Here is a rundown of Alaska's Olympic athletes as compiled by the Anchorage Daily News:

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2002

Nina Kemppell

Sport: Cross-country skiing

Hometown: Anchorage

Age: 31

Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 140 pounds

Career highlights: Kemppel has won a record 18 national ski championships and is a four-time Olympian. Her best Olympic finish was 27th in the 30-kilometer classical race in 1994.

Outlook: A top-20 finish, even higher, is possible in the 30-K classical, her best race (Feb. 24). If she's healthy, she could race in everything but the sprints: the 15-K freestyle (Feb. 9), the 10-K classical (Feb. 12), the 5-K classical and 5-K freestyle pursuit (Feb. 15) and the 4x5-K relay (Feb. 21).

Also: West High graduate is a dominant mountain runner who has won a record seven Seward Mount Marathon titles and is a past champ in the Mayor's Marathon and Crow Pass Crossing. Her dogs, Bugs and Bula, came from Iditarod musher DeeDee Jonrowe.

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Wendy Wagner

Sport: Cross-country skiing

Hometown: Anchorage and Park City, Utah

Age: 28

Height/weight: 5-foot-4, 138 pounds

Career highlights: A first-time Olympian, Wagner scored her first World Cup points last season and posted two top-30 results at the World Championships. Capped season with fifth-place finish in Sweden's prestigious 30-K classical race, the Tjejvasan.

Outlook: Classical skiing is Wagner's specialty, and the 30-K classical (Feb. 24) is her strongest race. She'll also ski the scramble leg for the relay (Feb. 21) and should see action in the 10-K classical (Feb. 12) and one-day pursuit (Feb. 15).

Also: Attended Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., where she skied with Anchorage's Amy Crawford. Began training with Jim Galanes and the APU/Gold 2002 after college five years ago. Grew up near Olympic trails in Soldier Hollow.

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Kikkan Randall

Sport: Cross-country skiing

Hometown: Anchorage

Age: 19

Height/weight: 5-foot-6, 124 pounds

Career highlights: A high school athlete only a year ago, Randall scored World Cup points in her debut at that level last season. She won her first senior-level national championship last month, a year after sweeping the gold medals at the junior national championships.

Outlook: Randall's strength is the sprints (Feb. 19); that's the event she won at the national championships. If she gets out of the preliminary round, anything can happen, because Randall is a fierce head-to-head competitor. She is likely to ski the relay anchor leg (Feb. 21) and could get a start in the one-day pursuit (Feb. 15) and the 10-K.

Also: Randall claimed three state high school championships in cross-country running and three more in track at East High, and as a bonus she won the school's bodybuilding contest as a first-time entry her senior year. Doesn't go anywhere without a video camera. Aunt Betsy and uncle Chris Haines were also Olympic skiers.

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Aelin Peterson

Sport: Cross-country skiing

Hometown: Fairbanks

Age: 27

Height/Weight: 5-foot-6, 128 pounds

Career highlights: A first-time Olympian, Peterson placed second in the 30-K classical at the national championships last month. The Olympics will mark her first international competition since she went to the World Junior Championships as a teen-ager.

Outlook: She established herself as a sprinter early in her comeback, but she has since proven herself at every distance. A strong freestyle skier, her best events are the sprints (Feb. 19) and one-day pursuit (Feb. 15), races in which she has shined this season. She is expected to ski a skate leg in the relay (Feb. 21) and could start the 15-K freestyle (Feb. 9). Top 30 would be a good finish in any event.

Also: A graduate of West Valley High in Fairbanks, she learned to ski in Unalakleet, where she grew up. Skied at Northern Michigan but stopped skiing, even recreationally, for five years to pursue a career as an equity trader. In the second year of a comeback originally focused on the 2006 Olympics.

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Lars Flora

Sport: Cross-country skiing

Hometown: Anchorage

Age: 24

Height/weight: N/A, 157 pounds

Career highlights: Won his first national title by taking the pursuit victory in a photo-finish with Carl Swenson last month. That, along with a bronze medal in the 30-K freestyle, earned him a spot on his first Olympic team.

Outlook: Best event is the sprint (Feb. 19) and could get a shot in the 30-K freestyle (Feb. 9). Has never scored World Cup points, so a top-30 finish would be a strong result.

