First Swedish Training Camp Of The Year:
Thomas Alsgaard crushed the Swedish dream about Worlds relay gold 1200 meter from the finish on the last leg in 2003. Sweden’s anchor skier Jorgen Brink was suddenly nicknamed The Wall. The new men’s coach, Inge Braaten has now brought Alsgaard in to the coaching staff to help Brink and the other national team skiers.
For background stories see: Play By Play of the 2003 Men's World Championship Relay http://www.fasterskier.com/racing265.html
Incredible! WC Relay Still Making Headlines
Norwegian newspaper VG http://www.vg.no/pub/vgart.hbs?artid=278493 reported the following from when they met at the first camp a few days ago:
Brink was quoted saying: – The respect became my downfall
Thomas Alsgaard was the nightmare when Sweden lost what looked like a â€œcan’t looseâ€ Gold. Jorgen Brink became Sweden’s scapegoat and Norwegian newspapers nicknamed him â€œThe Wallâ€ after he hit the wall on the last leg.
– Welcome, said a smiling Jorgen Brink. He shook hands with Thomas and is looking forward to working with the man that caused him the worst experience of his life.
Brink was leading by 28 seconds to Alsgaard 2800 meters from the finish line. The Norwegian passed him with 1200 meters to go.
– I skied that part of the race faster than the prolog in the sprint, said Alsgaard
– Brink froze up because he knew it was Thomas that chased him, said Frode Estil after the race.
Brink confirmed this. Alsgaard is now hired to help Brink and the rest of the Swedish team. He will together with Braaten work on changing the culture around the team and have tougher requirements.
What can you learn from Alsgaard?
[Jorgen Brink] – A lot. His routine and tactical skills are alone worth bringing him here for. But I’m also hoping to learn about technique and how to approach hard competitions.
What happened in the relay?
– The respect for Thomas’ finish skills became too high. I was able to keep him behind me on the first lap, but struggled with negative thoughts on the last lap and froze up and hit the wall.
Would it have happened with anyone else chasing you?
– Probably not, I had both Alsgaard and Teichman chasing me. Two very good skiers. No one else would have given me such problems.
Do you think about it often?
– I’m thinking about it now and it’s occasionally being brought up in conversations. Braaten is telling me that I just have to live with these thoughts and I believe he is right.
Thomas, Is it special to meet Brink again?
[Thomas Alsgaard] – No, he had a bad day. Something that has happened to a number of skiers in relays. That’s part of sport. Brink showed a few days later in 2003 that he is mentally strong by capturing a medal in the 50-kilometer.