Next stop Turin for Utah Nordic skiers Cross Country Skiing
January 18, 2006
Salt Lake Tribune
By Mike Gorrell
Park City residents Carl Swenson and Wendy Wagner are Olympians once again, having been named Tuesday to the 17-member U.S. cross country skiing team for next month's Turin Winter Games.
Torin Koos, a former University of Utah skier now attending Westminster College in Salt Lake City, also made the Olympic team for a second time.
"This is a strong team, even stronger than we had four years ago," said U.S. Nordic program director Luke Bodensteiner.
Swenson, a veteran of the 1994 and 2002 Olympics, is one of 10 skiers on the men's team, which will be led by 2002 Olympian Kris Freeman, a 25-year-old diabetic from Andover, N.H.
Freeman has recorded the best results of any American cross country skier since Bill Koch in the 1970s, including a fourth in the 2003 World Championships (15K race) and a pair of finishes in the top six in 2004 World Cups. Last week, he also won the 30-km pursuit at the U.S. Cross Country Championships at Soldier Hollow.
Wagner captured the women's 20-km pursuit at those championships, securing a second trip to the Games after competing here in 2002.
She is one of three female veterans of the Salt Lake Olympics. The others are Kikkan Randall, 23, of Anchorage, Alaska, who won three titles at the U.S. Cross Country Championships, and Lindsey Weier, 21, of Mahtomedi, Minn.
Joining them on the women's team are Rebecca Dussault, 25, of Gunnison, Colo.; Abigail Larson, 32, of Bozeman, Mont.; Lindsay Williams, 21, of Hastings, Minn.; and Sarah Konrad, 28, of Laramie, Wyo. Konrad also could be named to the U.S. biathlon team.
Besides Freeman, Swenson and Koos, the men's team includes 2002 veterans Andrew Johnson, 28, of Greensboro, Vt.; and Lars Flora, 28, of Anchorage. Also named Tuesday were Chris Cook, 25, of Rhinelander, Wis.; James Southam, 27, of Anchorage; Leif Zimmerman, 22, of Bozeman, Mont.; Andy Newell, 22, of Shaftsbury, Vt.; and Kris Freeman's older brother, Justin, 29.
"Those who were rookies in Salt Lake have developed into real performers now," said Bodensteiner. "Our first-timers are poised for some noteworthy results themselves."