A second Middlebury College alumnus has claimed the final spot on the 2010 Olympic Cross Country Ski Team. The selection of Simi Hamilton of Aspen, Colo., a former All-American at Middlebury, was announced Thursday after the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) received an 11th and final quota spot. Hamilton, who graduated from Middlebury last spring with a degree in Geology, joins former teammate Garrott Kuzzy '06 as members of the U.S. Team. The duo join former Panthers Andrew Johnson ('02-Salt Lake, '06-Torino), Dorcas Denhartog '87 ('88-Calgary, '92-Albertville, '94-Lillehammer) and Sue Long '82 ('84-Sarajevo) as nordic skiing Olympians. Middlebury is now one of two NCAA programs with more than one Olympian slated to compete in Vancouver (Utah).
At Middlebury, Hamilton earned All-American honors three times, including top 10 finishes in the 10K and 20K races in 2009. During his senior year, he won four of the six carnival races he skied in after returning from a U.S. Ski Team trip to France for the U23 World Championships.
"I've known Simi Hamilton for more than 10 years- having first coached him at my previous position in Colorado," said Middlebury College Nordic Head Coach Andrew Gardner. "I believe it goes without saying that he's the most talented skier in the U.S., but watching how he's grown and taken possession of that deep well of talent makes me incredibly proud of him as a person. Making this team is a culmination of a lot of work, but it also is a beginning of another level of racing for Simi. We're grateful for his time at Middlebury and we'll be watching as he continues to succeed in Vancouver and beyond."
Hamilton, who is now training with coaches Travis Jones and Rick Kapala in the Sun Valley Olympic Development Program, is one of the fastest U.S. sprinters. He won four qualifiers in the USSA SuperTour, Canadian NorAm and U.S. Championship events, and took U.S. title in the freestyle sprint. Earlier this week, he led sprint qualifying by over a second in the Under 23 World Championships in Germany.
"Simi has definitely raised some eyebrows this season with his pure speed in the sprint events," said U.S. Cross Country Head Coach Pete Vordenberg. "He is a talented young athlete who will be a great addition to the Olympic Team."
Athletes are presently training around the country, preparing for a pre-Olympic camp and World Cup on the 1988 Olympic trails in Canmore, Alberta from February 1-8. The team will arrive in Vancouver on Feb. 9 to prepare for a schedule that includes 12 medal events.
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