Jessie Diggins and Andy Newell met with YMCA campers

21 July 2012 16:55
Jessie Diggins at YMCA
Jessie Diggins at YMCA -

As the world gears for the summer Olympic games in London, U.S. Ski Team members Jessie Diggins and Andy Newell met with YMCA campers to talk about what it takes to be a world-class athlete, the importance of fitness and the meaning of team spirit, while introducing kids to cross-country skiing.

The event was organized by Snowsports Industries America (SIA), the trade association for snow sports, the T2 Foundation, a non-profit committed to supporting elite athletes and inspiring youth, and the YMCA.  Over 140 campers age 7-12 took part in the event.

“SIA is working on initiatives such as Winter Trails to increase participation in snow sports. Bringing cross country skiing to the YMCA of New York is a perfect partnership”, stated Reese Brown, SIA Nordic Director.  “Having Jessie and Andy supporting this mission is very powerful as they are perfect ambassadors of the sport and do such a great job with the kids.”

The session began with a talk about being a World Cup athlete and Olympian and included watching a short video of the athletes racing this past winter.  Real cross country skis, boots and poles were on hand for the campers to hold and inspect. Following the sit down session, the campers learned a series of exercises Jessie and Andy use in their everyday training, like critter crawls and various types of bounding with ski poles.

The crowd went wild when Andy strapped on his roller skis and raced around the indoor track. “Go around the track, go around the track!” they chanted.

“It was super exciting to show a sport like cross-country skiing to kids who probably hadn't seen much skiing before or participated in many winter sports activities,” Newell said.  “I was stoked with the energy of the kids.  Children that age love to run around and play games. I think it was fun for them to see what cross-country skiing was.”

“Even though most of the kids hadn't heard of skiing before or tried it, they were eager to try out new equipment and learn ski walking and bounding, as well as be active and try out new exercises,” Diggins added.

Sponsors of the event included SIA, T2 Foundation, Rudy Project and the Woodstock Nordic Center.