In this episode we have Jake Adicoff and Sam Wood, calling from Lillehammer as the pair race as athletes and guides at the World Para Championships. Jake is a visually impaired athlete from Sun Valley who grew up racing the SVSEF cross-country ski program and now trains with the gold team. He participated in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi and the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, where he won a silver medal in the 10 km classic, as well as a 4th place in the sprint classic and 5th in the 20 km free.
Meanwhile, Sam is also a member of the SVSEF Gold Team, balancing his own training and racing goals with his support of Jake this season. Sam has twice top-10 finishes in SuperTour opening weekends this season and was in the Top 25 in both distance races at the US Cross Country Championships in Soldier Hollow. (Jake has also raced, independently, at the U.S. Nationals
Although it included career-best results, this racing year was not originally in Jake’s plans. He retired from professional skiing in 2018, traveling to San Francisco to work as an engineer for Uber, after graduating from Bowdoin College this spring with a degree in math and computer science. When the pandemic hit, he started working remotely from his parents’ house in Sun Valley (thinking it would only be for two weeks – remember?) and ended up training “casually” with his friends from the Gold Team. With some nudges from US Para Nordic and teammates like Sam, Jake began to realize he was still passionate about ski racing. and quite fit again, and he has started setting goals for the next Paralympic Games in 2022.
At the time of the call on Friday January 21, Jake had already won a World Championships gold medal in the 10km classic on Sunday the 16th and a bronze medal in the 15km skating on Tuesday the 18th. The day after the call , the duo rushed to second place in the 1.5 km classic sprint. Three races, three medals. This week, it’s clear that Jake is in great shape and will be a medal contender in Beijing.
In this conversation, we get into the dynamics of the athlete-guide partnership, as well as how being lifelong friends and teammates has contributed to their success in duet racing this season.
A quick glance at the audio, you’ll notice some crackling and a poor connection towards the end of the podcast. Thanks for listening.