Ketchum’s Jake Adicoff, 18, has been named to the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team, according to a Thursday press release from Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) communications director Jody Zarkos.
Adicoff, who joined the SVSEF as an eight-year-old in 2003, was one of 16 athletes chosen for the U.S. squad that will compete in biathlon and cross country skiing at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, March 7-16.
SVSEF Nordic coach Ashley McQueen said, “I think it is so cool (Jake being named to the Paralympic team). We are really excited about it and proud of him.”
Ketchum’s Reid Pletcher, 25, who also joined the SVSEF in 2003, will serve as a guide for Adicoff, who is visually-impaired.
Pletcher said his job is easier due to Adicoff’s abilities. He said, “Jake is a D3 which is the least blind. Technically, he can ski by himself. He’s drafting three or four feet behind me and I help him take more efficient lines and pacing.”
The 2014 U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team with 12 men and four women is three times as large as the 2010 squad that went to the Paralympics at Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
“We are thrilled to bring such a large team of athletes and professional staff to Sochi,” said John Farra, high performance director for U.S. Paralympic Nordic skiing.
Farra added, “We have made a concerted effort to introduce more athletes to the sports of cross-country skiing and biathlon over the past two-and-a-half seasons, and this growth is a sign of our success in keeping many of them excited about our Nordic sports and working toward becoming internationally competitive.”
Adicoff graduated from Wood River High School in 2013 and deferred a year to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, to spend a post-grad year with the SVSEF.
McQueen said, “I think as far as the Paralympics go, Jake is a skier first. People that watch him race don’t know he has a sight impairment. He’s been racing against able-bodied people his own age long before he started para-racing.”
Long known as one of the more punishing sports, cross country skiing attracts dedicated athletes with a strong work ethic, ability to embrace countless training hours, all kinds of conditions and pain. Adicoff, this week’s SVSEF “Athlete of the Week,” is no different, Zarkos noted.
“I think Jake’s attitude and work ethic set him apart. He goes out and gets after it,” said McQueen.
Competition for Nordic skiing will take place March 8-16 with March 13 scheduled as an off-day. Nordic skiing includes both biathlon and cross-country skiing, both of which have three events contested at the Games, in addition to two cross-country relays.
Most of the U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team will compete in both sports. A list of events entered by each athlete will be available in February.
Adicoff and Pletcher will attend a pre-Paralympic training camp at Ridnaun, Italy, starting Feb. 23, and then go to Germany to sign paperwork and get outfitted in Team USA garb before flying to Russia.
“It should be an awesome experience,” Pletcher said. “As of a year ago I never thought I would be in this position. It’s pretty sweet.”