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Updated Criteria and Working Group Guidelines

Dear Cross Country Community,

Due to uncertainties surrounding the pandemic and potential implications for the 20-21 race season, the World Championships and World Cup draft selection criteria have been modified and are posted here:

2021 Oberstdorf World Champs: https://usskiandsnowboard.org/sport-programs/criteria/cross-country-world-championships-criteria

2020-21 World Cup: https://usskiandsnowboard.org/sport-programs/criteria/cross-country-world-cup-criteria

The changes are in red, and reflect the fact that the FIS staff, in consultation with NGBs, LOCs and the FIS Cross Country Committee, will analyze pandemic conditions in late September and decide on a World Cup A vs. World Cup B calendar, which has implications on our criteria selection periods.

Also, because the FIS Cross Country Committee has introduced the concept of awarding individual World Cup points for team events (distance relays and team sprints), we’ve also added language to both criterion confirming that World Cup points scored towards objective qualification must be gathered in individual World Cup events.

We will complete and post the final criteria in October once the World Cup calendar is finalized.

Separately, one project that the World Cup Discretionary Selection Working Group has been working on this spring is to create a set of Working Group Guidelines that are intended to streamline our discretionary selection discussions, and hopefully increase our agility and the speed by which we can notify nominated athletes. Here are the guidelines:

World Cup Discretionary Selection Working Group
Guidelines 2020-21

The Working Group is comprised of an odd number of administrators, coaches and athlete reps. Each vote is equal and a simple majority wins each vote. The Working Group aspires to be 15 total persons or less to ensure fast selection decision making.

The Working Group aims to maintain representation from the USST coaching staff, a coach from the 4 major senior clubs (APU, Craftsbury, Stratton and Sun Valley), coaches from additional clubs (university, smaller clubs, etc.), and at least 2 athlete reps who are not currently competing.

Working Group members must stay informed by following national and international results, as well as actively participating in discretionary selection discussions and voting in a timely manner.

The Working Group aspires to create better gender equity within its ranks when possible. If a member of the Working Group steps down, the Group will endeavor to find a female coach or athlete rep to fill that vacancy, understanding that some positions are fixed by employment.

Votes of Working Group members are confidential and are not to be discussed outside of the Working Group. A member of the Working Group is free to share his or her own vote with others but shall not discuss the votes of other Group members. This ensures that honest conversations may take place without hurting the feelings of any athlete being discussed for a discretionary nomination.

As members of the Working Group, we advocate for qualified athletes from every club, and not simply athletes from our respective home clubs.

 

The below are Working Group guidelines and are not rules. The Working Group reserves the right to consider different selections methods when special circumstances arise.

The Working Group will always offer the nomination to the athlete we feel is best suited for success at the race, even if we know the athlete will decline the nomination. The athlete must have the first right of refusal.

When comparing performances from different race series, the Group will generally consider the following ranking of importance:

1.) World Cup results (recent, then current season, and possibly historical).
2.) Significant recent international results (U23s, WJCs, OPA, Scandinavian Cup, etc.).
3.) U.S. National Championships in the same season.
4.) SuperTour results in the same season.

When selecting discretionary nominations to World Cup Period 1, the Group will generally consider:

1.) World Cup Points (distance and sprint, overall, and perhaps bonus) from the previous season.
2.) FIS Points
3.) SuperTour Points (distance and sprint, overall)

When nominating sprinters, the Group will look at sprint qualifying times first, since they are the best indicator of an athlete’s likelihood to qualify for the heats on World Cup. For additional info, the Group may look at end-of-day sprint finish placing.

When possible, the Group will attempt to match the event to the athletes’ skills (distance of the race, skate vs. classic), knowing that it is unrealistic to change athletes every weekend on World Cup, and that compromises are often necessary.

The Working Group may choose not to fill every start every weekend if certain conditions exist (i.e. lack of depth in a certain race format or field, World Cup level not appropriate for next best athlete, etc.).

The Working Group will only add alternates when:

1.) The addition of alternates would not take away from the USA’s ability to win, reach the podium, reach the top-10, etc. with athletes who are prepared for success at the highest level.
2.) We have strong depth-of-field in the discipline (i.e. women/men, sprint/distance, classic/skate).

The Group is especially sensitive to the demands of tours and mini-tours (i.e. all athletes racing every day), and how filling starts and/or naming alternates places additional burdens on a limited coaching, ski service, and medical/recovery/nutritional staff. This is especially poignant in major tours that require travel between venues, added logistics, and added exposure to possible illness. The Group understands that there are also limited work stations in the USA wax truck, so the Team may not be able to accommodate additional service technicians.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about this process, feel free to contact me directly.

Sincerely,

Chris Grover
Cross Country Program Director, U.S. Cross Country Ski Team
chris.grover@usskiandsnowboard.org

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