TC man helps U.S. cross-country win first Olympic gold

Feb 22, 2018

For the first time ever, the United States cross-country ski team has won an Olympic gold medal. 

Eli Brown, a ski technician from Traverse City, did his part to help make it happen.

Eli Brown says being apart of Team USA's first gold medal in cross-country skiing is "like a storybook."
Credit David Cassleman

A few weeks ago we met Eli Brown, a ski tech from Traverse City. He’s been working with the U.S. cross-country ski team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. 

Brown’s most important job is helping Team USA skiers figure out the best wax to use on their skis.

On Wednesday, he was a part of U.S. Olympic history. That's when Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins,won gold in the women’s freestyle team sprint event. 

Before that, the United States had only medaled once in cross-country skiing — that was back when Bill Koch won silver at the 1976 games.

"My high-five hand is pretty darn sore," says Eli Brown, who spoke with IPR from Pyeongchang. "There's been a lot of screaming, and a lot of hugging and crying and laughing. It's been amazing."

Eli Brown (holding cup in front of camera) celebrates with Team USA ski techs in the wax room after the American team won its first Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing.
Credit Eli Brown

Brown says the ski team worked hard to test a lot of different waxes to find the best combination to use during the race. 

Americans Jessie Diggins (left) and Kikkan Randall celebrate Team USA's first cross-country skiing Olympic gold medal.
Credit Eli Brown

"We definitely threw a lot of wax down on those skis," he says. "I'm not sure if that was part of the success or not, but it seemed we had good boards all night, especially Diggins at the end."

Eli Brown grew up cross-country skiing and dreamed about competing in the Olympics. While he never reached that goal, he says helping Team USA win its first gold medal is like a storybook. 

"It's definitely full-circle, and to be apart of it has been so amazing," he says.