Nash makes dash for Olympic team
Olympic Valley resident Marcus Nash’s dream of competing on the U.S. Olympic Team in Nagano, Japan, next February came one step closer to being fulfilled last week, as the Nordic skier was informed by the U.S. Ski Team that he is guaranteed starts on the World Cup circuit through Christmas.
“One top-30 result in a World Cup race would guarantee a spot on the Olympic Team,” said Nash, 26, who finished 65th in the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer. “There will be at least four races on the World Cup before Christmas.”
Nash, who won the national title in 15-kilometer freestyle skiing in January, is one of only four American cross-country skiers who the U.S. Ski Team has guaranteed World Cup starts. The others are Justin Wadsworth, Nina Kempel and Karin Petty. Last season, Nash cracked the top-30 in a World Cup race two times.
“It’s important because the U.S. Ski Team will pay the way to those competitions,” Nash said. “The other skiers who stay in the United States won’t get as much funding.”
If Nash is unable to secure an Olympic spot during the World Cup races, he will have to qualify at the Olympic Trials set for Dec. 30 in Lake Placid, N.Y. Five men will qualify for the Nordic team based on the results of three trials races.
“I hope to qualify before the trials,” Nash said. “You never know – you might wake up with a cold during the trials.”
Nash, who moved permanently to Olympic Valley earlier this year, said he’s had one of his best summers of training preparing for the Olympics.
“I’ve trained more hours than ever before this summer,” Nash said. “I’ve been running, roller-skiing, weightlifting, road biking and doing skiing-specific exercises.”
Nash said some of the U.S. coaches were skeptical when he told them he was moving to Olympic Valley from Utah.
“They thought there would be too many people and too much traffic, but I’ve been real happy about the move,” Nash said. “It’s been awesome – now my buddies like to come out and train here, too.”
Potential training mecca
Nash said the Tahoe-Truckee area has the potential to gain the reputation as a “mecca” for cross-country skiers.
“Most of the top skiers live in the West, but the only real mecca for cross-country skiers is Bend, Ore.,” Nash said. “My friend Pat Weaver, who’s spending this summer in Bend, spent last summer in Tahoe and he says he likes it better here.”
Nash said he hoped to work with the Auburn Ski Club in the future to develop some young American talent in cross-country skiing, which is currently dominated by Scandinavians and Eastern Europeans.
“One of the big benefits to this area is the Auburn Ski Club, which has good support and facilities,” Nash said. “I’d like to work in the future with some of the better, young skiers who would be excited about one day racing on the national team.”
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