Whilst now 4 months since the winter Olympics it is worth reliving a few of the moments and to celebrate just how well our team performed in PyeongChang.
But first to get things in perspective. The Olympics is the supreme test of any athlete in any sport.. There is no greater test with the very best of each country coming out to play. We compete against countries for whom XC skiing is like AFL, rugby, cricket, swimming or tennis. Physically XC skiing is up there as being the toughest in any sport when comparing the level of endurance, power and strength required to be competitive at the top level. To reach these lofty heights of fitness takes years of training and sacrifice. Just to be selected to compete in such a high - level competition is to be applauded and a milestone in any athlete’s career.
Callum Skiing at Seefeld (World Cup Sprints) just prior to the Olympics.
These Olympics we had 6 competitors which is a record for any Australian XC team at an Olympics and 2 more than the Sochi games in 2014. The team members being Barbara Jezersek (NSW), Callum Watson (NSW), Aimee Watson (NSW), Philip Bellingham (VIC), Jessica Yeaton (WA) & Casey Wright (VIC). AUSXC Head Coach Valerio Leccardi lead the XC contingent to Pyeongchang, with a dedicated support team of Randy Gibbs (head wax tech), Gus Kaeding (wax tech), Paul Moore (wax tech), and Finn Marsland (coach/tech). Callum and Barbara would be the most familiar to those skiing at Perisher in recent years, with Aimee also a home-grown Perisher skier.
Barbara Jezersek skiing at Toblach in a World Cup event prior to the Olympics.
The following linked reports have been kindly supplied by Finn Marsland. Finn himself spending now many years in a senior capacity managing and planning the advancement of our senior skiers to be able to compete at a high level at World Cup, World Championships and Olympic events.
Team Announcement, pre Olympics - https://ausxc.com/2018/01/28/six-xc-skiers-selected-for-pyeongchang-2018/
Mid-Olympic Update - http://ausxc.com/2018/02/16/pyeongchang-mid-olympic-update/
Final Wrap-Up - http://ausxc.com/2018/03/13/pyeongchang-wrap-up/
Prior to the Olympics members of the team had some exceptional results at the World Cup in Dresden, with Phillip Bellingham making his first ever World Cup Sprint final, and Jessica Yeaton & Barbara Jezersek finishing 10th place and Callum Watson & Phillip Bellingham 12th place in the Team Sprint, event.
In Pyeongchang all the athletes put in great efforts and performances, with the best results being Barbara’s 33rd place out of 90 skiers in the 10 km Freestyle(equalling the best ever previous result by Chris Heberle of Falls Creek in 1988), and the women’s Team Sprint where Jessica & Barbara came 12th out of 21 countries.
To finish off, because XC Skiing is not a front-line sport in Australia, fundraising is a very important part of the business plan to be able to support our skiers, not only at the Olympics but with all the competitions and training that needs to take place prior to the Olympics or the Olympic year.
Finn Marsland, again has kindly supplied me with the attached (Click Here) which detailed the “XC Towards 2018”campaign. This document also shows of some of the great results that the team has achieved along the way. Fundraising will be starting again building towards the 2022 Olympics. Along the way, please give a little to help us achieve bigger and better things. Keep in mind that a significant fund - raising event during XC Ski Week is the Sundeck Cup. Please come along, line up, ski the course and have some fun with all proceeds going towards supporting our top skiers.