Who do those Olympians do it? | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Who do those Olympians do it?

Provided by USSA

PARK CITY, Utah – With the 2006 Winter Olympics nearing, a common question is: “How does one make the U.S. Olympic Ski or Snowboard Team?”

Primary selection of most teams will come from results at World Cup events where athletes are tested against comparable Olympic-like fields of competitors.

Full details of the selection criteria are available from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, the century-old organization that serves as the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding, on its membership Web site at ussa.org. Choose the desired sport and then click on criteria/eligibility.

USSA, together with the U.S. Olympic Committee, will name teams for six different Olympic sports accounting for nearly 50 percent of the events Feb. 10-26 at the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

“Our general philosophy is to select as many athletes as possible against a competitive field that is similar to what they will face during the Olympics,” said Alan Ashley, USSA vice president of athletics.

“Historically, we’ve found the best way to select athletes who will have the best opportunity for Olympic success is from head-to-head competition against essentially the same field they will face in the Olympics, at Torino. It’s a very objective process, based on results; coaches have a bit of discretion if they need it in rare cases.”

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The team goal in snowboarding and skiing, Ashley said, is clear.

“Our goal is to be best in the world, which translates into winning more medals than any other nation at the Olympics in skiing and snowboarding. We reached our goal of 10 medals in 2002 at Salt Lake City and we’re confident – the coaches, the athletes, our staff – that we’ll have the most skiing and snowboarding medals next February,” Ashley said.

U.S. Freestyle Team moguls and aerials athletes will have an additional opportunity to qualify for the Games with the U.S. Ski Team Olympic Trials Dec. 30 in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Winners of the Olympic Trials will earn a wild-card spot and will be the first USSA athletes to qualify for the 2006 Olympics.

U.S. Snowboard Team selection will come from a defined set of results and events. The halfpipe selection events, for instance, are exclusively contests in U.S. Snowboarding’s Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix, the premier snowboard series in the country.

“Our selection process allows us to select those athletes who are skiing or riding the best as we head into the Olympics,” Ashley said.