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Cross-Country Skiing 101: Qualification & Team USA

Cross-Country Skiing 101: Qualification & Team USA
Posted at 3:46 AM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-12 11:08:00-04

There will be up to a total of 296 cross-country skiers – 148 male, 148 female – competing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Each nation can send up to 16 athletes, with a maximum of eight males or eight females. A nation may have no more than four athletes compete in any one event.

All participating skiers must have been born before Jan. 1, 2007.

Athletes can achieve FIS points from Jan. 16, 2021, through Jan. 16, 2022, and achieve points for Nation ranking from Nov. 27, 2020, and March 20, 2021.

The number of athletes per NOC and per gender is calculated using the FIS Cross-Country Nation Rankings 2020- 2021 (for points earned from Nov. 27, 2020, to March 20, 2021), with nations ranked 1-5 per gender earning an initial four quota places for the respective gender. Nations ranked 6-10 per gender will earn three places, respectively. Nations ranked 11-20 per gender will earn two quota spots for the respective gender, and nations ranked 21-30 per gender will earn one place, respectively.

The remaining quota places, up to the maximum of 148 per gender and up to the maximum eight per gender per NOC will be allocated using the FIS CrossCountry Nation Rankings 2020-21 in four rounds, with nations ranked 1-5 each earning one place, followed by nations 1-10 each earning one spot, then one place being allocated to each nation ranked 1-20, and finally allocating one quota spot per nation from the top of the rankings downwards.

China as host is eligible to receive four quota places per gender as long as those athletes meet the FIS eligibility criteria of having earned between Jan. 16, 2021, to Jan. 16, 2022:

  • A max. of 100 distance FIS points to compete in all distance and/or sprint events (incl. Men’s 50km, Women’s 30km and skiathlons);
  • A max. of 300 distance FIS pts. for Men’s 15km, Women’s 10km; and/or
  • A maximum of 300 sprint FIS points for the individual sprint.

The FIS Points List will be published on Jan. 17, 2022. The distance points list is calculated using the average of the athlete’s best five results in distance events during the July 1, 2019, to Jan. 16, 2022, Olympic qualification period. The sprint points list uses the avg. of the athlete’s best five sprint event results in the same period

Team USA

The U.S. cross-country skiing team will be announced on or before Jan. 18, 2022.

All FIS World Cup cross-country races and non-relay USA SuperTour and relevant Canadian Nor/Am cross-country events during the Nov. 25, 2021, to Jan. 16, 2022, selection period will be evaluated. World Cup points accrued in the Tour de Ski Final Climb, any Time of Day World Cup, the Dec. 18, 2021, Dresden World Cup individual sprint, plus any individual World Cup points accrued during relays and/or team sprints will be excluded from objective selection criteria. Such points, however, may be considered for discretionary selection.

If the U.S. has seven or more athletes of one gender, then five sprinters maximum will be chosen. With six or fewer athletes of a single gender, a maximum of four sprinters will be selected.

Selection to the Olympic team does not guarantee the right to start a race.

Athletes shall be named to the Olympic team by the following methods in order of priority:

  1. Top eight individual final World Cup placements (up to 75% of the total team quota – for both genders – will be filled by this method in the individual sprints, skiathlons, women’s 10km and men’s 15km events), with the athletes’ best single individual World Cup finish(es) serving as tiebreakers, if needed
  2. Discretionary selection (up to 25% of team), considering criteria including: athletes’ medal potential; best predicted placement; overall team contribution.

If quota spots remain, skiers may be selected to the U.S. team based on the following:

  1. Top 50 World Cup Sprint or Distance Standings, with the athletes’ best World Cup ranking serving as the 1st tiebreaker, followed by single individual World Cup finishes, if needed
  2. 2022 Championships Selection List, which is an accumulation of SuperTour points scored during the selection period and using the athletes’ best 2 finishes in a single discipline.

NBC Olympics Research contributed to this report

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