Sixteen X-C Skiers Named to U.S. Olympic Roster

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Park City, Utah Jan. 21, 2002 (USSA)--Sixteen cross country skiers, one of the largest U.S. team ever named--and including four-time Olympian Nina Kemppel (Anchorage, AK)--have been nominated to compete next month at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the U.S. Ski Team said Monday.

The skiers were chosen on the basis of international results, U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said. The group includes two skiers--newly crowned U.S. sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) and Lindsey Weier (St. Paul, MN)--who will be coming directly from the World Junior Championships later this week in Schonach, Germany.

Kemppel, the all-time U.S. record-holder with 18 national championships, is the first U.S. woman skier named to the Olympic Team four times in cross-country. None of the other women on the 2002 Olympic Team have raced at the Olympics although four of them--Randall, Wendy Wagner (Park City, UT), Tessa Benoit (South Pomfret, VT), and Barb Jones (Bozeman, MT)--have raced in the World Championships.

Justin Wadsworth (Bend, OR) and John Bauer (Duluth, MN) will be competing in their third Winter Games while Carl Swenson (Boulder, CO) and Patrick Weaver (Bend, OR) are going to their second Olympics.

The 2002 Olympic Cross Country Ski Team:

Men
Justin Wadsworth, 33, Bend, Ore. (1994, '98 Olympics)
John Bauer, 32, Duluth, Minn. (1992, '98 Olympics)
Patrick Weaver, 32, Bend, Ore., (1998 Olympics)
Carl Swenson, 31, Boulder, Colo. (1994 Olympics)
Torin Koos, 21, Leavenworth, Wash.
Kris Freeman, 21, Andover, N.H.
Andrew Johnson, 24, Greensboro, Vt.
Lars Flora, 24, Anchorage, Alaska

Women
Nina Kemppel, 31, Anchorage, Alaska (1992, '94, '98 Olympics)
Wendy Wagner, 28, Park City, Utah
Aelin Peterson, 26, Fairbanks, Alaska
Barb Jones, 25, Bozeman, Mont.
Kikkan Randall, 19, Anchorage, Alaska
Tessa Benoit, 24, South Pomfret, Vt.
Lindsey Weier, 17, St. Paul, Minn.
Kristina Joder, 23, Landgrove, Vt.

"This is an impressive mix of veteran skiers like Nina and Justin and the others, and some promising young racers like Andrew and Kris and Kikkan," Bodensteiner said. "They skied their way onto the Olympic Team and we're looking for our best results since 1976 when Bill Koch won his silver medal...and to use the Salt Lake City Olympics as a springboard toward even greater success in 2006 in Italy."