FILE UNDER -- Nordic

Freeman, Swenson lead 17 U.S. cross-country athletes on Torino team

Freeman, Swenson lead 17 U.S. cross-country athletes on Torino team{mosimage}PARK CITY, Utah – Kris Freeman, who has posted the best U.S. cross-country skiing results since the Bill Koch era two decades ago, and three-time Olympian Carl Swenson headline a group of 17 cross-country skiers named Tuesday to the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team.

Bill Marolt, president and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding, said the team will include 10 men and seven women. Five of the men and three of the women were on the 2002 Olympic team. All Olympic nominations submitted by the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding are subject to the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Freeman, a diabetic who self-injects insulin six or eight times a day, is a former University of Vermont skier who won the first Under-23 championship in Italy in 2003, finished fourth in the World Championships two weeks later, and since then has produced a pair of top-six results. Swenson, a Dartmouth College graduate, anchored the men’s relay team, which finished a U.S.-record fifth at the 2002 Olympics and was fifth a year later in the 50 km freestyle race at the World Championships.

The 2006 U.S. Olympic Cross Country Team (previous Olympic experience included)

Chris Cook, 25, Rhinelander, Wis.
Justin Freeman, 29, Andover, N.H.
Kris Freeman, 25, Andover, N.H. (2002)
Lars Flora, 28, Anchorage, Alaska (2002)
Andrew Johnson, 28, Greensboro, Vt. (2002)
Torin Koos, 25, Leavenworth, Wash. (2002)
Andy Newell, 22, Shaftsbury, Vt.
James Southam, 27, Anchorage, Alaska
Carl Swenson, 35, Park City, Utah (1994, 2002)
Leif Zimmermann, 22, Bozeman, Mont.

Rebecca Dussault, 25, Gunnison, Colo.
Sarah Konrad, 38, Laramie, Wyo.
Abigail Larson, 32, Bozeman, Mont.
Kikkan Randall, 23, Anchorage, Alaska (2002)
Wendy Wagner, 32, Park City, Utah (2002)
Lindsey Weier, 21, Mahtomedi, Minn. (2002)
Lindsay Williams, 21, Hastings, Minn.

“This is a strong team, even stronger than we had four years ago,” U.S. nordic director Luke Bodensteiner said. “Those who were rookies in Salt Lake have developed into real performers now, and our first-timers in 2006 are poised for some very noteworthy results themselves, which we can continue to build from.

“We had a great group of Americans who did not make the team, but who poured their guts out in their effort to earn a spot. They really pushed each other over the last 12 months and by doing so, raised the level of all our skiers.”

– Courtesy USSA News Bureau

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