Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Falun 2015 World Championship Selection Dates

As we approach the close of the Falun WSC selection period, here are a few dates for coaches and athletes to keep in mind:

Sunday January 11

Tour de Ski Final Climb.  Last World Cup distance race in the selection period.

Saturday January 17

Otepää Sprint C.  Last World Cup sprint race in the selection period.

Monday January 19

The close of the USSA National Ranking List #4.

Friday January 23

USSA National Ranking List #4 becomes valid.

Monday January 26

Team Announcement (tentative).

The full selection criteria can be viewed here:

http://nordic.usskiteam.com/cross-country-programs/officials/criteria/world-championships

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. Martin Hall says:

    Two comments about the criteria posted above (you’ll have to do some reading):
    What are the chances of domestic ski racer’s to be named to the World Ski Championship Team? I would like to hear from the coaching staff on this, because last years process is close to this one again and it was a token number of domestic people that were selected to the Olympic Team. If this continues to be the case the door is closing on anyone who is not in Europe to make the team and it limits the chances of any break through’s and development of athletes for future WSCs (2017) and Olympics (2018). Pretty soon the domestic fields will start to decline in numbers and we will betaking another step backwards in developing new talent from breaking through.
    What do you think?

    “U.S. Cross Country World Championships Team status does not guarantee
    funding from the USSA.”
    This quote is from the tryout and selection criteria, and one that I have never seen in all my years of coaching. It raises questions for me. What happens to any athlete who is selected in regards to responsibilities by both parties—-say a happening such as Noah Hoffman had this early winter with his broken leg? Who pays the bills—or if there is a mishap–that compromises the plan—who is responsible? What about the athlete’s signing a contract,do they or don’t they, are they considered a part of the team for such things as waxing support, moving from training sites to the WSC site, housing and food and the list could go on. It seems like such a trivial statement, but it has wide reaching responsibilities on both parties part—-can this be lawyer territory—what are the ramifications?

    One other thought—-is the cross country team program—now approaching a strangulation level in the funding game that USSA has been slowly but surely retracting form the Nordic disciplines the last 3-4 years. I warned this spring that xc must have a good WSC if they are going to continue to be supported for another year let alone expect to be funded right up to the next games. I didn’t trust Willy Marolt and I don’t trust this new guy Shaw(the guy who for got to mention xc in his report on the disciplines at the big fall mtg)—they definitely know how to twist the rules and hide the money and where it is going.
    Also, there is a new game being played in Park City, I think—“How to Steal the Devo Dollar’s from the “NNF”—-$500,000 is not chicken feed to these guys and gals at USSA/USST and that’s the way I see it.

  2. Martin Hall says:

    PS This past week I was thinking—am I on time with this thought or should I wait—I waited—-I was going to write that I felt it was time to recognize Sadie Bjornsen as the “new Queen of the women’s team” at least for period one—not only for her results, but for her improvements in sprinting and skating and racing like a pro—-she is now a threat in all aspects of meeting the demands of international racing. Well, here is the bad news—the points are out for naming the next periods “Red Group” and she did not make the cut line. I’m not sure I understand the system—but it goes back aways into last year’s scoring and this is the outcome, she is no longer funded.
    The USST’s system is that if you are in the Red Group you are with us—if your out of the Red Group, you’re on you own—you are not with us financially—-how the rest works I’m not sure—but, I’m sure she’ll be able to find the funding and for her being in the team—-hey, they don’t have anyone good enough to replace her, that’s for sure!
    This really sucks—-I know what I would have done if I was in this situation-back in my day—as to what I would have done, if I was Grover—-get on the phone and call Dave “Mr Development” Knoop and tell him about our dilemma and see if he could help out. I’d try and put that together before I dropped the bomb on Sadie—–and be able to tell her we have a plan to go forward with. Isn’t that my job—to build a team—-not tear it apart.
    Stay tuned!

  3. Sadie did fall out of the Distance Red Group after Period 1 of World Cup, but most likely she will be back in for the next period, starting in Östersund. She had an excellent 4 stages during the Tour and we are extremely proud of her. No “bombs” have been dropped on any athletes, including Sadie. Everyone knows how our budget works before the season, and the way we manage our budget with respect to Red Group funding has been in place for years.

