Newell makes 3rd straight Games
BENNINGTON -- The U.S. Ski Team made their choices official for the newest crop of cross-country skiers for Sochi, and Shaftsbury's Andy Newell will represent the USA once again.
Newell will compete in his third Olympics -- starting in Turin, Italy, in 2006 and Vancouver, Canada, in 2010.
The Sochi games begin Feb. 6.
Newell was ninth in the men's team sprint discipline at the Vancouver Games, 13th in the 4x10K relay and 45th in the sprint after a crash.
In Turin, the Stratton Mountain School graduate was 13th in the team sprint and 16th overall.
The individual sprint is one lap of the 1.4-kilometer course, while the team sprint is two athletes skiing the course three times.
Newell has been peaking toward the end of the World Cup season, with a sixth-place finish in the sprint in Poland earlier this week -- the top American -- and three qualifying races with second-place runs in the past month in the Czech Republic and Switzerland. He was also eighth in the final on Dec. 31 at Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Newell is sponsored by the Bank of Bennington and is the only male athlete from Vermont on the U.S. team, which carries seven men and seven women overall. On the women's side, three skiers are Vermonters -- Ida Sargent (Orleans), Liz Stephen (East Montpelier) and Sophie Caldwell, another Bennington County product from Peru.
Athletes were chosen from World Cup and international points rankings.
Half of the U.S. ski roster, including Newell, has competed at an Olympic Games before.
"We have a unique opportunity to make history in Sochi," said USA cross-country coach Chris Grover in a press release sent out on Wednesday. "Our team speaks to years of dedication, experience and hard work with veterans setting the stage to turn that work into great results."
Other area athletes chosen for the Olympic team include snowboarders Kelly Clark (West Dover) and Hannah Teter (Belmont).
Yet another athlete with local ties was announced as qualifying for Sochi.
Ski-jumper Sarah Hendrickson, 19, is from Park City, Utah, and will compete as part of the first female ski-jumping team from the U.S. with a good chance to score a medal despite an injury suffered earlier this summer. Her grandmother, Guli, lives in Bennington.
Hendrickson, who won the World Championships in 2013, was featured in a November issue of New York Times magazine. Along with four other members of the team, she was part of an article about the struggle to get women's ski jumping into the Olympics. She was also featured on the back of a Kellogg's cereal box.
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