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North American Women Off to Sweden

Twitter is lighting up like that neighbor’s house who should take the Christmas lights down already, as several North American women and their friends on the Swedish national team anxiously awaiting their first joint camp in Sweden. Five U.S. Ski Team members and one from the Canadian national team are gearing up for the two-week camp, which will be held in Torsby and Sälen.

Ida Sargent, Jessie Diggins and Holly Brooks all planned to leave the U.S. on Thursday to meet two of their teammates, Kikkan Randall and Liz Stephen, in Orsa, Sweden. Anna Haag and other Swedish skiers would likely be there as well, and hardly anyone could contain their excitement.

On Tuesday, Haag tweeted: “On my way to Orsa to meet my American Sisters ‪@lizstephen & ‪@kikkanimal, have been longing for them so long now!! Will be amazing as always!”

Stephen responded: “Cannot wait Swedish sis! We are already reunited with bjorn and mama Haag!! Watching the olympics and waiting for you.”

Randall and Stephen have been in Scandinavia for more than two weeks — first participating in the Blink rollerski festival in Sandnes, Norway, and later getting some skiing in on a fjord.

According to Brooks, USST member Sadie Bjornsen wasn’t going to make the trip because of some injuries she’s coping with. On the flip side, Canadian Olympic gold medalist Chandra Crawford was already there.

In an email, Canadian women’s coach Eric de Nys wrote that Crawford flew out Tuesday to Östersund, Sweden. There, she’d work with one of Canada’s technicians, Micke Book, before meeting the Americans and Swedes in Torsby.

“From Torsby the crew will head to Salen for some dry land training with the Swedish women and then the ladies will head back to Torsby for a few days on snow in the tunnel,” de Nys wrote. “The majority of the time over there will be in a camp situation.”

Sargent wrote in an email that she was just plain excited after spending the last few months in Craftsbury, Vt. A block of training at home was a welcome change to living overseas last winter, but she was ready to get back to Europe again.

“I haven’t ever been to Scandinavia in the summertime so I’m really excited about the trip,” Sargent wrote. “I’m psyched to see all my USST teammates and looking forward to the opportunity to train with the Swedish National Team. It’s an unbelievable opportunity to train with this group. It will also be great to have some sessions in the tunnel with the opportunity to try on snow some of the technique changes I’ve been working on this summer.”

On Wednesday, Diggins tweeted that she was busy packing, among other things. “Day off! Time to go rally some dirt roads, paint a house, pack for Sweden, drink more coffee, procrastinate, and (maybe) finish packing.”


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July 31 Roundup: Australian Championships Begin; Pierre Harvey Talks Olympism

— Winter is in full swing in the Southern Hemisphere, and the 2012 FIS Australia/New Zealand Cup began last weekend with the start of the Australian Championship at Perisher Valley. Esther Bottomley (AUS) won both the freestyle sprint and 5 k classic for a strong start in defending her 2011 championship title. Lucy Glanville (AUS) was the runner-up to Bottomley on both days. There was more variety on the men’s podiums; after two races there is currently a three-way tie in the series between Callum Watson, Alex Almoukov and Phillip Bellingham, all Australian. Almoukov won the sprint on the first day, and Watson took the 10 k classic a day later. The overall championship is scored by points, and all three currently have 160. The series resumes August 9 – 12 at the Snow Farm in New Zealand, where skiers from Russia and Japan are also expected to compete. The…