Mammoth’s John Teller was named to the U.S. Freeskiing Olympic team on Tuesday for the skicross event in Sochi. Although Teller won the last Olympic qualifying race at the World Cup in Val Thorens, France on January 18th, he had to wait a few days before his official nomination to the team.
Skicross had it’s Olympic debut in 2010 and this year skicross athletes are part of the first ever U.S. Freeskiing Olympic team. Aerials, moguls, slopestyle and halfpipe are the other events included under the title “freeskiing.” The U.S. can only send 26 freeski athletes, split evenly between men and women, to Sochi in these five diverse events; that’s less than the normal four allotted spots for each event per gender.
With the new rules, the U.S. Freeskiing coaches and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) have to figure out their best chances at winning the most overall medals in Sochi, regardless of the individual events. Hence, Teller’s uncertainty of being nominated, even after his World Cup win on Saturday.
Teller received a phone call from the Olympic Team on Tuesday while training for the next World Cup race in Kreischberg, Austria on January 25. They asked him for his passport information so they can book his tickets to Russia. “That’s when it really felt real,” Teller told his mom, Debbie, director of Mammoth Child Care at MMSA.
When she congratulated him for accomplishing the biggest goal of his life, Teller responded, “I still have a lot of work to do.”