Bodensteiner Defends American-held World Record

FasterSkierDecember 11, 2003

Director of U.S. Nordic Skiing Luke Bodensteiner sounded off today against those saying they’ve seen faster 100M skiers than the Americans.   “The Finns can say what they want — we have the record and the fastest 100M sprinters in the world today.  That’s the thing with world records, they are meant to be broken.  We welcome the world to go after our standard (using internationally standardized protocol). This will become an annual Soldier Hallow event.  We’re already looking to promote it more next year, make it a night race, under the lights with punk rock bands, crowds and everything.”

“To the uninitiated, sub-13 (seconds) is pretty fast,” Bodensteiner continued, “in two years though I think we’ll see a sub-12.  (Andy Newell’s) world record was done into a slight headwind, up a 1.5% grade on a too warm day, so we’re confident we’ll continue to set records.”   

The Finns contend their national record of 12.75 set last year – not Newell’s 12.76 — should be the recognized world record, saying it was done on a lake and everything. If a race is done on ice, and all FIS races are done on snow, at what point does skiing change to speed skating?  The alpine-style timing system the Finns used leaves too much to chance, explains Bodensteiner.  “The Finns used a start wand to begin their world record attempts.”  Ted Savage, owner of Precision Timing, FIS technical delegate and founder of the FIS timing working group, acknowledges ‘slop’ in the start wand, estimating that when a gate actually sends an impulse to the timer can differentiate by as much as several tenths of a second, depending on where a racer breaks through the wand.  “We used an electronic gun shot, that’s how 100M runners do it and how Trond Einer Elden did it for his former WR (12.99),” says Bodensteiner.  Beginning with a shot is the only recognized way to do it in track and field or swimming. Skiing should be the same; follow what’s proven to work.”

“The 100M is an interesting and great format, especially to those who aren’t ski enthusiasts.  There’s action every other minute. Spectators get to see the whole race, start to finish, talk about what they saw, then its time for the next competitor.”  Finally, something everyone can agree on.

Editor's Note: Torin Koos competed in the World Record attempt and had the second fastest time behind Newell.


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