Also: Trains with APU/Gold 2002 team and is a past champion of the Crow Pass Crossing running marathon. Brother Erik came to Alaska several years ago to ski for UAA, and the rest of the family has followed. A strong freestyle skier who has been competitive at every distance this season.

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Alan Alborn

Sport: Ski jumping

Hometown: Anchorage

Age: 21

Height/weight: 5-foot-11, 130 pounds

Career highlights: Alborn, a two-time Olympian, has placed in the top 10 in three World Cup events this season, the best results by an American in more than a decade. Alborn reached a ski-jumping milestone last season when he cracked the 200-meter mark and set the U.S. distance record with a jump of 210 meters.

Outlook: The bigger the hill, the better he flies, so look for a top-10 finish -- maybe better -- in the 120-meter competition (Feb. 12-13). Alborn is also a threat in the 90-meter competition (Feb. 8-9) and Saturday).

Also: Attended Wendler Middle School but obtained his high school degree through correspondence school. Has been a licensed pilot since 17. Learned to jump on the Karl Eid Ski Jumps at Hilltop Ski Area, where he would sneak over to the jumping hill after his parents dropped him off next door for what they believed would be a session of Alpine skiing.

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Rosey Fletcher

Sport: Snowboarding

Hometown: Girdwood

Age: 26

Height/weight: 5-foot-9, 155 pounds

Career highlights: She was third in last season's World Cup standings for parallel giant slalom, the event she'll race at the Olympics Feb. 14-15. Owns three World Championship medals (silvers in 2001 and 1999, bronze in 1997) and six national championships.

Outlook: A legitimate medal contender entering her second Olympics. Fletcher crashed in the first run of the giant slalom at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

Also: Bought a house last year in Girdwood where she grew up. Mixes pleasure with business on the World Cup circuit, where getting ready for post-race parties includes picking out her favorite wig. Has a tattoo of a raven on her shoulder.

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Rachel Steer

Sport: Biathlon

Hometown: Anchorage

Age: 23

Height/weight: 5-foot-8, 135 pounds

Career highlights: The winner of more than 10 national championships, her biggest international results came at the 1997 World University Games, where she claimed a silver medal and a bronze medal. Steer, a first-time Olympian, has placed in the top 30 in World Cup racing twice, including once this season.

Outlook: If Steer's shooting is on, she is a top-20 threat in both the 15-kilometer race (Feb. 11) and 7.5-K race (Feb. 13). Will also race in the pursuit (Feb. 16) and relay (Feb. 18).

Also: Spent the early season training in Germany. Comes from an athletic family that includes brother Zach, an Iditarod veteran, and sister Becky, a triathlete and former college skier. Was a skier and swimmer at Service High.

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Jeremy Teela

Sport: Biathlon

Hometown: Anchorage

Age: 25.

Height/weight: 5-foot-11, 180 pounds

Career highlights: Turned in his best race ever at last year's World Championships, placing ninth in the 10-kilometer sprint race.

Outlook: He is perhaps the strongest skier among the Americans, so if he is shooting well and his skis are fast, a top-10 finish isn't out of the question in either race, the 20-kilometer race (Feb. 11) or the 10-K sprint (Feb. 13).

Also: A member of the Army's World Class Athlete Program. Starred in skiing at Service High, where he was a state Skimeister and a junior national champion.

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Jay Hakkinen

Sport: Biathlon

Hometown: Kasilof

Age: 24

Height/weight: 5-foot-11, 155 pounds

Career highlights: He made U.S. history by winning the sprint at the 1997 World Junior Championships, where no American before or since has won a gold medal. He has been the nation's top biathlete since and has placed in the top 10 in four World Cup events.

Outlook: He's got the talent for a top-10 finish if his skiing and shooting come together in the same race, whether it's the 20-kilometer race (Feb. 11) or the 10-kilometer race (Feb. 13).

Also: The family home in Kasilof has four dogs, three goats, one pony, one cat, geese and chickens. Skied for Skyview High and took up biathlon while a foreign-exchange student in Norway. Summers sometimes find him commercial fishing with his family at Bristol Bay.



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