Note: This piece is from Carlie Casey, Bethel Outing Club member and internationally recognized Technical Delegate in Cross-Country Skiing.
Ski Friends (and a few Non-skier Friends),
For decades I have had dreams of Winter Olympics:
- Step #1: US Ski Team Medals at the Winter Olympics
- Step #2: Get picture taken with our Winter Olympic heroes (actually, this second dream is only a week old)
As most of you know, #1 happened last month at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang when Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins won the Gold Medal in the Team Sprint event in Cross Country. Let the celebrations continue!
When I realized I was slated to be one of the TD’s for the end of season championships—the only time our US Ski Team races on home snow most seasons—I was like a kid at Christmas, counting the days before arriving here and being able to hear some of the stories of their great season. (At this venue in rural northern Vermont, many of the athletes and officials are housed and have meals together.) I brought a couple of bottles of nice French Champagne to toast and thank them for the joy they bring us, their loyal fans.
Bonus: As anyone who follows this sport knows, we have had an unusual amount of new snow arrive this month in New England, and the skiing is fantastic for the end of March!
Pictured above is the podium for the last race of the season for the Women: 30 km Classical Mass Start (classical technique this year). Kikkan Randall on the right was 3rd. This is her last race as a US Ski Team member. Her parting shot with/to/at her teammates is a champagne shower. Far left (2nd today) is Sadie Bjornsen who ended the season as #6 in the World Cup Overall rankings. In the middle is Jessie Diggins, today’s winner by 0.4 seconds over Sadie, who ended the season as #2 in the World Cup Overall rankings. She came on so strong at the end of the year that if the season had had one more race, she might well have ended the season in #1 with the coveted Crystal Globe for Overall. (There are Crystal Globes for Sprints, Distance and Overall each season; and Kikkan won the Crystal Globe for Sprint 3 years in a row.)
Above is me with “MY PEOPLE”—as I refer to this part of my life to my non-skier friends (I have one or two, really I do; I try to keep and open mind) and workmates. Sadie, Jessie and Kikkan are the biggest, most recognizable U.S. names in our sport right now—and they just happened to be today’s podium—but among many, many other athletes, coaches, wax technicians, officials and volunteers that comprise “MY PEOPLE” and make this sport so special for Nordic geeks like me. Tomorrow, after the Men’s 50 km Classical, there will be a party with opportunities to toast these great athletes who have not only brought joy to countless Nordic skiers and fans in the USA; they are influencing so many other teams. The US Women’s Cross Country Ski Team has modeled for—and in ways have become the envy of—their other national team counterparts for what being a team (as opposed to a group of individual rivals) can contribute to individual success as they show that the success of any one is the success of all the team. [If you have not heard of it yet, get and read “World Class” by Peggy Shin—a great read about how this team came together and the synergy of team.]
Thanks for indulging my ravings about “MY PEOPLE”.
Happy Trails to all . . . .