Longtime NNF Athletes Ben Berend and Adam Loomis have qualified for the World Championship team. We caught up with the Nordic Combined athletes on their plans leading up to the event in Falun.
I’m currently preparing for the Championships in Planica, Slovenia with Taylor Fletcher, Michael Ward and Colin Delaney. We’re getting some good training here on the cross country trails right outside our door, and our wax-tech Andrej Jezersek is coaching us on the jump hill. (Andrej competed in Nordic Combined and skied for Slovenia in the Salt Lake Olympics). Next week, we’ll head to Ramsau, Austria and meet up with the World Junior Team after they return from Almaty. Taylor and I are planning on competing in one of two days of Continental Cups in Ramsau, as a prep race before Falun. Both Planica and Ramsau are “home away from home” places for us; it’s great to be training and staying in familiar places between competitions.
Falun will be my first World Championship and I’m excited for the opportunity to represent the US team. I’m shooting to be on my A-game for the 4-man team event especially. We’ll likely be one of the fastest teams on the race course and have a real podium shot if everything comes together right. On the individual side, I’m not putting too much pressure on myself, but I know a top-20 is well within reach on any day.
This has been my first year of competing consistently on the World Cup, and I’ve been able to break through with three top 30’s so far. This has been a big step up for me, especially in comparison to the last couple years, where I haven’t reached all of my performance goals. Although I still have a long way to go, I’m proving to be an example of how work ethic and persistence eventually pays off. When I first made the Ski Team in 2012, I fully bought into our training system and am really starting to see the rewards now, especially on the cross country side.
This year I’ve been fortunate to have numerous chances on the circuit to not only earn points but gain valuable experience. So far, my best result came in Chaux-Neuve, France, with a 21st place finish. I hope to make the Championships a big highlight of the year, and to end the season strong in Lahti, Finland and Trondheim, Norway.
I’m really grateful for everyone that supports our team, from parents to community members to our coaching and service staff. They’ve made it possible for us all and have never stopped believing in me.
I’m on a little bit of a different agenda than the rest of the world champ team. Currently I’m traveling back from the Almaty JWC’s and am headed toward Ramsau, Austria. There I will meet up with Taylor and Adam. We will compete in the Ramsau Continental Cup this weekend then head to Falun.
For me, I dont really have any expectations because I have no idea what to expect. As the 5th man and youngest member of the team my biggest goal is just to absorb all the information that comes my way. Our team consists of Olympic and World Championship medalists who I can learn a lot from. It will be awesome to see first hand how Bill, Bryan, Taylor, and Adam prepare and handle a championship event.
My biggest advice for the young guys in our sport is just to stay patient and work hard. Improvement doesn’t happen overnight so don’t get frustrated if it takes some time. If you put in the work though, it will ALWAYS pay off eventually. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from any of us older guys. We not only want to achieve our goals but we want to help you achieve yours as well. It may be an individual sport, but it’s a team effort.
As I mentioned above, my preparation has been different than the other guys on the World Champs team. Since this is my last season as a junior, all of my prep was aimed towards the Junior World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan. I started the season out feeling a little unprepared due to injury so every single race has been huge for me. I’ve been competing in Europe for the last 6 weeks and with every race I felt stronger. Right before the JWC’s I placed 23rd in a Continental Cup in Slovenia which gave me a ton of confidence going into Almaty last week. I feel like I really nailed my preparation for last weeks Junior World Championships where I had two of my best competitions of the season finishing in 20th and 13th place. Now I’m focusing my attention on gaining valuable experience at the highest level of the sport. I couldn’t be more thrilled!
So much love goes out to everyone who has made this possible for me. I want to thank my parents, coaches, teammates, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, One Way, Madshus, Feed The Machine, Honey Stinger, and the NNF.
The NNF's mission is to support athletic excellence in developing nordic athletes in the United States.
“To the people behind NNF: Simply put we couldn’t do it without NNF behind us! Rallying the country behind us, making sure our athletes get to the camps and races… You guys rock!”- Kikkan Randall