Cross Country World Championships Criteria
The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships will be held February 20 through March 3, 2019, in Seefeld, Austria.
For Cross Country World Championships Criteria, please refer to the Resources section.
We are pleased to introduce our 2019 World Championships selection criteria. This criteria is the creation of a 14-person working group that includes 9 of our top club coaches, a U.S. Ski & Snowboard athlete representative, and 4 U.S. Ski Team coaches. After the working group’s completion of the criteria, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Cross Country Sport Committee has also reviewed, questioned, and added to the document before voting to approve the criteria.
The goal of the criteria is to make sure that the USA has the fastest athletes with the best potential for medals and additional top finishes toeing the line in Seefeld, AUT this coming February. As always, our challenge remains how to most effectively select athletes from two separate and simultaneous competition series: the World Cup in Europe and the SuperTour in North America. We feel that these criteria provide the best solutions for selecting these athletes, and I am grateful for the contributions of so many athletes, coaches, and sport leaders in this extensive process.
Here are some of the important new features of this criteria:
- The World Cup distance selection will close on January 5, 2019 and will not include the Final Climb Tour de Ski stage.
- Language has been added to strengthen the 5-sprinter-max rule; specifically, a World Cup athlete that qualifies for WSC via both the distance and sprint World Cup standings counts towards the cap of 5 sprinters per sex.
- The selection of athletes from SuperTour is now considered as part of Phase 2 Discretionary Selection. This is perhaps the most significant change in the criteria. The idea behind this change is to allow the staff and the discretionary selection review group to select athletes from domestic competition via “pools” (i.e. distance men, sprint men, distance women, sprint women) as needed to fill specific starts at the World Championships.
- We have included language concerning approximate World Championships team size (i.e. 16 men and women total). This language is intended to let the community know that we plan on filling our starts with the best possible athletes at the Championships and that we do not plan on selecting athletes that will not start. We are not limited to selecting 16 athletes; the team could be smaller or bigger. We simply want the community to understand that the focus of the USA team at the Championships will be excellence, including bringing home medals.
- We have also included language concerning discretionary athlete selections that focus on athletes with a world rank of 120 or better. Again, this language is intended to alert the community as to the caliber of athletes who we believe are prepared to be successful at the event, but it does not prevent us from selecting athletes with a world rank of greater than 120 who are clearly skiing fast and are needed to fill starts.
- We have created a mechanism by which athletes may petition directly to the Selection Committee to be considered for discretionary selection.
- We have also outlined appeal and grievance procedures and added the direct contact of the USOC athlete ombudsman.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be further discussing these criteria, as well as the recently published 2019-20 U.S. Ski Team criteria, in a possible podcast or article on FasterSkier. Our hope is to effectively communicate all of the aspects of these new criteria with the community, to explain the rationale behind changes and to answer any questions. In the meantime, if there are athletes, coaches, or parents with questions or concerns about this or any other criteria, please feel free to contact me directly.
Head Coach, U.S. Cross Country Ski Team