Medal hope Randall heads U.S. cross country ski team

Randall, Freeman and Newell will be joined by double Olympian Torin Koos, James Southam, Morgan Arritola, Caitlin Compton and Liz Stephen, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced on Tuesday.

U.S. medal hopes will lie largely with Alaskan Randall, who is nicknamed 'Kikkanimal' and became the first American woman to win a world championship silver medal in the freestyle sprint last year.

The 27-year-old, who finished ninth in the sprint at the 2006 Turin Games, will be taking part in her third Olympics.

Freeman, 29, is a diabetic who finished fourth in the 15km classical event at last year's world championships and will also be making his third visit to the Games.

Sprint specialist Newell, 26, made his Olympic debut in Turin four years ago and has featured prominently in this season's World Cup sprint standings.

"This is a team that goes to Vancouver well-prepared, with proven success in major international competitions," U.S. Nordic director John Farra said in a statement.

Randall, Freeman and Newell each qualified for the U.S. team based on World Cup results. The other five skiers got in via the USSA national ranking list.

The eight-member team is smaller than in the past, the result of a new Olympic quota system, and the line-up is subject to a final review by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Alastair Himmer)