    A-Team status for the year is most-often based on being in the Red Group at the start of the season. We budget for that. Athletes that have made the Red Group in either sprint of distance are consistently skiing at a world-class level, and although it is an imperfect measuring stick, it generally is a good indication of current performance levels. A-Team athletes that fall out of the Red Group need to pay for only the nights that we would have received money for them had they stayed in the Red Group. For example, an A-Team distance athlete that is no longer in the Distance Red Group can expect to cover their own room and board expenses for 3 to 4 nights at a distance World Cup weekend, but are covered by the USST on the other nights that week, as well as at the training camp the following week, and also at the sprint weekend following that. The USST can fund those days and weeks because we planned to be paying for them all along.

    Conversely, if a B-Team athlete makes the Red Group during the season, he or she keeps every dollar that an Organizer pays for Red Group lodging and travel. So their costs become less.

    This is the same as we have operated for some time now. Athletes that start the season on the A-Team keep that status all year, as do athletes on the B or D Teams. We simply don’t have a pool of funds set aside to pay for them when they fall out of a given Red Group. The budget is the budget and we have to try to meet it one way or another.

    It is also worth noting that every athlete that is racing on World Cup (A-Team, B-Team) has no expenses related to infrastructure. There are no costs for coaching, servicemen, wax, physical therapy, vans, gas, etc. All of these things add up to many thousands of dollars and go to support every member of the Team.

    The NNF has often stepped-up to fill in the funding gaps for athletes (USST and many others) that were paying for some of their room, board, and travel out of pocket. Those of us at the USST (athletes and staff) continue to be grateful for the NNF’s support; it is truly making a difference.

  4. Marty: Thanks for your posts. You seemed to have touched a nerve thus getting a rare response from USST. I suspect they get a little touchy when you draw Nordic Dave’s influence into the picture. Looks like Newell is likely to drop out of Red Group and Simi is on the cusp. I suspect he will nab some points in Estonia and Russia to secure his position. Curious why they shifted the standard for WC from Red Group ranking to current world cup standings. I can see good reasons for it… just curious what USST was thinking.

  5. Marty raises the question of selection of athletes to the World Championship via the World Cup (the first objective criteria) vs. points (the second objective criteria), and alludes to the fact that we had 10 athletes qualify for the Sochi Games based on their World Cup results last season, and 4 athletes qualify via FIS points (which were accumulated in all types of FIS races). As he points out, the selection criteria is similar this season, although we are using USSA points rather than FIS points with the hopes of creating more competitive fields at the SuperTour this fall; a strategy that is working.

    Last season was a record year in terms of athletes qualifying via the World Cup objective criteria. 7 women and 3 men made the cut. That was a great thing. It meant that the USA had 10 athletes that were skiing fast at the highest level in the early season of the Sochi Games, and indeed, we were able to send one of the best US Teams to the Games that we have been able to field.

    But when it comes to World Cup selection vs. USSA point selection, it’s not an either/or scenario. All athletes that made the Team via World Cup points would have made the team via their FIS points as well. And anyone who has raced on the World Cup can tell you that it is very hard to have low points races against that field.

    The fact that we have SuperTour leaders on the World Cup during nearly the entire season each and every year means that there is a clearly defined path for athletes skiing fast in the U.S. to the World Cup, where they have an opportunity to demonstrate how fast they really are. Athletes like Jessie Diggins, Sadie Bjornsen, and Erik Bjornsen have all taken this path in recent years. They’ve skied fast at home, secured SuperTour leaders positions, come to Europe and had breakthrough results on the World Cup. Obviously, most SuperTour leaders have not been able to have big results on the World Cup; it’s a really tough step to make. But everyone understands there is a clear path when one is skiing at a world-class level.

    Will there be athletes selected for Falun from the domestic field this month via their USSA points only? Absolutely. Our Team here in Europe has not been as strong on World Cup this season as it was last year. We will be looking to the US for strong domestic performances in order to field the fastest Falun Team possible.

    I do agree that we need to define a clear path for domestic skiers to the major Championships. I’ve organized a working group of top US coaches this summer and fall to help us create a new selection criterion for Lahti 2017. One important aspect of this new criteria is creating a head-to-head format in fall SuperTour racing (including U.S. Nationals) that provides an athlete with a clear path to Championship selection, without the guesswork of looking for races with low points. We are currently running the criteria by our legal department to ensure that, like all of our criteria, it’s fair, clearly understandable, and complies with the Amateur Sports Act.

    But the primary qualification mechanism for athletes to the major Championships needs to remain the World Cup. Top performances in that field of play are the best indication of the potential for top results at the World Champs or OWGs. After all, our goal at these championships should not be participation; it should be excellence. That’s how our competitors are approaching it.