World Class

The Making of the U.S. Women's Cross-Country Ski Team

Peggy Shinn

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.

Paper: $19.95 | E-book: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9781512600650
Pages: 248 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: February 6, 2018


  • 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
  • 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.

  • [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

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