“Ski Classics can’t just go in there and appoint their own jury. Only the FIS jury can judge in cross-country skiing,” Vegard Ulvang said to Langrenn.com.
Ulvang is reacting to the Sandra Hansson’s case of unfair play in the 2011 König Ludwiglauf in Germany last weekend, which resulted in Hansson having her points for winning the FIS Ski Classic race reduced as a penalty for her actions.
“I am shocked that Nils Marius Otterstad (ed. Hansson’s team manager) and Ski Classics steps up and plays jury here. They do not have the right to do that. Only an FIS-appointed jury that can make these decisions. That is the first principle, and this is shocking,” Ulvang said to Langrenn.com.
“This is a clear example that private players in this field are a concern,” Ulvang added.
– But why didn’t FIS act on this after the incident?
“I don’t want to comment on this case. The FIS had a jury on site, and as far as I know, this jury did not act on the situation. Nobody else can put together a jury of their own and make these decisions,” Ulvang said. “If anyone is discontent, they have the right to appeal,” he emphasized.
– Nils Marius Otterstad criticized the FIS for not taking action, and argue that the FIS doesn’t care about the ski marathons. What is your comment on that?
“If he criticizes the FIS, he is basically criticizing himself. The FIS has a separate citizen race and marathon committee, consisiting of representatives from all the major ski marathons. This committee appoints the jury,” Ulvang explained.
David Nilsson: – We had to take action
David Nilsson, the Ski Classics director, said to Langrenn.com that in their opinion, the Hansson incident was grave enough that they felt required to step in.
“If we hadn’t reacted in this case, that would have been damaging to both the reputation of the Ski Classics, and ski marathons in general. We have a point system, and there is a lot of prize money at stake,” Nilsson said.
While Langrenn.com was interviewing Nilsson, they were informed that the Swiss Ski Association (representing the offended skier Seraina Boner) had submitted a formal protest to the FIS about the incident between Hansson and Boner.
“To us, it would be peculiar if the FIS doesn’t react to this incident,” Nilsson concluded.
“They totally didn’t care about König Ludwiglauf”
Jørgen Aukland (NOR/Team XtraPersonell) said the FIS has ignored marathon racing for too many years.
Aukland has raced the FIS marathon circuit for a decade and argues that FIS never cares.
“FIS has neglected and ignored marathon racing for far too long,” Aukland said to Langrenn.com.
After Sandra Hansson (Team United Bakeries) was stripped of a portion of her points due to the incident in the König Ludwiglauf in Germany last Sunday, several people have reacted both to Hansson’s unfair behavior in the race and to the Ski Classic organizers taking matters in their own hands.
“But what should the Ski Classic organizers have done? FIS didn’t care about the König Ludwiglauf. Nowbody knew where the technical delegate was, he didn’t have a cell phone on him, there was no coaches’ meeting and there was no m formal seeding. This was all just a mess. How should the racers deal with that? Nobody did anything,” Aukland said to Langrenn.com.
Aukland is mad
“I understand that this creates a conflict of interest, but Otterstad and Ski Classics have already publicly apologized for that. But that’s not what this is about. I’ve never seen Vegard Ulvang at a FIS marathon before. He speaks before he even knows the details. Nothing has happened on the marathon circuit for the last decade. Ski Classics really does a great job exposing this aspect of ski racing and contributes to unite the cross-country communities. It’s awesome that someone finally took action in the incident on Sunday,” Aukland said to Langrenn.com.
“All the racers I’ve talked with supports the Ski Classic’s decision in this case,” he added.
The youngest Aukland brother in the strong ski family tried repeatedly to contact Ulvang on Tuesday but was unable to get a hold of him.
“I just wanted to give him my opinion. This is a hopeless situation,” Fredrik Aukland said.
“The FIS is sleeping in class, and during the König Ludwiglauf they definitely didn’t do their job. Then someone else has to do it, and it’s good that they did,” he concluded.
From Langrenn.com, February 8 and 9, 2011 By Ola Jordheim Halvorsen, translation by Inge Scheve
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.