Cover image for World class : the making of the U.S. Women's Cross-Country Ski Team / Peggy Shinn.
World class : the making of the U.S. Women's Cross-Country Ski Team / Peggy Shinn.
Publication Information:
Lebanon, NH : ForeEdge, an imprint of University Press of New England, [2018]

Physical Description:
xiv, 228 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : colour illustrations, portraits ; 23 cm


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
796.9320973 SHI Book Adult General Collection

On Order



What makes a great team? Sports journalist Peggy Shinn answers this question in her enthralling account of the dramatic rise of the U.S. women's cross-country ski team, winners of eight medals at three world championships over the past five years. Shinn's story--based on dozens of interviews with athletes, coaches, parents, spouses, and friends--paints a vivid picture of the obstacles that America's female athletes must overcome not just to ski with the world's best, but to beat them. In a sport where U.S. women have toiled for decades, mostly in the middle or the back of the pack, the development of a world-class team attests to the heady combination 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. This is the story of Kikkan Randall, Liz Stephen, Holly Brooks, Jessie Diggins, Ida Sargent, Sadie Bjornsen, Sophie Caldwell, Rosie Brennan, and coach Matt Whitcomb--and how they created the perfect team.

Author Notes

Peggy Shinn is a senior contributor to the U.S. Olympic Committee's website,, and a former contributing editor to Sid Racing magazine. She is also author of Deluge.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Women's cross-country skiing has a momentary spotlight at the Winter Olympics every four years, but otherwise competitors are fairly anonymous. The breakout success of the U.S. Women's Cross-Country Ski Team that formed in 2012 inspired sports journalist Shinn (Deluge) to spend time at training camps and competitions, with the athletes along with their coaches, trainers, families and friends, and even Ski Team alumni, in an effort to understand how the team became larger than the sum of its parts. Her detailed history shows how team members united against gender bias, funding challenges, injuries, and the ever-present specter of doping in their sport to create their own internal support system. More emphasis on how to help manifest that team spirit would make this a useful guide for trainers and coaches; still, it is a comprehensive account of the ski team that serves as a reminder that it's the journey, not the destination, that matters most. Verdict Fans of winter sports and unusual Olympics stories will enjoy learning how eight diverse and talented skiers and their coach bonded to push themselves to unexpected success on the world stage.-Janet Davis, Darien P.L., CT © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introduction The Relayp. 1
Part I Early Challenges
1 Women in Cross-Country Skiing, the Early Yearsp. 13
2 Olympic Strugglesp. 37
3 Torinop. 47
Part II The Team's Beginning
4 Team Leaderp. 57
5 The Coachp. 71
6 The Development Team and Growing Painsp. 83
Part III Building the Team
7 Beliefp. 113
8 Talentp. 133
9 Teamworkp. 157
Part IV The Power of Team
10 Sochip. 181
11 Onwardp. 198
Acknowledgmentsp. 219
Glossaryp. 223
Suggested Readingp. 227