At a press conference yesterday, Gunde Svan was announced as the new General Manager of the Swedish National Team. A source in Sweden told FasterSkier that the announcement was “VERY unexpected.”
Svan will start immediately and will have responsibility for the Junior, U23, Men's, and Women's teams. Bengt Statin, the current head coach, will continue in that role with Svan overseeing operations as his boss and working with media, PR, bookings, tour plans, and general organization.
One significant motivation for the change so close to the start of the World Cup is the turmoil that has surrounded Team Sweden since the end of last season. The four top men on the team – Bjorn Lind, Anders SÃ¶dergren, and the two Fredrikssons – have left the National Team, boycotting training camps, and creating their own team complete with support staff. The federation is hoping that Svan will be able to reunite the team by the start of the World Cup season.
Gunde Svan is universally recognized as one of the greatest cross-country skiers ever. He won 16 World Championship and Olympic medals and the overall World Cup title five times. He retired in 1991 at the relatively young age of 29.
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