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Olympic Team?
Sadie Bjornsen qualifies

Sadie Bjornsen is the first Methow Valley elite Nordic skier to qualify for the 2014 Olympic team. Her selection won’t be official until the U.S. Ski Association formally announces team members later this month, but already she sees her dream “coming true.”

Bjornsen made the first-round team picks by being ranked among the top 50 distance skiers in World Cup standings as of Jan. 5. She will be nominated to the Olympic team under the U.S. Ski Association’s “objective” selection procedures.

“I am excited for the fun Sochi journey that lies ahead,” Bjornsen said in an email to Methow Grist. “The Olympics are a huge honor…so I am ecstatic to have the opportunity! The games include some of my favorite races including the 10k classic so I am truly looking forward to not only the experience, but the racing too.

“Thanks to everyone back home in the Methow who has both supported me and encouraged me! Most importantly, thanks to my parents for introducing our family to such a fun sport and then pushing and supporting us along the way.”

Bjornsen currently is ranked 29th overall and 25th in distance-race points, according to results posted by the International Ski Federation.

“My dream since I was 5, and my goal since I was 7, is finally coming true!” Bjornsen posted on Facebook.

Bjornsen, 24, who is skiing the World Cup race circuit in Europe this season, is a student at Alaska Pacific University and a member of the U.S. Ski Team.

Other U.S. Nordic skiers to be nominated based on distance point standings are Kikkan Randall, Jessie Diggins, Liz Stephen, Holly Brooks, Sophie Caldwell and Noah Hoffman.

“A maximum of the best four athletes per gender, who rank in the top 50 of the sprint World Cup standings on Jan. 12, 2014” also can be nominated to the team under the selection procedures.

Hoffman, who was the only U.S. male to qualify based on distance points, said in a blog post: “ teammates Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton will easily qualify based on the sprint standard after next weekend.” He added that he expects Ida Sargent to be added to the women’s roster when the sprint list is finalized.

The USSA can select up to 20 athletes for the Olympic team. Skiers who aren’t competing on the World Cup circuit will be nominated by the USSA head coach under “discretionary selection” rules “if they have indicated a potential for Olympic success.”

Race results from the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons, recent performance, and potential to win medals in future Olympic or World Championship competition are among the criteria considered.

A three-person committee will select Olympians from the discretionary nominee list.

The USSA is to release its official team nominations Jan. 21-22. The final step is for the U.S. Olympic Committee to name the team on Jan. 27.

The XXII Winter Olympics will be in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 7-23.
For the complete schedule go to

see previous elite skier news here >>

Updated 1/8

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