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USSA will name men, women to ski jumping team for the first time

USSA will name men, women to ski jumping team for the first time{mosimage}The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, on the heels of an International Ski Federation decision adding women’s ski jumping to the 2009 World Championships, will name men and women to its U.S. ski jumping team for the first time with the 2007 season.

In addition, USSA is partnering with the Park City-based National Sports Foundation to provide head coaches for each team.

U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said five women and two men were nominated to the jumping squad. Formal naming of the ski team is expected to take place during the summer, he said. On the coaching side, Casey Colby will be named women’s coach and Mike Keuler men’s coach. Both men are Olympic ski jumpers and current coaches for NSF. Colby has been the women’s coach for the past several seasons, while Keuler — a 1998 Olympic teammate of Colby — has worked with the U.S. men regularly during training at the Utah Olympic Park.

At its recent biennial convention in Vilamoura, Portugal, FIS delegates voted to add women’s jumping to the 2009 World Nordic Ski Championships — an obligatory step before inclusion in the Olympics. Officials of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics must accept women’s jumping and then seek International Olympic Committee approval.

The ski team has implemented a new process this year for naming athletes to its various teams, Bodensteiner said, adding that it was a privilege, not an athlete’s right, to be named to the ski team. In naming an athlete to any team, USSA wants to ensure each athlete is committed to U.S. Ski Team standards, including both athletic training and competition programs as well as team values, he said.

Team staff will work individually with nominated athletes to provide education on team responsibilities and program leading to formal team announcement this summer.

— USSA

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