The US Men's Olympiad team has been announced. There are new faces on the team, although they are only new for the US. Onischuk is the highest-rated player and is also the youngest, turning 29 tomorrow. Novikov and Goldin are making their Olympiad debuts for the US, although both are 40-year-old veterans. Gulko, Kaidanov, and Shabalov round out the Soviet, I mean American, squad. According to John Donaldson's Mechanic's newsletter, even the USA team captain will be a Soviet veteran; Boris Postovsky led many Soviet teams in his long career and will now do the same for the US. (It's possible he may have even led a few of his current charges back when they were juniors.)
Two years ago it was already trite to suggest that the US team was getting too long in the tooth to compete under the rigors of the faster time controls and fewer off days of the Olympiad. The US won silver with a veteran team in 1998, but has shown more wear and tear in the last two events. From top to bottom the US team is one of the highest rated in the field. You still have to wonder why top young American stars Nakamura and Akobian aren't on the squad.
Not literally; we KNOW why. The selection formula goes back to April, 2003, so their strong performances in recent months don't have much impact. They focus on the US rating. Using the latest FIDE list would put Nakamura on the team as #6 since Seirawan has largely retired and Kamsky hasn't been active. Young American players have very few chances to gain international experience. While the "ratings only" system avoids controversy (witness the brouhaha over the women's team), it seems a shame. John Henderson suggests that the team's plane take a detour on the way to Calvia and play in the world senior championship!