Dalen Moves on to Coaching Marathoners: ‘It’s Time to Go for New Challenges’

Alex KochonMay 29, 2014
Magnar Dalen in 2011 (Wikimedia Commons) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/43/Magnar_Dalen_2011-03-04.jpg/1280px-Magnar_Dalen_2011-03-04.jpg
Magnar Dalen in 2011 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

We haven’t seen the last of Magnar Dalen. After eight years as head coach of the Finnish National Ski Team, Dalen, 50, saw an end to his contract in March, and was replaced earlier this month by Reijo Jylhä, 53, and Eero Hietanen, 51. Each signed four-year contracts, but Dalen was retained as a personal coach for Anne Kyllönen, according to The Ilta-Sanomat.

The new head coach, Jylhä held the position before Dalen, leading the national team from 2001 to 2006, when Dalen came on. Hietanen, the team’s new manager, assisted Dalen from 2006 to 2010. In 2010, Dalen was named Finnish Sports Gala Coach of the Year.

In an email to FasterSkier, Dalen explained he anticipated change at the end of last season.

“[I] have been more or less ready last year that this will be my last year in Finland,” he wrote. “It’s time to go for new challenges. And for Finland to continue whit [sic] domestic coaches.”

He said his retirement after eight years might not be a record for Finland, “but not many have been for 8 years in a row,” he wrote. “I am happy about [these] years, many have reached gold medals, like Kuitunen, Saarinen, Heikkinen, Muranen, Roponen, Jauhojärvi, Ivo Niskanen. Other whit medals are Kerttu Niskanen, Krista Lahtenmaki. The future is bright for skiteam Finland.”

While he has yet to officially announce his plans for next year, Dalen told the Sanomat he’ll be a private coach for Kyllönen. He told FasterSkier he’ll also work with a private marathon team, organizing trips to races, taking care of equipment and wax, coaching certain athletes “litlebit [sic] of many things. Still things are coming to the table.

After the 2015 World Championships in Falun, he expects to look for national-team work again.

“[I] have worked in Norway, Sweden, Finland …. time for something new, challenging and difficult,” he wrote. “My goal is always to help athletes to realise their dreams.”

As for other coaching changes among international teams, wife-and-husband duo Guri and Tor Arne Hetland left the Swiss Ski Team separately after four years with the squad. While Guri, the former head coach, was unsure of her next move, Tor Arne was hired as a Canadian World Cup coach.

In their place, Slovakia’s Ivan Hudac took the reigns of Switzerland’s World Cup Team, and Swiss-Ski was expected to hire another coach to assist him.

In Germany, Frank Ullrich remains head coach, assisted by Stefan Dotzler (women’s coach), Bernd Raupach (sprint coach) and Cuno Schreyl (men’s coach), the team’s World Cup coaches each in charge of one of three training bases in Oberstdorf, Ruhpolding and Oberhof. Andreas Schlütter was promoted to sports manager.

France’s head coach Christophe Deloche resigned, leaving Francois Faivre to work as the men’s team manager with women’s manager Anaël Huard.  According to FIS News, the men’s sprint coach position has not yet been filled.

After several years as Italy’s head coach, Silvio Fauner left the team and Giuseppe Chenetti was selected to replace him, with the help of World Cup coaches Paolo Riva and Constantin Pierluigi. Sandro Pertile became nordic sports director, and  Marco Selle will coach the junior team.

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Alex Kochon

Alex Kochon (alex@fasterskier.com) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.

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