Poor World Cup start for Sweden: The goal of six Olympic medals remains, but some skiers might loose their spots if they don’t ski faster in the Canadian World Cup races.
The Swedish head coach Inge Braten’s goal of six medals at the 2006 Olympics has not changed despite poor World Cup results in Kuusamo last weekend (and in Norway the week before). But Braten will make changes if the results don’t improve in the upcoming World Cup races in Canada.
– We didn’t have a goal of being in the top in the first World Cup races, but it’s clear that we have to make changes if we don’t see improvements in the upcoming World Cup races, said Braten last Sunday.
He was not specific regarding what might change, but he didn’t rule out that some of the younger skiers might get a chance..
– My goal of six medals in the Olympics has not changed. I believe firmly that we can succeed, says Braten.
He had however hoped to see improvements from his skiers already at the start of the season. He believes that the Swedish skiers might not be as strong as their main competitors. He has concluded that there are some differences between how the Norwegian and the Swedish national team skiers are training.
– Swedish skiers are doing lots of rollerskiing. That means that they are doing lots of double poling (editors note: the Swedish terrain is in general more flat and easy rolling than what you find in Norway).
Norwegian skiers are doing a lot more running in tough terrain and long mountain runs. I believe that Swedish skiers need to start training more with their legs and other muscle groups. You can’t only stand there and double pole on rollerskis, says Braten.
Braten also want the national team skiers to be more responsible for their own training. He was also surprised when Johan Olsson and Anna Dahlberg skipped the Kuusamo World Cup races because their dog was sick.
– I have never experienced or heard about anything like this in cross country skiing or any other sport before. I’m not planning on commenting this more, said Braten.
The Swedish team departs for Canada on Wednesday.