Athlete Spotlight: Simi Hamilton
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Name: Simi Hamilton
Sport: Cross-country skiing
Recent results: Eighth, Scandinavian Cup classic sprint, Muonio, Finland; 24th, World Cup classic sprint, Kuusamo, Finland; 33rd, World Cup skate sprint, Quebec City, Canada.
To be back in North America this early in the season is a strange but wonderful feeling. Usually, our fall race schedule requires us to stay in the dark and often cold compounds of Northern Europe through the middle of December – and sometimes even through Christmas. But this year’s fall races in Finland and Sweden felt like a blink, and now we find ourselves back on this side of the pond. It’s good to be back in a part of the world that is light for more than three hours a day, and you can find a large cup of coffee that is actually large.
Although my recent results on the World Cup are not what I ideally hoped they would be, I am feeling more fit than I have ever been this time of year, and I am still confident that I will see some great results on the World Cup circuit further down the road this season. We have one more sprint this weekend in Canmore, Alberta, which will mark the end of the racing for the first period of the World Cup season. I have always loved racing at the Canmore venue, and its high altitude seems to suit my Aspen personality well. That and the fact that I am pretty fired up to ski fast after what felt like a poor personal performance in Quebec City last weekend. It should be a good weekend.
Although my results have not reflected where I feel like I should be placing right now, it is indescribably amazing to be part of a movement in U.S. cross-country skiing that has never been seen before. So far, we have had a distance relay podium, a team sprint win and three individual race podium results (including Kikkan Randall’s recent win in the individual skate sprint in Quebec City). Needless to say, if you haven’t tuned in to the direction that our team is going in, especially on the women’s side, you need to start immediately. Our men’s team is close behind on their heels, and we are truly becoming one of the world’s cross-country powerhouses, all with half the budget that the other dominant teams have. The ball is rolling, and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to be part of the momentum that our team has created.
Spending the holiday break at home will be a welcome change to last year, when I spent six straight months in Europe. It will be a great opportunity to get in some great training, spend time with family and friends and get out on skis with many of the cross-country skiers in our great community. If you wake up on a snowy December morning and feel the urge to get out for a lap or two on the high school trails, come find me. I’ll be out there.
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