OSLO, NORWAY – The Norwegian team will be named no later than 18 days prior to the first competition in Oslo, likely right after the Norwegian national championships in Steinkjer. “In those instances where there is any doubt, the results from Nationals will be the deciding factor,” said Aage Skinstad, Norwegian team director.
The Norwegian team will consist of a maximum of 18 skiers, including both men and women. The final selection will be based on the following criteria:
• Medal candidate in individual events
• Medal candidate in the relay
• Candidate for points (top six)
• If there are still spots open, younger athletes who have shown potential but need the experience for future championships/major events will be selected.
Norway probably has the biggest recruitment base in the world and the most depth at the elite level, possibly with the exception of Russia. Just earning a spot for the opening World Cup races in Gällivare, Sweden, and Kuusamo, Finland, isn’t going to be easy.
“We will not do an ‘American selection’ for the qualifying races at Beitostoelen. The skiers who are already named to the national team will have priority for the Beito races,” Skinstad explained. (Ed. In Scandinavia “American selection” refers to a selection process based on points and rankings rather than coaches’ discretion, development trends and potential.)
In Kuusamo (Finland), the socalled Ruka Triple, Norway can start nine racers in both the men’s and women’s events, in addition to the racers who are prequalified. On top of that, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Kristian Tettli Rennemo are prequalified until Christmas as the overall winners of the Scandinavian Cup last season.
For the Tour de Ski, Norway can start nine racers in both the men’s and the women’s events, but will probably not fill their spots. Norway will probably only field those racers who are likely to win stages or fight for the overall titles – probably 12 racers total. Marit Bjørgen has already said that she will not race the Tour this season.
From www.langd.se October 26, 2010. By Kjell Erik Kristiansen, translation by Inge Scheve, FasterSkier.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.