| Outside magazine, April 1996|
In what may spur twin national crises in Norway and Sweden, two American nordic skiers upstaged the Scandinavians at their national championships. Nina Kemppel of Anchorage, Alaska, who trains and races with the Oslo-based club Kjelsaas, skied the middle leg for her club's victorious 3x5 kilometer relay at the Norwegian championships in Stryn on January 21, making her the first non-Norwegian to earn gold there. Four days later, Kerrin Petty of Townsend, Vermont, became the first American to win at the Swedish championships, taking the 30-kilometer classic title. "Those countries tend to shrug us off. They say we don't have the patience to become good," says U.S. nordic coach Gordon Lange, basking in an unfamiliar glow. "I'm not sure they think that anymore."