Olympic Team Nominations week
With just over week to go until the start of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi (RUS) all National Olympic committees have announced their teams. Many Olympic stars from the Vancouver Games will get the chance again to chase their Olympic dreams and it some cases add to their already existing Olympic medal collection.
Marit Bjoergen of Norway will look to add to her five-medal haul from 2010, but will face stiff competition from within her own team with names like Therese Johaug, Heidi Weng and Kristin Stoermer Steira emerging as individual medal threats. Also nominated to their respective teams were Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) and Charlotte Kalla (SWE) who have shown Olympic podium level shape this season.
On the sprint side of the competitions, Kikkan Randall will lead a strong U.S. women’s team and will compete in her fourth Olympic Games and is a big favourite for a medal in the free technique sprints, along with Germany’s Denise Herrmann, Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, Switzerland’s Laurien Van der Graaf among others.
On the men’s side several Olympic individual medalists from Vancouver such as Petter Northug Jr. (NOR), Dario Cologna (SUI), Marcus Hellner (SWE), Johan Olsson (SWE), Nikita Kruikov (RUS) will all be present in Sochi looking to return to the Olympic podium. But they will have a battle from many who are seeking their first individual Olympic medals from names like Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR), Alexey Poltoranin (KAZ), Alexander Legkov (RUS) and Alex Harvey (CAN).
The sprint competition will be free technique this time around which adds a new crew of favourites that can include Italy’s Federico Pellegrino, Emil Joensson (SWE), Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) and Eirik Brandsdal (NOR) and many others.
There are some familiar names and Olympic medalists who were left out from the Games such as Oystein Pettersen and Vibeke Skofterud, both of Norway, and Natalia Korosteleva, which speaks to the depth on both of those teams.
Overall, the nations nominated well-balanced teams that contain both Olympic veterans and Olympic newbies that will all put forward their best efforts in just over 11 days.