Sunday, December 16, 2012

American Skiers


After brushing off the snow and warming up from the day’s long run, I remembered a time when I longed for such snowy conditions.  Seems silly now.  For the past two hours I had been cursing the snow and cold.  But I remember, not long ago, when I lived for such conditions.  As a Nordic skier, I loved the snow, worshiped the snow, sought out the snow.  No longer.  Now I hide from it, avoid it, run from it (at least for the time being).  Every time I see the flakes fall from the sky, I still think of skiing.  And never has there been a better time!  For today marked the conclusion of the Canmore World Cup, one of the few times the Cross-Country World Cups comes to North American.  And have the Americans shown brightly.  Years ago, America was the joke of the Cross-Country world.  Finishing in the top 40 was seen as a success, and world cup points (finishing in the top 30 of a race) were rare.  This has all changed.  The Americans, led by Kikkan Randall, just off from last season’s breakout year winning the overall sprint crown, has taken the skiing world by storm.  Now, top 20s are beginning to seem mundane, medals are won, and the bar in American skiing has been raised beyond belief.  It has been incredible to see the meteoric rise.  Just this past week in the Canadian races, Americans have notched thirteen top fifteens, ten top tens, five top fives, and three medals- two of which were gold.  It has been amazing to watch as the athletes have gained confidence, realized that they can compete with the best, and began beating the once “unbeatable” Scandinavians.  It has been a tremendous transformation and I wish all the skiers the best.  They have finally arrived on the international stage.  It just goes to show you- that even though you might get beaten time and time again, if you have the confidence and the determination to be great and keep plugging away, improving year after year without giving up, you can rise to any level and take on the world.  It has been an inspiring sight and I can not wait to see what the future brings them.

Until next time,

Ben

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