Winter Olympics: Profile: Katie Calder, Cross-country skier

New Zealand team profiles

Katie Calder (29), Cross-country skier

Lives: Tauranga (born Canberra, Australia).

Event: Cross-country skiing has been an Olympic sport since 1924.

The leaderboards are dominated by European nations, with Canada and the US also having strong Olympic teams.

The sport was officially established in New Zealand in the 1990s at the Snow Farm.

Background: Calder has been cross-country skiing since 15 and first competed for New Zealand in 2008.

Initially specialising in sprint races, Calder is showing talent at endurance events and will race both distances at the Olympics.

Last year, she was second in the Swiss championships and won the Australian & New Zealand Cup.

She also won the Swiss Marathon Cup in 2008-09.

She performed strongly against the Canadians at the NZ Winter Games last year, despite suffering the 'flu, and won the women's B final in the sprint freestyle.

She was ninth in two FIS races in Switzerland in December, before finishing 73rd at the Davos World Cup 10km freestyle race in December.

She went on to achieve consecutive top five finishes in her last six FIS races in Europe, before competing at the Canmore World Cup last weekend, where she finished 46th in the sprint qualifier and lifted her start ranking by five places.

Chances: Calder qualified for the Olympics early in 2009 and has four races in both freestyle and classic disciplines.

She has been rebuilding from a broken wrist early this Northern Hemisphere season.

Unlike other New Zealand athletes, Calder has not been under added qualification pressure, so should be peaking mentally and physically for the Olympics.

Race days: February 15, 17, 19 and 27, at Whistler.


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