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World Class
The Making of the U.S. Women's Cross-Country Ski Team
Peggy Shinn

2018 • 248 pp. 38 color illus. 6 x 9"
Skiing / Olympics

$19.95 Paperback, 978-1-5126-0065-0
$14.99 Ebook, 978-1-5126-0181-7

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“A comprehensive account of the ski team that serves as a reminder that it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters most.”—Library Journal

The importance of teamwork in the success of U.S. women at the world cross-country ski championships

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.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Coaches, competitors, female athletes in general, and parents of competitors will find this a good read as will anyone interested in learning more about what it takes to get to the Olympics, or why colorful socks matter.”—SnoCountry

“[An] enthralling account. . . . This is a timely book, not only because the members of US cross country ski women’s team have been reaching the podium more regularly in the last few years, but because of  the prominence of women’s issues and current events in today’s world.”—XC Ski

"World Class: The Making of the U.S. Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team. . . is a marvel, and I now have a bunch of new heroes – or, mostly, heroines. . . . [The book] is authoritative, fun, perceptive, well-researched and very well-written – drawing you in by telling stories and painting pictures of people and their times. . . . World Class doesn’t simply give you rare insight into how the Team works – it’s like being adopted into a particularly close-knit family."

“While a book about cross-country skiing might appeal to a narrow audience, Shinn transcends niche by taking a broader look at the issues female athletes face throughout American sports.”—
Seven Days

“Who knows, maybe the smiling and self encouragement
is the secret sauce. Or perhaps, as Shinn posits, it’s the teamwork thing.”—Outside

“Shinn’s expounding of results and milestones is well-presented, explaining significant achievements over the last half-century without drowning readers in statistics. Finish times are included tactfully, only to provide context. . . . The knowledge that it all paid off for these women in the form of a victory in Pyeongchang makes Peggy Shinn’s
World Class: The Making of the U.S. Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team an even more enjoyable read.”—Valley News

“A well-deserved tribute to an amazing team. Belief and perseverance coupled with an ‘athlete’s coach’ and teamwork are the key ingredients that make the magic happen.”—Bill Koch, 1976 Olympic silver medalist and 1982 overall World Cup champion in cross-country skiing

“With remarkable insight into how the women of the U.S. Ski Team have become one of the most powerful teams in the world, Shinn’s writing is filled with intimate glimpses of all the key players. A compelling read.”—Peter Graves, former racer and ten-time Olympic Games announcer

“Teamwork, resilience, creativity: these are some of the virtues that powered the U.S. women’s cross-country team to a breakthrough in a sport long dominated by other nations. Shinn’s reporting legwork and storytelling instincts immortalize the tale of these tough and innovative athletes.” —Nathaniel Vinton, author The Fall Line: America’s Rise to Ski Racing’s Summit

“An inspiring example of the strength of collective human will, positive thinking, and teamwork. For everyone, a lesson in positivity, perseverance, and being creative in turning a tide roiling against you.”—Chad Salmela, former U.S. biathlon team member, college coach, and NBC commentator

Author Photo

PEGGY SHINN is a senior contributor to the U.S. Olympic Committee’s website,, and a former contributing editor to Ski Racing magazine. She is the author of Deluge: Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont’s Flash Floods, and How One Small State Saved Itself.

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:08:06 -0500