Winter Olympics: Profile: Ben Koons, Cross-country skier

New Zealand team profiles

Ben Koons (23), Cross-country skier

Lives: Maine, United States (born Dunedin, dual NZ-Canadian citizen).

Event: Cross-country skiing has been an Olympic sport since 1924 and was officially established in New Zealand in the 1990s.

Background: The former Otago Boys High School pupil learned to ski at the Snow Farm before moving to Canada with his family.

He first competed for New Zealand in 2005.

Koons has spent several seasons based at Wanaka and competed at the Winter Games last year where he finished 18th in both the 15km classic race and the 10km freestyle race.

He qualified for the Olympics at FIS races in Munio, Finland, in November.

Last month he won the TD Bank Eastern Cup in Rumford, Maine, and was 13th in the Nor-Am Cup at Valcartier, Canada.

Chances: Koons is building to the 2014 Olympics.

With most cross-country skiers peaking in their late 20s or early 30s, Koons has time on his side.

His form looks promising for a personal best at the Olympics where his best race is likely to be the 50km classic.

Race days: February 15 (15km free), February 17 (individual sprint classic), February 20 (30km pursuit) and February 28 (50km classic), at Whistler.


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