By James Crook

120211124227906 2Soule.mainpicture 612May 31 - The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) have announced the addition of 14 athletes, including nine active duty service members and veterans, to their 2013-2014 Paralympics Nordic Skiing National and Development teams, with six of those joining the ational team.

The number is an increase on the nine biathletes and cross-country skiers named to the team last season, echoing the growth of the programme as the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi draw ever closer.

"With less than 300 days until the start of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the United States is in a great position to be successful in the biathlon and cross-country events," said performance director for US Paralympics Nordic skiing John Farra.

"Not only do we have a solid roster of returning athletes like Dan Cnossen and Andy Soule, who were both medallists on the World Cup circuit last season, but we also have some new athletes like Tatyana McFadden and Oksana Masters, who are really eager to make an impression internationally."

Service members Dan Cnossen, Sean Halsted, Andy Soule and Jeremy Wagner have been included in the national team, along with triple wheelchair racing Paralympic champion Tatyana McFadden and Aaron Pike.

tatyanamcfaddenTriple Summer Paralympics champion Tatyana McFadden has received her first nomination for the US Paralympic Nordic Skiing team

Cnossen and Halsted took multiple medals on the World Cup circuit this year, whilst Halsted managed a fourth-placed finish in Sochi at the 2013 IPC World Cup Finals at the venue for the Winter Games.

Soule won a bronze medal in biathlon at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games; the first ever biathlon medal for a US athlete at the Olympic or Paralympic Winter Games.

McFadden and Pike receive their first ever call-ups to the squad after achieving success in London last summer at the Summer Games, and they will now be in with a chance of going for gold in Sochi should they make the squad.

Omar Bermejo, Kevin Burton, Travis Dodson and Erik Frazier are the service members that will join up with the development team, along with Jake Adicoff, Oksana Masters, Augusto Perez and Beth Requist.

In the months leading up to the start of the new season, a series of training camps will take place across the country before athletes compete at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup competitions in Canmore in Canada in December, then at Oberstdorf and Oberreid in Germany in January 2014.

The Paralympic biathlon and cross-country skiing national championships are due to be held from December 30 to January 8 at Soldier Hollow Ski Centre in Utah.

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