), who will be competing in her fifth Games – the most ever for a U.S. cross country skier.
"It’s such an incredible honor to be joining another U.S. Olympic Team," said Randall. "Being able to represent my country on the world’s biggest stage is always a big highlight that I look forward to every four years. I am especially excited about this team going into 2018 as the strongest cross country contingent I’ve ever been a part of."
The team includes 20 athletes who qualified for the team through World Cup results as well as domestic racing results at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships.
"The U.S. Ski Team is headed to PyeongChang with one of the most talented and decorated Olympic Teams of all time,” said Cross Country Head Coach Chris Grover. "Never in our history have we fielded a team with so many podium-proven World Cup and World Championship athletes. We also have incredible momentum in this Olympic season with 10 World Cup podiums secured by early January. These USA Olympians have prepared extremely well for PyeongChang and are looking to rewrite U.S. cross country skiing history."
The Opening Ceremonies for the Games are set for February 9. The cross country team will have its first competition on Saturday, February 10 with the women's skiathlon - a blend of classic and freestyle technique. Diggins will be among contenders in that event.
NBCUniversal will present more than 2,400 hours of coverage across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, NBCOlympics.com, and the NBC Sports app - the most ever for a Winter Olympics.
- The U.S. women will come into the Games on the heels of a strong season in sprint and distance racing, as well as classical and freestyle technique.
- Jessie Diggins presently stands third in the FIS World Cup overall rankings with Sadie Bjornsen seventh.
- Sophie Caldwell is third in the FIS World Cup sprint rankings with Diggins sixth. Diggins stands fifth in distance with Bjornsen 11th.
- Kikkan Randall will compete in her fifth Olympics, the most ever for a U.S. cross country skier. Andy Newell will make his fourth Olympic appearance, matching the U.S. mark held by Bill Koch, Torin Koos and Nina Kemppel.
- Newell and Simi Hamilton will lead the USA in sprint events for the men, with Erik Bjornsen the top contender in distance racing.
- The U.S. women are expected to be contenders for a medal in the 4x5k relay. The women have been fourth in the last three World Championships.
- America's only cross country Olympic medal was won by Bill Koch when he took silver in the 30k race at the 1976 Olympics in Seefeld, Austria.
- Cross country has one of the largest Olympic programs with five events each for men and women.
- The team features three sibling pairs - Erik and Sadie Bjornsen, Scott and Caitlin Patterson, and Logan and Reese Hanneman, plus a pair of cousins in Sophie and Patrick (Paddy) Caldwell.
- The U.S. team will compete this weekend in Seefeld, site of next year's World Championships.
2018 U.S. OLYMPIC CROSS COUNTRY SKIING TEAM
- Sadie Bjornsen, Winthrop, Wash. (11/21/1989) *
- Rosie Brennan, Park City, Utah (12/02/1988)
- Sophie Caldwell, Peru, Vt. (3/22/1990) *
- Jessie Diggins, Afton, Minn. (8/26/1991) *
- Rosie Frankowski, Anchorage, Alaska (7/30/1991)
- Anne Hart, Stillwater, Minn. (8/20/1992)**
- Kaitlynn Miller, Craftsbury Common, Vt. (8/09/1991)
- Caitlin Patterson, Anchorage, Alaska (1/30/1990)
- Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, Alaska (12/31/1982) *
- Ida Sargent, Orleans, VT (1/25/1988) *
- Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT (1/12/1987) *
- Erik Bjornsen, Winthrop, Wash. (7/14/1991) *
- Patrick Caldwell, Lyme Center, N.H. (2/18/1994)**
- Simi Hamilton, Aspen, Colo., (5/14/1987) *
- Logan Hanneman, Fairbanks, Alaska (6/02/1993)
- Reese Hanneman, Anchorage, Alaska (12/25/1989)
- Noah Hoffman, Aspen, Colo. (8/01/1989) * **
- Tyler Kornfield, Anchorage, Alaska (2/09/1991)**
- Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, Vt. (11/30/1983) *
- Scott Patterson, Anchorage, Alaska (1/28/1992)
* Competed in past Olympics
** Selected via Coach Discretion
Cross Country Staff
Chris Grover, Cross Country Head Coach
Matt Whitcomb, Cross Country Coach
Jason Cork, Cross Country Coach
Oleg Ragilo, Head of Service
Jean-Pascal Laurin, Service Team
Marek Sander, Service Team
Andrew Morehouse, Service Team
Tim Baucom, Service Team
Eli Brown, Volunteer tech
Patrick Moore, Volunteer tech
Erik Flora, Volunteer coach and tech
Dr. Larry Gaul, Physician
Zuzana Rogers, Volunteer physical therapist
Steph McKeen, Volunteer massage therapist
Robert Lazzaroni, Cross country director
Chris Grover, Cross Country Head Coach
The U.S. Ski Team is headed to PyeongChang with one of the most talented and decorated Olympic Teams of all time. Never in our history have we fielded a team with so many podium-proven World Cup and World Championship athletes. We also have incredible momentum in this Olympic season with 10 World Cup podiums secured by early January. These USA Olympians have prepared extremely well for PyeongChang and are looking to rewrite U.S. cross country skiing history.
We are heading into the Games with the strongest team we’ve ever had and I’m so proud of this team for all the hard work that has gone into making the Games. I’m really happy and excited to be representing Team USA again in South Korea!
Five Olympics, wow! It’s such an incredible honor to be joining another U.S. Olympic Team. Being able to represent my country on the world’s biggest stage is always a big highlight that I look forward to every four years. I am especially excited about this team going into 2018 as the strongest cross country contingent I’ve ever been a part of. We have the potential for some great individual performances from multiple members of the team and I know we’re all really looking forward to being contenders in the relay events.
It is a pretty unique and amazing experience to have my brother beside me. Erik and I have been working beside each other since we were young kids racing each other to the finish line. The Olympics were just a dream for us for so long and here we are in a whole new dream as we are headed to the Games with goals of winning Olympic medals! An enormous thank you to our family, friends, coaches, teams, sponsors and our community for helping us get to this point!
Our entire team has been racing at a higher level than normal so far this season, and I am so excited to see what we can put together for the big show. I know we are capable, now it is just a matter of putting those perfect days together. Let's see what this incredible Team USA can do!
There is no other skiing event that compares to the Olympics. It’s hard to describe how amazing it is to be a part of the team. After placing fifth in the team sprint in Sochi, I’m headed to PyeongChang to fight for a medal. It’s also very exciting to know my sister has a shot at a medal. I’m looking forward to watching her achieve a life-long dream.
My fourth Olympic Games will be a memorable moment. I'm proud to have had such longevity competing in the sport I love but mostly proud of how far we have come as a team since my first Games in 2006. I will be beyond stoked to pull on the red, white, and blue uniform one more time and share in the collective energy and ambition our tightly knit cross-country crew will bring to PyeongChang.