University of Maine at Presque Isle Nordic Ski Coach Alexei Sotskov is heading out on the trip of a lifetime this month when he travels to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics to serve as the Head Coach of the New Zealand Cross Country Ski Team.
Coach Sotskov will depart for Vancouver on Feb. 10 to attend his very first Olympic Games. The 2010 Vancouver Olympics begin with the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 12 and end on Feb. 28. The last race for Sotskov's team will be on Feb. 28.
As Head Coach for the small New Zealand team, he'll be overseeing everything from travel logistics and race entries to ski waxing and his athletes' physical and mental preparation. The members of the New Zealand Cross Country Ski Team are 23-year-old Ben Koons of Dunedin, New Zealand, who has been living in Maine for the past 7 years, is training with the Maine Winter Sports Center and has been on the New Zealand national team for two years, and Katie Calder, 29, of Tauranga, New Zealand, who has been on the New Zealand national team for four years."I'm very excited about this. Like any athlete or coach, it's the pinnacle of your career to go to the Olympics," Coach Sotskov said. "I'm hoping to gain some of the latest knowledge on what other coaches and teams are doing, how they ski, and how they prepare for races of this caliber. I'd also like to take part in the cultural experiences and just enjoy how a huge event like this gets organized. I'm thrilled to see how it all works."