Nordic Worlds: Championships kick off with women’s 10k


Competition at the 2009 FIS Nordic Ski World Championships got underway today in Liberec, Czech Republic. The twelve-day event (Feb. 18-March 1) gathers the world’s elite cross country skiers, ski jumpers and nordic combined skiers to crown the best of the best.

Aino-Kaisa Saarinen of Finland won the first event – a women’s 10k classic – with a time of 28:12.8. Italy’s Marianna Longa was five seconds behind in second, followed by Poland’s Juatyna Kowalczyk, 12 seconds off the pace in third.

Kikkan Randall led the U.S., finishing 26th. “This race wasn’t a key race for any of our women and they did really well – as well as we hoped they would do,” U.S. cross country head coach Pete Vordenberg said. “It was a really good start, especially for Kikkan. It’s a great sign for her fitness for the races that are coming up, which are her key races.”

Now that his athletes’ feet are wet, Vordenberg looks to the remaining competition for them to really sink their teeth in. “For Kikkan, we are looking for a podium [in Tuesday's sprint], for sure,” Vordenberg said. “For Arritola this is her first World Championships, so I think something inside the top 30 is definitely a possibility. Just getting her really good experience at her first World Championships is super important.”

“The confidence is really high. Everyone is in a good mood and really looking forward to the races coming up,” Vordenberg said. “It’s been fun so far and I think it bodes well for what’s coming up and what we’ve prepared for as a team.”

As many as 635 athletes from 62 nations will compete in the championships, which, for many nations, acts as measuring stick for next year’s Olympic Games.

The U.S. squad of 25 athletes features favorites like nordic combined skier Bill Demong, who has two World Cup wins this season, and cross country threats Andy Newell, Kikkan Randall and Kris Freeman. 

“The athletes have been preparing for these World Championships as a main focus for the season,” said USSA nordic director John Farra.

These championships also mark the first time women’s ski jumping will be a part of the event. The decision to add the women’s normal hill contest was made by FIS Congress delegates in 2006.

“I’m trying not to think about it at all, but it’s hard. There’s lots of media attention on it now, so it’s on my mind,” said U.S. jumper Lindsey Van. “I want the sport to take a step in the right direction and move forward. I also want to enjoy myself and jump far.”

The World Championships continue tomorrow with a men’s 15K. Keep an eye on UniversalSports.com for daily highlights from Liberec.

For a complete schedule and results click here.

U.S. Nordic World Ski Championships Teams

Nordic Combined
Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY)
Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Eric Camerota (Park City, UT)
Brett Camerota (Park City, UT)
Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO)

Cross Country
Men
Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI)
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH)
Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA)
Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI)
Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT)
James Southam (Anchorage)
Leif Zimmermann (Bozeman, MT)

Women
Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID)
Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis)
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage)
Morgan Smyth (Vernon, VT)
Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT)
Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA)

Ski Jumping
Men
Nick Fairall, Andover, NH
Anders Johnson, Park City, UT

Women
Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, UT
Lindsey Van, Park City, UT
Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT
Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT


Competition at the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships got underway today in Liberec, Czech Republic. The twelve-day event (Feb. 18-March 1) gathers the world’s elite cross country skiers, ski jumpers and nordic combined skiers to crown the best of the best.

Aino-Kaisa Saarinen of Finland won the first event – a women’s 10k classic – with a time of 28:12.8. Italy’s Marianna Longa was five seconds behind in second, followed by Poland’s Juatyna Kowalczyk, 12 seconds off the pace in third.

Kikkan Randall led the U.S., finishing 26th. “This race wasn’t a key race for any of our women and they did really well – as well as we hoped they would do,” U.S. cross country head coach Pete Vordenberg said. “It was a really good start, especially for Kikkan. It’s a great sign for her fitness for the races that are coming up, which are her key races.”

Now that his athletes’ feet are wet, Vordenberg looks to the remaining competition for them to really sink their teeth in. “For Kikkan, we are looking for a podium [in Tuesday's sprint], for sure,” Vordenberg said. “For Arritola this is her first World Championships, so I think something inside the top 30 is definitely a possibility. Just getting her really good experience at her first World Championships is super important.”

“The confidence is really high. Everyone is in a good mood and really looking forward to the races coming up,” Vordenberg said. “It’s been fun so far and I think it bodes well for what’s coming up and what we’ve prepared for as a team.”

As many as 635 athletes from 62 nations will compete in the championships, which, for many nations, acts as measuring stick for next year’s Olympic Games.

The U.S. squad of 25 athletes features favorites like nordic combined skier Bill Demong, who has two World Cup wins this season, and cross country threats Andy Newell, Kikkan Randall and Kris Freeman. 

“The athletes have been preparing for these World Championships as a main focus for the season,” said USSA nordic director John Farra.

These championships also mark the first time women’s ski jumping will be a part of the event. The decision to add the women’s normal hill contest was made by FIS Congress delegates in 2006.

“I’m trying not to think about it at all, but it’s hard. There’s lots of media attention on it now, so it’s on my mind,” said U.S. jumper Lindsey Van. “I want the sport to take a step in the right direction and move forward. I also want to enjoy myself and jump far.”

The World Championships continue tomorrow with a men’s 15K. Keep an eye on UniversalSports.com for daily highlights from Liberec.

For a complete schedule and results click here.

U.S. Nordic World Ski Championships Teams

Nordic Combined
Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY)
Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Eric Camerota (Park City, UT)
Brett Camerota (Park City, UT)
Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO)

Cross Country
Men
Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI)
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH)
Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA)
Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI)
Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT)
James Southam (Anchorage)
Leif Zimmermann (Bozeman, MT)

Women
Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID)
Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis)
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage)
Morgan Smyth (Vernon, VT)
Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT)
Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA)

Ski Jumping
Men
Nick Fairall, Andover, NH
Anders Johnson, Park City, UT

Women
Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, UT
Lindsey Van, Park City, UT
Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT
Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT


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