USSA Names Nordic Olympic Teams
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ Four 1994 Olympians and a handful of young skiers, with an obvious eye toward 2002 in Salt Lake City, were named Thursday to fill the Olympic Nordic combined and ski jumping teams for next month’s Winter Olympics.
The teams, which are training in Steamboat Springs, were announced during a conference call. Alan Ashley, vice president of athletics for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, said it was the strongest Nordic combined team ever sent to the Olympics but conceded the jumping team was the least experienced.
The Nordic combined team, in a sport mixing ski jumping and cross-country skiing, is led by Todd Lodwick, 21, of Steamboat Springs and Tim Tetreault, 27, of Norwich, Vt. Lodwick, a ’94 Olympian, won the second World Cup event of his career earlier this month and has two other top-5 results while Tetreault, heading to his third Olympics, has a pair of top-10s.
The rest of the combined squad is comprised of Bill Demong, 17, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., and three other Steamboat Springs skiers: Dave Jarrett, 27; Kristoffer Erichsen, 18; and Johnny Spillane, 17.
The Olympic jumping squad is made up of Alan Alborn, 17, of Brighton, Colo.; Casey Colby, 23, of Lake Placid, N.Y.; Mike Keuler, 19, of Bloomington, Minn.; and Steamboat Springs skiers Randy Weber, 20, a 1994 Olympian, and Brendan Doran, 18.
While their teams train in Steamboat Springs, Erichsen, Spillane, Demong and Alborn are in St. Moritz, Switzerland, competing in the Nordic World Junior Championships.
``The Nordic combined team is a real tribute to hard work, good planning, dedication and keeping its focus,″ Ashley said. ``They’re right at the top of my list as we go into Nagano and look for some significant improvement and success.
``The jumping team is a young team, and doesn’t have a ton of international experience, so we hope they get some experience in Nagano and use that as a springboard toward 2002.″
Most observers put Lodwick on any short list for medal contenders in the individual event and gives the Americans an outside shot at a medal in the four-man team event.
``Todd and Tim have the experience and have shown the talent to produce the best Nordic combined results we’ve ever had,″ coach Tom Steitz said. Rolf Monsen’s ninth-place finish in the 1932 Winter Games is the best Olympic result by an American.