2013/2014 Aus­tralian XC Ski Team In­ter­na­tional Sea­son

Alpine News - - On The Slopes - BY FINN MARS­LAND AUSXC Head Coach

SOCHI AUS­TRALIA sent our largest ever Win­ter Olympic cross-coun­try ski­ing con­tin­gent (XC) to the Sochi games.

The XC and biathlon teams were housed separately to the rest of the snow sports in the Laura En­durance Vil­lage, ac­ces­si­ble only by gon­dola, with the race­tracks right out the front door.

De­spite some re­ports to the con­trary, there was plenty of snow up at Laura, though warm tem­per­a­tures dur­ing the day saw soft, spring rac­ing con­di­tions for a num­ber of events. Our XC skiers put in solid mid-field per­for­mances and came away proud of their ef­forts.

It was in­spi­ra­tional to see aeri­al­ist David Mor­ris pull off a sil­ver medal in Sochi.

Ae­ri­als is a small sport in­ter­na­tion­ally but to make it onto the podium at the Olympics is an amaz­ing achieve­ment and a tes­ta­ment to the ded­i­ca­tion, per­se­ver­ance and many hours of hard work that one needs to put in. As­pir­ing win­ter sports ath­letes should take the time to read David’s bio on his web­site: www. aeri­al­skier.com.

JU­NIORS The Ju­nior/U23 Team was based in Oster­sund in Swe­den this year, led by the hus­band and wife com­bi­na­tion of Nick and Lescin­ska Grim­mer.

There were a few anom­alies with the na­tional team se­lec­tion and any ath­lete who qual­i­fied for the ju­nior, U23 or Univer­sity World Cham­pi­onships were in­vited to train with the team. Un­for­tu­nately, it was an un­usu­ally bad snow sea­son in Swe­den early on, so the team skied plenty of ses­sions on a small loop of ar­ti­fi­cial snow.

Ju­nior ath­lete Casey Wright had a stel­lar sea­son and was re­cently named the 2014 Aus­tralian Ju­nior Cross Coun­try Skier of the Year.

Rac­ing high­lights in­cluded fin­ish­ing just in the top fifty at the World Ju­nior Cham­pi­onship, three top 16 re­sults at the Swedish World Ju­nior Tri­als and Aus­tralia’s best fe­male re­sult at the World Univer­sity Games.

Casey is part of a great group of young fe­male ath­letes com­ing through right now and who will make the step up to the World Cup stage be­fore too long. WORLD CUP Phillip Belling­ham was the out­stand­ing AUSXC skier on World Cup for the sec­ond year in a row, edg­ing closer and closer to the elu­sive top 30 and World Cup points.

He and World Cup coach, Au­gust Teague flew solo on a num­ber of events this sea­son while other ath­letes were ill or chas­ing points for Olympic se­lec­tion. At one par­tic­u­lar World Cup in Toblach, Phil was just 1.27 sec­onds out­side of the fi­nals.

Phil’s six­teenth place in the freestyle sprint time trial at the World U23 Cham­pi­onships was im­pres­sive and un­for­tu­nately the even­tual sil­ver medal win­ner tripped him up in his quar­ter fi­nal.

With such an im­pres­sive style, it’s safe to say that there are more sprint fi­nals to come in Phil’s fu­ture.

Es­ther Bot­tom­ley raced only two World Cups this sea­son but, has now racked up 41 in­di­vid­ual starts since her World Cup de­but 10 years ago.

The photo as­so­ci­ated that we have of her on the Swiss­lop­pet cir­cuit, was her first race back af­ter ill­ness about two weeks out from Sochi.

Af­ter the Olympics Es­ther found good form again in Switzer­land with a podium third place in the Swiss Cup in Sil­va­plana and twelfth place in the En­gadin Ski Marathon.

Many thanks to the sup­port­ers of AUSXC, in par­tic­u­lar Falls Creek which is the Na­tional Team Train­ing Cen­tre, Ski & Snow­board Aus­tralia and ev­ery­one who sup­ported the XC To­wards 2014 fundrais­ing cam­paign.

Look out for XC To­wards 2018 ac­tiv­i­ties com­ing up soon and fol­low Aus­tralian cross-coun­try ski rac­ing at www.ausxc.com and AUSXC on Twit­ter, In­sta­gram and Face­book.

PHO­TOS: Finn Mars­land

OLYMPIANS: Phillip Belling­ham, Es­ther Bot­tom­ley, Cal­lum Wat­son and Aimee Wat­son in Sochi.

PHO­TOS: Nick Grim­mer

JU­NIORS: The Ju­nior/U23 Team in Oster­sund, Swe­den, (back) Alasdair Tutt, Jack­son Bur­sill, Nick Mont­gomery, El­lie Phillips and (front) Xanthea Dewez, Ash Spit­tle, Casey Wright and Anna Trnka.

WORLD CUP: Phillip Belling­ham and coach Au­gust Teague at World Cup site Toblach, Italy.

SIL­VER MEDAL­LIST: Team mas­cot ‘Wally Wom­bat’ with Olympic sil­ver medal­list David Mor­ris in Sochi.

RAC­ING: Es­ther Bot­tom­ley rac­ing the Sur­selva Marathon in Switzer­land.

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