NewsOlympicsMore From the Tech’s Point of View

FasterSkier FasterSkierFebruary 20, 201012
Marit Bjoergen (NOR) celebrates her 2nd gold medal.

In the 15 km Pursuit Women’s Cross-country competition, Marit Björgen of Norway was able to repeat her Olympic victory in the sprint. She had received super material “under her feet” from her serviceman Perry Olsson.

There is an interesting story. Perry is responsible not only Marit but also for the skis of superstar Petter Northug. After Marit had won bronze in the first race the Norwegian media expected a victory from Petter in the afternoon. Petter was only 41st. The Norwegian media only gave one explanation: the ill-prepared skis were definitely the reason why! The newspapers have torn Perry apart and given him the blame. A superstar in Norway is often perceived as infallible. I think this is unfair to servicemen and condemn this type of treatment. Marit then, as reported, won two gold medals in the subsequent races. Northug also won bronze in the classic sprint. All I can say is “Perry keep up the great work!”

Outside of the competition courses, the athletes have the option to ski on very well groomed trails through wonderfully beautiful scenery for a great many kilometers. You feel like you are all alone with yourself and the nature. Canada is truly a dream, especially so when the weather is like it was today. It’s amazing how much snow is still lying in the woods at Callaghan Valley considering that in the last four weeks it was very warm and rained a lot. The snow is very compact.

The Alpine competitions were again Olympic worthy and went off as planned. Men’s Super G was held in very hard and icy snow conditions and the racers were tested. With two more medals the U.S. built on their medal account. Bode Miller had decided in September to continue his career and is for me one of the outstanding athletes in the Men’s Alpine ski circus having already won two medals.

Until tomorrow

Steffen

Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager

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12 comments

  • Avatar
    BRB Skiing

    February 20, 2010 at 7:24 am

    To be fair, the wax team has been praised up and down in the Norwegian media lately. And with good reason, both xc skiers and biathletes have had great skis in the latest competition. Hopefully they can give Petter the edge today as well.

  • Avatar
    Lars

    February 20, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Well let`s be fair Northug was also criticized after the horrible 15k race.
    And when the tecks actually manage to destroy any chance of Olympic success i do think they deserve to be criticized. I mean they have very good funding to make sure that dosen`t happen.

    And as said Bjørgen had at least decent skis when she got her bronze so how about staying with something that works instead of trying to invent the wheel.
    Now i do understand the conditions do change during a day but still i find it hard to believe they could screw up this bad.

  • Avatar
    OldManWinter

    February 20, 2010 at 9:37 am

    If we’re being going to be fair, then let’s consider that the techs, athletes, support staff and coaches are all doing their level best right now…surely no one wants it more than they do. There are all sorts of vagaries behind ‘bad races’, and I wouldn’t be quick to fault the support staff that are blowing their brains out for results…particularly Norway. Chad Salmela stated on NBC that they are traveling with 22 wax techs. Sorry folks, but the ‘bad ski/wax’ alibi seems laughably implausible to me now. How about Dario beating Petter simply because he was the best athlete on that day? Can we try that point of view just once?

  • Avatar
    mnfinnkidd

    February 20, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Dario is no doubt a great athlete and was the best on that day. It’s also hard to argue that the Swiss didn’t superb skis that day too. They put all 4 of their men in the top 20. They had something going on there. Possibility a great pre-olympic training plan.

  • Avatar
    OldManWinter

    February 20, 2010 at 10:32 am

    MFK – I can’t comment on the Swiss’ skis or training plan, but whatever they did (or have done) surely worked. NBC (and I believe it was Chad) mentioned the relay and I have to say that their 15k results definitely point towards an exciting race and not another Norge/Italia throwdown. I’m looking forward to it. Surely, everyone will have their gear dialed in by then and I hope that we can see everyone’s best efforts.

  • Avatar
    BRB Skiing

    February 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Personally I never focused that much on the techs after the disaster that was the mens opening distance. That complete failure can’t be explained by skis alone any way you wanna look at it.
    Anyway, Norway probably has the best wax team out there. So they’ll provide an edge more often than a draw back. They get the praise they deserve when doing well though. The atheletes are quick to give them credit for their success (like Bjørgen, Berger, Hegle Svendsen), and the techs are inteviewed by the media all the time.

  • Avatar
    Lars

    February 20, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    The techs get credit when they do a good job and they get criticized when they do badly this is as it shud be. Given the resources they have available and the fact that this was at the Olympic`s they shud have managed to avoid a blunder like that.
    Aspecally after something similar happened 4 years ago.

  • Avatar
    bhusaby

    February 20, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Just got back from the race. I am here waxing with the Aussies. The waxing is not particularly tough, quite easy really. Ski flex is the big determining factor right now. We are finding that grinds and hand structure in particular are playing the biggest role. Wax is a distant 3rd. That being said, it appears from trackside that the Norwegian men are not on top form. From a former racer’s eyes, this appears to be the problem.

    As for Perry- there is no one better. We had him as a tech in the 90’s- no tricks, just solid. 22 techs is a bit extreme though, don’t you think?

  • Avatar
    Lars

    February 20, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I realize that wax is not the most important factor the critic remains valid do given the resources the team have available fuck ups like they have had in this Olympics shud not happen.

    You sure thats 22 tecks ? and not 22 service personnel ?

  • Avatar
    OldManWinter

    February 21, 2010 at 8:59 am

    BH, Lars – I’ll apologize if I misquoted/mis-stated, but thats the number I got from NBC. Surely someone else watched the network broadcast as well and can confirm? (I didn’t tape it). Chad has been known to weigh in on these forums, but I’m sure he is wrapped up with the games.

    I’ll agree that 22 techs is a bit extreme…but 22 service personnel (and I’ll assume that means coaches as well?) is a small army, too.

    Yesterday’s race should not have presented a huge ski selection or waxing challenge given the temps…run with the fastest warm-weather skis you have with the fastest wet snow fluors in the box…I haven’t heard any chatter to the contrary and hopefully the ‘bad ski/wax’ choir will calm down.

    I have to agree that the Norwegian men are performing like any other minor skiing nation now. When Northug is having an off day, no one else is in the weeds to push him or support him…and they aren’t even close. The Norge ladies are holding up their side of the bargain, further confirming my suspicions that their skis and waxes are as good as they need to be.

    Likewise, I have had really good luck this season with an imprint tool. I won’t get expansive here except to say if you don’t have one, you should at least try one…they’re really slick.

  • Avatar
    Lars

    February 21, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Ow i have no idea how many ski teck`s Norway has on there team but i find it hard to believe they have 22 i mean even with both the men and women racing that would only be 8 racers and 16 ski`s. Not one ski per teck. Yeah i know they don`t only prepare one pair but still..22 tecks seem like a huge waste of money.

    As for the Norwegian teams performance i totally agree with you behind Northug there is no one. But this is not new. This is how thing have been for the last 2 seasons.
    Unfortunately the management have hid behind Northug`s result and refused to make the necessary changes.

    At the end of last season media and fan`s were calling for changes to be made but the ski team used Northug`s results for all they were worth and refused to do anything. And now we see the results of that. Personally i think the coaching staff shud be given a swift kick out the door and replaced with someone more capable.

  • Avatar
    Lars

    February 21, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Ow and my ability`s as a ski teck are fairly amateurish it`s been a long time since i did any racing. And the sking i do now is usually just to and back from the family cabin.
    Most of the skiing i do now is more telemark then xc.

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