Team shows a focus on the best and youngest towards the three upcoming championship years.
The 2004-2005 Norwegian national teams were just announced. It represents according to the national team staff a natural focus towards the three upcoming championship seasons.
The first big championship is next years Oberstdorf Worlds in February. Then it’s the 2006 Olympics in Italy.
“We need to increase the focus and recourses to involve fewer skiers,” says chief of sport Hakensmoen.
The total numbers of athletes on the various teams are reduced from 44 to 37. There are still 12 athletes on the junior national team, which means that the cut has occurred among the senior skiers.
The national team staff chose to involve many young skiers this past season. Many of them got a chance to race World Cup in part due to the fact that there were four World Cup races held in Norway last season and these skiers could race on the national quota.
“Seeing how the young skiers fared in World Cups gave us a good way of evaluating each individual,” says Hakensmoen.
An offer to the best young skiers
The national team staff is increasing its focus and use of recourses on the top skiers but is not forgetting the young skiers. They are for that reason keeping a young profile on the development team where the average age for next season will be 23. Additional young skiers will get an offer to be a part of the â€œimpulseâ€ teams. These skiers get a chance to join the national team at 2-3 camps prior to the start of the season.
Scandinavian Cup will be the focus for the youngest skiers. It will be increasingly harder to qualify to race World Cup races next season. Filling the quota in each race is no guarantee.
The national team will increase the number of altitude training days next season not as much as a part of the preparation toward the Oberstdorf Worlds but as preparation toward the Olympics in Turin, Italy
Espen Harald Bjerke and Tore Bjonviken lost their spots on the regular elite team. Bjerke was moved (down) to the development team while Bjonviken was not given a spot on any team.
The sprint team was reduced by two skiers. Kristian Horntvedt was moved to the development team while Trond Einar Elden was cut completely.
“Elden had a fifth place in one World Cup race this season and it might seem tough to cut him. We have to consider that it’s a classic sprint in Oberstdorf Worlds next year and did not have a spot for Elden” said sprint coach Ulf Morten Aune.
The women’s teams were reduced from 12 to 8 skiers.
“It was a natural separation and gap between those we selected and those we cut. We chose young skiers for the impulse team. The second best skiers that are a little older like Anja Veum, Unni Odegard and Ann Eli Tafjord (that didn’t make any teams) know how to train” said women’s coach Svein Tore Samdal.