Cross-Country Skiing Medal Favorites at the 2010 Olympics
The Olympic favorites in cross-country skiing have been tearing up the world cup circuit this year. Cross-country skiing is one of the hallmark sports of the Winter Olympics. However, it is a relatively new sport in America and it is typically relegated to the northern parts of the country. Before you begin watching the cross-country skiing competition at the Olympics this year, take a few minutes to learn about the athletes who are expected to do well.
The following men are expected to do well at the Vancouver Olympics.
Petter Northug (Norway)
Petter Northug is one of Norway’s new stars. He only started World Cup competition in 2005 and has already won eight World Cup events and five other medals. He finished the 2009 season with three gold medals in the World Championships. He is young and strong and eager to prove himself.
Ola Vigen Hattestad (Norway)
Ola Vigen Hattestad is Norway’s other medal favorite. He won two gold medals at the 2009 World Championships and has six World Cup victories.
Pietro Piller Cottrer (Italy)
Cottrer is a medalist from both the 2002 and 2006 Olympics. He has also won seven World cup Medals and three World Championship medals. Pietro is the strength of the Italian team.
Nikita Kriukov (Russia)
Kriukov is Russia’s best cross-country skier. Nikita is another of the rising stars in cross country. He was only been competing for a few years and is really starting to prove himself. In the 2009-2010 season has already won two World Cup medals and a World Championship medal. He is riding high after a victory in December at the Krasnogorskaya Lyzhnya, which is the last major cross-country event before the Winter Olympics.
These women will likely be vying for the medals in Vancouver.
Justyna Kowalczyk (Poland)
Justyna is the reigning overall Cross-Country Skiing World Cup champion. She is the woman to beat. Just since the beginning of 2009, she has nine World Cup wins, three more top three finishes, and two Tour de Ski victories (in January 2010).
Marit Bjorgen (Norway)
Marit is one of Norway’s strongest cross-country skiers. She has won 41 World Cup medals and two Olympic medals. Her consistency makes her a medal favorite. Interestingly, Marit has asthma and has been given special permission to use a new asthma medication that is typically banned.
Virpi Kuitunen (Finland)
This bronze medalist from the Torino Olympics has been one of Finland’s strongest cross country skiers for years. She has accumulated eight World Championship medals (six of them gold medals) along with 26 World Cup medals. And she keeps getting stronger.
Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (Finland)
Aino-Kaisa has been competing since 1998 and is getting stronger and stronger. She has not finished out of the top ten at any competition this season and won three gold medals and a bronze medal at the 2009 World Championships.
Kikkan Randall (USA)
Kikkan is the best American female cross-country skier to date. She’s the only American woman to ever win a World Cup event. She also became the first American woman to win a medal at the World Championships (when she won the silver, in 2009). She is the best hope for a cross country medal on team USA.