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HomeAuthor Chelsea Little

After months of training and anticipation, the nordic sports opened their seasons around the world this weekend with races around the world. Established veterans had several dominating performances, but there were new faces on the podiums as well, signaling that when World Cup racing starts next weekend, things could be pretty interesting. In Bruksvallarna, Sweden, the Swedish, Canadian, and Slovenian national teams butted heads in a three-day race series. One of the biggest surprises was...

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Devon Kershaw had a good start in Bruksvallarna, Sweden today. So did Daniel Richardsson. But in the end, for both the Swedes and the Canadians, it was steady pacing that garnered skiers a top finish: Johan Olsson bested Richardsson for the win, and Ivan Babikov placed third for Canada while Kershaw faded to tenth. At 4.6 k into the 15 k, interval-start skate race, the second competition in the opening series of FIS races, Richardsson...

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When the IBU World Cup kicks off in Östersund, Sweden, on Sunday, it will feel much the same like any other year – after all, the northern city has hosted several of the last biathlon openers. But that first race will feel decidedly different as well. For the first time, Östersund is hosting not only three individual races for both men and women, but also a mixed relay, which will be held a week earlier...

Despite tying his career-best World Cup result last year, winning three IBU Cup races and hitting the podium in another, and securing a spot on Biathlon Canada’s “A” team, until recently Nathan Smith wasn’t feeling too confident about the upcoming season of racing. “I got a cold at the end of August and I guess I underestimated how much of a toll it took on me,” he told FasterSkier in an interview on Thursday. “So...

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Note: This is the third piece culled from an interview with Professor Arne Ljungqvist. The first two addressed current challenges faced by the International Ski Federation (FIS) and other anti-doping groups today. Since humans first started challenging each other in feats of athleticism, there have been cheaters. And likely for almost that long, there have been cheaters that used some sort of performance enhancing substances to beat their competitors. But it wasn’t until the 1960s...

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Imagine if Charlotte Kalla or Marcus Hellner were caught this season with a positive test for EPO, or maybe a bag of blood in a hotel room. Or what if Ole Einar Bjørndalen showed up with HGH, or Petter Northug with steroids? If you can’t imagine any of these things, it’s because of a cultural change in Scandinavia in the last two or three decades that is the result largely of the...

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Soldier Hollow, the Utah venue that played host to the nordic events at the 2002 Olympics, is no stranger to big-name athletes. Just a few weeks ago, World Cup sprint champ Kikkan Randall was there training with the cross-country national team. The medal-winning nordic combined team skis there regularly. But last week, Utah had a visit from another of the nordic world’s most recognizable athletes: Germany’s Andrea Henkel, who joined the U.S. biathlon team for...

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FasterSkier is starting a once-a-month series looking at new research in the field of sports science. Periodically, we’ll flip through some of the world’s best peer-reviewed medical journals and summarize, in plain English, studies that we think will be of interest to skiers. Here’s our second installment; you can check out the first in a recent paper in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. “The pathophysiology of the condition is poorly understood,...

Last winter, a number of relatively young American athletes catapulted their way to top-ten World Cup results in nordic disciplines – often very much to their own surprise, and certainly to the surprise of European commentators. One of those was Stockholm, Maine’s Russell Currier, who, joining the biathlon circuit halfway through the season, had a breakout performance in his second race of that weekend. In a sprint in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, 24-year-old Currier started...

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This is the second of two pieces looking at the use of bronchodilating drugs to treat asthma in athletes – and their changing place on WADA’s prohibited list. available as PDF), the authors write that             “Vigorous physical exercise can be followed by transient clinical signs and symptoms similar to an asthma attack and are due to post-exercise bronchoconstriction (i.e., a narrowing of the airways). Clinical symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, excessive mucus...

For the third time this year, the U.S. Ski Team ran into their counterparts on the biathlon squad earlier this week when both groups were in Utah for their respective training camps. “The biathletes were at Soldier Hollow yesterday as was the entire U.S. Ski Team,” skier Noah Hoffman wrote in an e-mail to FasterSkier on Tuesday. “Cross country was doing a speed (10-15 seconds) session classic. I’m not sure what was involved in the...

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Sara Studebaker is an Idaho-raised, New-Hampshire educated, Lake Placid-based Olympic biathlete – who just happens to be adopting Anchorage, Alaska as her second (or third) home. While Studebaker lives and trains primarily out of the Olympic Training Center in upstate New York, her boyfriend, former biathlete Zach Hall, stays in Anchorage, where he has works and trains junior biathletes part-time. Between traveling on the biathlon World Cup all winter and the distance separating the East...

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This is the first of two pieces looking at the use of bronchodilating drugs to treat asthma in athletes – and their changing place on WADA’s prohibited list. *** Asthma is far from uncommon in cross-country skiers: a 1994 study in Norway found that high-level skiers were about three times as likely to self-report as asthma patients compared to the normal population. A 1999 study by researchers in Norway, Sweden, and Nebraska found that even...

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By all accounts, Canada’s Zina Kocher had a great season on biathlon’s World Cup in 2012. After a disappointing Olympics in Vancouver and then a dismal 2011, she joined the newly-formed Biathlon Alberta Training Center, skated through trials races, and rejoined the World Cup, where she had three top-ten finishes and landed 19th in the overall standings, her best-ever ranking in nine seasons on the circuit. This year she’s training to more consistently hit the...

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Coaching a college team which you yourself are part of might not seem like the best way to learn the tricks of the trade – or to become a better athlete, for that matter. And yet that was the situation in which Piotr Bednarski found himself in the late 1980’s at Cornell University in upstate New York. From there, he has gone on to be one of the most successful coaches in the Midwest, across...

Caitlin Gregg’s 2012 season couldn’t be considered a disappointment – she finished second in the American Birkebeiner by just 0.4 seconds to her friend Holly Brooks, notched four SuperTour wins, landed third in the overall standings, and twice stood on the podium at U.S. Nationals. And yet the 2010 Olympican, 2011 Birkie winner, and 2007 SuperTour leader found herself considering life after skiing come spring, when roster and coaching changes rocked her CXC team. As...

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FasterSkier is starting a new, once-a-month series looking at new research in the field of sports science. Periodically, we’ll flip through some of the world’s best peer-reviewed medical journals and summarize, in plain English, studies that we think will be of interest to skiers. Here’s our first installment – enjoy! * Those dopers who claim that their blood measurements were funny because they just did a really hard workout might actually have a point. A...

As Vincent Vittoz’s career drew to a close in the late 2000’s, French skiing needed a breath of life – and it found it in a group of young racers led by Maurice Manificat. A several-time junior national champion and a member of the bronze-medal relay at 2005 World Junior Championships, Manificat stepped up to earn another bronze medal in the U23 30 k in 2008 and his first World Cup podium a year later....