The stadium at Kuusamo, Finland is ready for this weekend's FIS Cross Country and Nordic Combined World Cup openers. (FIS)
KUUSAMO, Finland (Nov. 29) - The U.S. Ski Team is poised and ready for the opening of the FIS Cross Country and Nordic Combined World Cup tours this weekend in Kuusamo. Defending World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) leads a large contingent of 13 U.S. athletes in the three-day mini tour, the Ruka Triple, that begins Friday. Olympic champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) leads a strong U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team in its opening events Saturday and Sunday.
STARTERS Cross Country
Kris Freeman Simi Hamilton
Noah Hoffman Andy Newell
Mike Sinnott (overall SuperTour winner from 2012-13)
Women Sadie Bjornsen
Rosie Brennan (overall SuperTour winner from 2012-13) Holly Brooks Sophie Caldwell Jessie Diggins Kikkan Randall Ida Sargent Liz Stephen
Nordic Combined Billy Demong Bryan Fletcher Taylor Fletcher Todd Lodwick
QUOTES Kikkan Randall Training has been good here in Ruka and we're all excited to officially kick off the 2014 World Cup season. The training and racing last weekend in Beitostolen was a good warmup. We're all feeling adjusted to the time and excited to go.
While the Olympics is the big focus this season, each World Cup race is still important and I'm looking forward to make a strong start here in Finland.
Chris Grover, Head Cross Country Coach The athletes and staff are excited for the beginning of the World Cup this weekend. The Team is healthy and in good spirits and has looked great in training this week. Kikkan Randall and Andy Newell have both been fourth in this sprint in the past. Kris Freeman has had several classic races in the top-five here and Kikkan was second in the 5k here last season. Ida Sargent is looking to build off of her top-10 finish in the sprint here last season. We have a great staff assembled here ready to make some fast skis. Conditions are excellent with a lot of new snow over the past two days and wintry temperatures. Look for the U.S. cross country squad to build momentum all the way through this fist period of World Cup racing.
Dave Jarrett, Head Nordic Combined Coach It 's mid winter conditions and we've had great training here in Ruka. Everyone is healthy and ready to go. Hopefully mother nature cooperates on the jumping side and stops blowing but other than that we are ready to get going.
Join the madness and make your pledge to support the team. Checkout Medals Madness and learn how you can make a difference for U.S. skiers and snowboarders.