The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Friday, May 31 that 14 athletes, including nine active duty service members and veterans, are nominated for the 2013-14 U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National and Development Teams.
With only nine biathletes and cross-country skiers named to the teams last season, the combined size of the 2013-14 U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National and Development Teams shows the significant growth of the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing program heading into the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Among nominees to the Nordic Skiing Development Team are recent Wood River High School graduate Jake Adicoff of Sun Valley (visually impaired) and Hailey resident Omar Bermejo of Grand Rapids, Mich., standing, ret., U.S. Marine Corps.
“With less than 300 days until the start of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the United States is in a great position to be successful in the biathlon and cross-country events,” said John Farra, high performance director for U.S. Paralympics Nordic skiing.
The 2013-14 U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National Team roster is highlighted by Lieutenant Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kan.), U.S. Navy, Sean Halsted (Spokane, Wash.), ret., U.S. Air Force, Andy Soule (Pearland, Texas), ret., U.S. Army, and Jeremy Wagner (Honolulu, Hawaii), ret., U.S. Army Reserves, all experienced national team members who competed at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Nordic Skiing World Championships.
While Cnossen and Soule were most successful on the 2013 World Cup circuit, winning multiple medals each, Halsted notched a fourth-place finish on the Sochi snow at the 2013 IPC World Cup Finals, held at the same venue that will host the Games. Soule won a bronze medal in biathlon at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, the first ever biathlon medal for a U.S. athlete at the Olympic or Paralympic Winter Games.
Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Md.) and Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minn.) received their first-ever U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National Team nominations for the upcoming season. Both successful at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, McFadden and Pike hope to qualify for the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team, which will compete March 7-16, in Sochi, Russia.
Oksana Masters (Louisville, Ky.), also a member of the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team, is among the athletes nominated to the development roster. Joining her are Jake Adicoff (Sun Valley, Idaho), Omar Bermejo (Grand Rapids, Mich.). ret., U.S. Marine Corps, Kevin Burton (Boulder, Colo.), ret., U.S. Navy, Travis Dodson (Deming, N.M.), ret., U.S. Marines, Erik Frazier (Maple Hill, N.C.), ret., U.S. Marine Corps, Augusto Perez (East Syracuse, N.Y.) and Beth Requist (Grand Lake, Colo.).
In the months leading-up to the start of the 2013-14 season, athletes will participate in five training camps, three of which are at the U.S. Olympic Training Centers across the country. U.S. athletes will then compete in December and January at IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup competitions in Canmore, Canada, Dec. 8-19, Oberstdorf, Germany, Jan. 14-19, and Oberreid, Germany, Jan. 21-26.
The Paralympic biathlon and cross-country skiing national championships are Dec. 30-Jan. 8 at Soldier Hollow Ski Center in Midway, Utah.
Here are the nominated athletes:
2013-14 Paralympic National Team
· Lt. Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kan.), sitski, U.S. Navy
· Sean Halsted (Spokane, Wash./Twin Lakes, Idaho), sitski, ret., U.S. Air Force
· Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Md.), sitski
· Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minn.), sitski
· Andy Soule (Pearland, Texas), sitski, ret., U.S. Army
· Jeremy Wagner (Honolulu, Hawaii), sitski, ret., U.S. Army Reserves
2013-14 Paralympic Nordic Development Team
· Jake Adicoff (Sun Valley), visually impaired
· Omar Bermejo (Grand Rapids, Mich.), standing, ret., U.S. Marine Corps
· Kevin Burton (Boulder, Colo.), visually impaired, ret., U.S. Navy
· Travis Dodson (Deming, N.M.), sitski, ret., U.S. Marine Corps
· Eric Frazier (Maple Hill, N.C.), sitski, ret. U.S. Marine Corps
· Oksana Masters (Louisville, Ky.), sitski
· Augusto Perez (East Syracuse, N.Y.), sitski
· Beth Requist (Grand Lake, Colo.), sitski