US nominates Winter Youth Olympic Team
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) nominated 15 young athletes to the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) for the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games following the final qualifier for nordic combined and ski jumping at the Flaming Leaves Festival in the Olympic village of Lake Placid. The inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games is slated for Jan. 13-22 in Innsbruck, Austria.
The Winter Youth Olympic Games is an international multi-sport event held under the authority of the International Olympic Committee that will take place every four years, consistent with the current format of the Olympic Winter Games.
The 15 young athletes between the ages of 15-18 will be among 1,057 athletes from 80 countries competing in alpine skiing, halfpipe skiing and snowboarding, slopestyle snowboarding, skicross, cross country, ski jumping and nordic combined.
"The Winter Youth Olympic Games will provide these young athletes an opportunity to experience the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect," said USSA Executive Vice President Athletics Luke Bodensteiner. "Their ability to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games is a testament to the outstanding club programs and their ability to create an environment of athletic success."
Athletes qualified through results in high level competitions held during the 2011 season such as the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, Revolution Tour and World Junior Championships. The ski jumping and nordic combined competitions during the Oct. 8-9 Flaming Leaves Festival in Lake Placid determined the final nordic qualifiers.
The USOC will send a team of more than 60 athletes to represent the U.S. in Innsbruck across 15 sports and 63 events. The Winter Youth Olympic Games follow the success of the first Summer Youth Olympic Games held in August 2010 in Singapore.
2012 U.S. Winter Youth Olympic Team
(Name, Hometown, Club, Date of Birth)
Alex Leever (Vail, CO, Ski&Snowboard Club Vail, 07/6/95)
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO, Burke Mountain Academy, 03/13/95)
Patrick Caldwell (Lyme Center, NH, Stratton Mountain School 2/18/94)
Heather Mooney (Peru, VT, Middlebury College Ski Team, 2/27/94)
Ben Berend (Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, 6/29/95)
Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, CO, Ski&Snowboard Club Vail, 4/12/96)
Jeanne Crane-Mauzy (Waterville Valley, NH, Axis Freeride, 6/5/96)
Grant Ketels (Reno, NV, Olympic Valley Freeride and Freestyle Team, 11/28/95)
Lesley Wilson (Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club 08/02/96)
Emilee Anderson (Eau Claire, WI, Flying Eagles Ski Club, 12/13/95)
A.J. Brown (Fox River Grove, IL, Norge Ski Club, 02/28/95)
Ben Ferguson (Bend, OR, U.S. Snowboarding, 1/21/95)
Arielle Gold (Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, 05/04/96)
Max Raymer (Park City, UT, Park City Snowboard Team, 08/24/95)
Indigo Monk (Manhattan Beach, CA, Breckenridge Resort, 01/5/95)
For more information about the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics, go to www.innsbruck2012.com.
Image: Ski jumpers A.J. Brown (Fox River Grove, IL) and Emilee Anderson (Eau Claire, WI) with Yoggl after being nominated to the first ever Winter Youth Olympics Team at the Flaming Leaves Festival in Lake Placid, NY (ORDA)