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Archive for July, 2009

Highly qualified European trainer looking for XC job in US

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

A friend of mine recently passed on the information for Noel Marcen, a native of Spain who has worked as both a wax tech and Junior coach with the Spanish National Team, and was a member of the Team form 1998-2000.  Noel has significant sports related education and is looking to come to the US for a year and work in a cross-country ski program.

His full resume is attached as a pdf and he can be contacted at noel@athleteworld.es

Resume for Noel Marcen (pdf)

More from the Costume Disciplinarian…

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Mike Balduf aka the “Costume Disciplinarian,” pulled no punches when analyzing last season’s World Cup Uniforms.  He intially left out the distinctive green Australian suit – and the Aussies wanted in!  They submitted a photo, and noted that their unique uniform made athletes easy to spot on the course – great for spectators and coaches alike.

Read the original article here

The Costume Disciplinarian was not impressed, and wrote the following:

It’s not easy being green, mate

Stop the presses…maybe I was premature in awarding Ugliest Ski Uniform to the Canadian team. The Aussies’ green Kermit suit — complete with amphibian scales on the arms and legs — makes the Costume Disciplinarian want to cringe and hide under his waxing stand. Those black and white streamers with white dots look festive but seem at odds with the rest of the design. And red boots with a green suit? Where I come from, that spells fashion faux pas. This uniform’s disparate parts make me suspect it was designed by a committee of blokes down at their local, supported by ample quantities of Foster’s. At least the bib matches the suit.

Australia racing green

Australian racing green

Of course one man’s hideous suit is another’s favorite – as indicated by the recent comments on Mike’s original article.  And it appears that most people are loyal to their country, perhaps to a fault, with poll responses on the costume issue roughly lining up with FasterSkier reader demographics.

Read the original article here

The Gold Standard?

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

According to USSA Nordic Director, John Farra, the job of the US Ski Team is to win Olympic Medals.  Not World Championship Medals, not World Cup Titles, Olympic Medals.  This was the reason that no US Women’s Jumping Team was named for next year – Women’s Jumping is not currently on the 2010 Olympic program, and therefore, there are no medals to be won in the sport.

Is this a good thing, to specifically target on event that only happens every four years?  And in cross-country, and event that may not play to the strengths of our top athletes?  It is no harder to win an Olympic Medal than a World Championship medal.  In the 15km men’s classic race in the 2006 Olympics, 57 skiers posted under 100 FIS points.  In the 2008 World Championships, the number was 59.  Granted, the World Championships happen every two years, meaning that fewer Olympic medals are available, and therefore making them more valuable.  But an Olympic Medal does not demonstrate greater skill or mastery of the sport.

And winning an overall World Cup title is arguably significantly more difficult than a top-three finish in any single event.  Such a feat requires an amazing ability to perform at the top level for months, avoiding significant injury or illness.

But in the US the Olympics are  the Gold Standard.  The general public couldn’t care less about World Championships and World Cups.  Kikkan Randall’s World Championship silver was an historic moment in US skiing, and while it got some play in the national media, imagine the response had it been in the Olympics.  A Bob Costas Olympic Special Moment feature would just be the start.  And thus the sponsors, who are interested in promoting their products, are going to want to see results that the widest audience notices.

As a passionate ski fan, I was no less excited about Kikkan’s silver than if it had occurred in 2010 in Vancouver.  But I am in a tiny minority, and USSA needs to attract sponsor dollars and membership contributions.  The short of it is they can sell Olympic medals.  This is a reality of sport.  Financial backing is needed and therefore sponsors and the public will dictate the definition of success.  This is not unique to skiing.  When is the last time that you checked in on the bobsled World Cup or World Championship results?

But the Olympics as the Gold Standard is limiting – both to the US Ski Team as a whole and to individual athletes.  Kikkan will be hard-pressed to repeat World Championship performance in Vancouver given the strength of her skate sprinting (the Vancouver sprint is classic), and the US Ski Team is putting all of its eggs in one basket by focussing on a single two week period of racing.  Ultimately, however, as in so many things, money is the final word, and as long as the Olympics bring in the bucks, the Games will be the focus.