Kris Freeman Cut from U.S. Team: The Wrong Decision

On his blog, Kris Freeman wrote that he had been cut from the U.S. cross-country ski team for next year.  Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising.  At 50th in the 2012-13 FIS standings for distance skiers, he falls outside USSA’s objective criteria.  He’s had back to back tough years on the World Cup.  Freeman wrote that he was told that USSA expected him to qualify for the Olympic team for Sochi 2014.  He added that he was also informed that he wasn’t expected to medal.

I’m not the coach, and I’m not the accountant running the numbers to see what USSA can afford to spend on cross-country.  Yet looking at their decision, I have to wonder if USSA may have created a self fulfilling prophecy.

What US men are expected to medal in a distance event at the Olympics next year?  Noah Hoffman had a good year, but is long odds to take a podium at Sochi.  Other than Kris Freeman, there aren’t any other U.S. men I can see with a chance at an individual distance medal.

Torin Koos was a USSA stalwart who left the fold following the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.  He was another 30-something athlete who, in the USSA’s eyes, didn’t deliver enough results to remain on the team.  In the two years since he was cut, Koos has won national championships; he earned World Cup start rights this winter based on his SuperTour performances.  But on the World Cup, Koos had less than stellar results.

If the USSA expect Freeman to compete in Sochi, let them at least provide him with the support he needs to be competitive.