To find an elite cross-country skier you should always ask their Mum. In the conversations that I have had with the mothers of top athletes I have found one thing in common that was obvious from early childhood- an unremitting focus. Sheila Sim, the mother of Ben Sim, Australia’s new rising star in the world of cross-country skiing, says that he had in spadefuls from when he was young.
This can been seen recently when Ben who just recently turned 20, was finishing a 40km rollerski session and accidentally put his pole underneath his front wheel (and who hasn’t done that at least once!). He fell heavily on his hand and fractured his thumb. He was told by his doctor to rest to allow the swelling in the hand to settle down. Sheila Sim says that Ben was bouncing around the walls in frustration at not being able to exercise for those few days.
But you can’t keep a good man down for too long. As soon as the tracks were groomed in June at Perisher Valley Ben was off skiing again
with one pole. He trained with one pole, he went racing
with one pole. Ben’s whose goal is to make the Olympic team for the 15km classic in Torino was going in classic races with this overused pole. He says that this mono limb skiing was good for his legs but doing too much of it was bad for his upper body as he became de-trained there. He also couldn’t do the necessary upper body work in the gym as well.