The Canadian Press reports that Cross Country Canada announced Thursday that Arild Monsen of Molde, Norway, is the new head coach of Olympic gold medalist Chandra Crawford, silver medalist Sara Renner and the rest of the team heading into 2010.
Dave Wood, who served in that position for a decade, has moved into the role of team leader and will oversee the logistics of the skiers' travel, training and competitions.
“It gives us a little bit more time so we can do things more thoroughly,” Wood said. “Everything is now more intensive and I believe more effective.”
Norway won 12 medals in cross-country skiing, biathlon and nordic combined at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Monsen, 46, is a former national-team racer for Norway, and is right beside the Canadian skiers on their training runs and roller-ski runs.
“I'm not so old that I can't run three hours with them,” he said. “I can be beside them and go over technique with them and work closely with them and I think that's key.”
The Canadian team opens the World Cup season Nov. 21 in Gallivare, Sweden.
Renner, a silver medallist in the team sprint with Beckie Scott in 2002, says her training changed under Monsen and she does more running and roller-ski work than biking.
“Arild has added a whole new perspective to our program and sometimes you need to change things up and do thing differently,” Renner said. “The training has some aspects of what we used to do, but it's brought a lot of new Norwegian flavours.
“I still have a lot to learn, especially on the technical side because he's very strong in technique. I feel like my skating has come a long way.
“He has a strong opinion and he's whipping us into shape.”
Monsen was coaching 10 Norwegian developmental team athletes last winter and he says five of them graduated to the country's senior squad. He says his wife encouraged him to take the opportunity to help the Canadian team prepare for their own Olympics.
“It's a big experience, it's a challenge and I look forward to it,” he said.
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Canadian cross-country ski team hires Norwegian coach for 2010 Olympics
Source: The Canadian Press