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Youngman Leads U.S. at 2017 Masters World Cup; Gray Finally Gets Gold

Multiple medalist Louise Wholey and U.S. team director John Downing on relay day at the 2017 Masters World Cup on March 10 in Klosters, Switzerland. (Photo: Masters World Cup 2017 Klosters)

By Inge Scheve

“I waited 55 years for this medal,” said Bob Gray.

Bob Gray receiving a bronze medal at the 2015 Masters World Cup in Syktyvkar, Russia. (Photo: Kent Murdoch)

The 77-year-old Vermonter won the 15-kilometer freestyle race in the M10 category (men age 75-80) at the 2017 Masters World Cup in Klosters, Switzerland, earlier this month.

Gray raced for the U.S. Ski Team from 1962 until 1974, but never earned a World Championships medal during that period.

“When I first came on the U.S. Ski Team in 1962, we were ten minutes behind the Europeans in the 15 k event,” he said. “When I left the U.S. Ski Team in 1974, we were three minutes behind in the 15 k.”

“It’s a lifelong dream for me to win a World Championship medal,” he continued. “I’m a frustrated athlete, you know.” Over the last two decades, Gray has participated in more than a dozen Masters World Cup events.

“The competitors get older and there are fewer of them, but in my mind, this was really satisfying,” he said.

The annual Masters World Cup represents an opportunity for skiers 30 and older to ski up to four races of regular World Cup distances in a week.

During the 2017 Masters World Cup in Klosters, U.S. skiers collected a total of 47 individual medals and four relay podium finishes. The Canadian team took home 12 individual medals and one relay podium finish.

A freestyle race at the 2017 Masters World Cup in early March in Klosters, Switzerland. (Photo: Masters World Cup 2017 Klosters)

Among the U.S. individual winners were Gray, Barry Makarewicz, who won two races, and Eric Martin, and for the women, Elizabeth Youngman, who notched three individual titles, Lindsey Bengtson (2), Laura McCabe (2), Trina Hosmer (2), Louise Wholey, and Carolyn Tiernan. For Canada, Silvia Stettler and Nancy Burden won two races apiece, and individual titles went to Pat Pearce, Barbara Turner and Robert Burden.

With two individual classic titles and a skate win as well, Youngman was part of the U.S. women’s gold-medal relay (with Magdalena Bowen, Muffy Ritz and McCabe) in the 4 x 5 k mixed technique race to end the seven-day championships.

The U.S. national director for the World Masters Cross-Country Ski Association (WMA), John Downing, who is also the president of the FIS Masters World Cup Association, said this year’s championships were a great showing for his team.

“When we bring large numbers to Europe, we always see results, that’s simple math,” he said. “When we have more skiers, we also have more upper-level skiers.”

Downing added that medals are not the most important aspect of the Masters World Cup event.

“We want every skier to feel welcome, regardless of level, and we want every ability skier to feel welcome to these events and walk away with good experiences,” he said.

Next year, the Masters World Cup moves to Minneapolis, and Downing is confident the Twin Cities will pull off a great championship week.

“The Loppet Foundation, which is the organizing committee for the 2018 Masters World Cup, has been awesome. They have a lot of resources and talented organizers,” he said.

“They have doubled their snow-making capacity in the last year, and they are ready to increase that even further,” he explained. “So you can easily fly into the Twin Cities and not see a flake of snow anywhere and still know that the organizers will have loop that wont drive people crazy to ski.”

The 2018 Masters World Cup is scheduled for Jan. 19-26, 2018.

2017 Masters World Cup: North American Medal Count

Race 1: Mid-distance skate

U.S. (11 total: 6 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze)

  • Gold: Lindsey Bengtson (F1), Laura McCabe (F5), Elizabeth Youngman (F6), Louise Wholey (F10), Barry Makarawicz (M6), Bob Gray (M10)
  • Silver: Trina Hosmer (F9)
  • Bronze: Katie Meyer (F7), Carolyn Tiernan (F8), Shauna Thoreson (F11), Eric Martin (M5)

Canada (3 total: 1 gold, 2 silver)

  • Gold: Silvia Stettler (F8)
  • Silver: Nikki Kassel (F3), Barbara Turner (F5)

Race 2: Mid-distance classic

U.S. (4 total: 2 silver, 2 bronze)

  • Silver: Magdalena Bowen (F6), Barbara Lewis (F11)
  • Bronze: James Rucker (M2), Charles French (M12)

Race 3: Short-distance classic

U.S. (10 total: 2 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze)

  • Gold: Elizabeth Youngman (F6), Trina Hosmer (F9)
  • Silver: Carolyn Tiernan (F8), Shauna Thoresen (F11), Del Pletcher (M9), Charles French (M12)
  • Bronze: Eric Martin (M3), Barry Makarawicz (M6), Barbara Lewis (F11), George Hall (M11)

Canada (1 total: 1 gold)

  • Gold: Pat Pierce (F7)

Race 4: Short-distance skate

U.S (7 total: 1 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze)

  • Gold: Lindsey Bengston (F1)
  • Silver: Katie Meyer (F7), Shauna Thoresen (F11), Joanne Davis (F11)
  • Bronze: Kent Murdoch (M6), Abbie Spencer (F1), Louise Wholey (F10), Inge Scheve (F3)

Canada: (3 total: 3 gold)

  • Gold: Barbara Turner (F5), Nancy Burden (F6), Silvia Stettler (F8)

Race 5: Marathon skate

U.S. (10 total: 5 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze)

  • Gold: Laura McCabe (F5), Carolyn Tiernan (F8), Trina Hosmer (F9), Eric Martin (M3), Barry Makarawicz (M6)
  • Silver: Lindsey Bengston (F1), Shauna Thoresen (F11), Bob Gray (M10)
  • Bronze: Louise Wholey (F10), Joanne Davis (F11)

Canada (3 total: 1 gold, 2 silver)

  • Gold: Nancy Burden (F6)
  • Silver: Nikki Kassel (F3), Barbara Turner (F5)

Race 6: Marathon classic

(Note: Race course was shortened due to avalanche in the upper end of the valley)

U.S. (5 total: 1 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze)

  • Gold: Elizabeth Youngman (F6)
  • Silver: Barbara Lewis (F11), George Hall (M11), Charles French (M12)
  • Bronze: James Rucker (M2)

Canada (2 total: 2 silver)

  • Silver: Pat Pierce (F7), Silvia Stettler (F8)

Relays

U.S. (4 total: 1 gold, 3 silver)

  • Gold: Elizabeth Youngman, Magdalena Bowen, Muffy Ritz, Laura McCabe (F3)
  • Silver: Chris Clark, Wilhelm Northrop, Seth Downs, Eric Martin (M4); Odd Bersvendsen, Richard Powell, Barry Makarawicz, Kent Murdoch (M6); Trina Hosmer, Connie Meek, Louise Wholey, Carol Monteverde (F5)

Canada (1 total: 1 silver)

  • Silver: Pat Pierce, Lois Johnston, Silvia Stettler, Maureen Clement (F4)

Complete results

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