Friday, January 26th
Vermont is considered by many to be the birthplace of cross-country skiing in North America. It's a part of the state's culture and a part of it's sporting culture and that was on full display Friday with the announcement of the U-S Olympic Cross Country team.
That team features five Vermonters, including four women. East Montpelier's Liz Stephen, Ida Sargent of Orleans and Sophie Caldwell of Peru are Olympic veterans. Stephen is making her third straight Olympic team, it's the second straight for Sargent and Caldwell. The fourth Vermonter, Elmore's Kaitlynn Miller, will be making her Olympic debut.
On the men's side, Shaftsbury's Andy Newell will be appearing in his fourth Olympics. He owns the best ever finish by an American man in an individual spirt event when he placed 16th at the Torino Olympics in 2006.
Several others on the twenty person team have ties to our region. Siblings Caitlin and Scott Patterson are both former UVM standouts that will be making their Olympic debuts. Scott was a two-time All-American for the SkiCats, Caitlin was a three-time All-American and both are coming off a wins at the U-S Cross Country Nationals earlier this month.
Others with local ties include Annie Hart, Rosie Brennan and Patrick Caldwell, Sophie's cousin, who were all national champions at Dartmouth. Jesse Diggins, a medal contender from Minnesota who now lives and trains in Stratton and Simi Hamilton, a three-time All-American at Middlebury.
Sophie Caldwell and Diggins are the top medal contenders. Diggins is currently ranked third in the World Cup overall. Sophie is third in the World Cup sprint standings, and the women's relay team could finish on the podium as well. Nordic competition at the games begins on the first Saturday of the Games, February 10th.