Vermont’s secret Olympic pipeline

In February 2018, the US women’s cross-country ski team team won the first ever Olympic gold medals in their sport. Olympic skiers are now returning home, which for many of them is to Craftsbury, Vermont. This small northern Vermont community has become a pipeline for Olympic cross-country skiers, many of whom are part of the Green Racing Project at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. About half of the athletes on the Green Racing Project team competed in the 2018 Olympics. We talk with Judy Geer, founder of Green Racing Project, her two daughters who competed in the Olympics, and another recently returned Olympic cross-country skier to learn the secrets behind their success. We also discuss why American biathletes, who fire guns as part of their sport, are now speaking out in favor of gun control. (March 21, 2018 broadcast)

Judy Geer, Concept2, director, Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Green Racing Project, 1976, 1980 & 1984 Olympic rower

Hannah Dreissigacker, 2014 Olympic biathlete, member, Green Racing Project

Emily Dreissigacker, 2018 Olympic biathlete, member, Green Racing Project

Caitlin Patterson, 2018 Olympic cross-country skier, member, Green Racing Project

 

The fastest women in the world: The remarkable rise of the US Women’s XC Ski Team

The U.S. earned its only Olympic medal in cross-country skiing in 1976, when Vermont skier Bill Koch captured silver. That may soon change: The women of the US cross-country ski team are serious contenders for an Olympic medal in South Korea in 2018. [Note: On Feb. 21, 2018, Jessie Diggins & Kikkan Randall won an Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing, the first ever for Americans in this sport.]

In this Vermont Conversation, and author, coach and skiers discuss the remarkable rise of the US women’s cross-country ski team from being perennial back-of-the-pack finishers to winning numerous medals in world championship races. Author Peggy Shinn says it “attests to the power of a transformational leader, a coach who connects with his athletes, the super-fast individual skiers who are also conscientious teammates–and a bit of good luck.” (January 31, 2018 broadcast)

Peggy Shinn, author, World Class: The Making of the US Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team

Matt Whitcomb, coach, US Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team

2018 Olympic US Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team members:

  • Liz Stephen, 3x Olympian from E. Montpelier, Vt.
  • Jessie Diggins, 2x Olympian from Minnesota, trains in Vt with team from Stratton Mountain School 
  • Sophie Caldwell, 2x Olympian from Peru, Vt.

Vermont’s Senior Olympians Shatter Records and Stereotypes

Vermont has produced many Olympians, including some of the world’s top senior athletes. We talk with two of the world’s top senior athletes about the joys and challenges of competing into their ninth decade, and how it has prepared one of them to confront a life threatening cancer. These athletes compete in the Vermont Senior Games and the National Senior Games and encourage others to join them. (August 3, 2016 broadcast)

Flo Meiler, 82, Shelburne, Vt., participated in 13 National Senior Games (formerly the Senior Olympics), winner of over 702 medals, holds 26 world records in track & field

Barbara Jordan, 80, So. Burlington, Vt., holds several world records in track & field

Elliot Burg, photographer who documented senior athletes, gallery here