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Aug 31 Roundup: Nygaard and Dahlqvist Top Alliansloppet, Durango Nordic Center Saved, WADA Committee Hoping for Change

-One of the major rollerski races of the summer is the Alliansloppet in Trollhättan, Sweden. Held last weekend, it is a 48 k classic race of three loops. On the men’s sideAndreas Nygaard took top honors in a sprint finish, one tenth of a second ahead of fellow Norwegian Torgeir Thygesen and three tenths before Sweden’s Karl-Johan Westberg. Maybe not surprising: Nygaard, of Team Santander, has won the Visma Ski Classics sprint title for the last two years. Petter Northug broke a pole tip and finished 26th. In the women’s race Sweden got revenge with Maja Dahlqvist beat out Maria Nordström by five seconds. Third place to the Katerina Smutna of the Czech Republic, the 2015 overall winner of the Ski Classics, and University of Utah alum Maria Gräfnings was fourth. Swiss-Canadian Heidi Widmer placed 17th, +9:47.9.

-Just 23% of available tickets for the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, have been sold. According to Inside The Games, this might be the lowest mark yet for any Winter Olympics with just over five months to go until the event opens.

-A golf course in Southeastern Minnesota will be transformed into an Olympic ski jump that will host world-class competition. Bryan Sanders, a former Olympic ski jumper and current executive director of the American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame and museum said that construction should start in August or September according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. The cost of the project is $6-7 million and will happen in two phases. The new venue will allow the U.S. to host World Cup level competitions.

“That hill will be used more in the summer than the winter,” Sanders said. “We’ll probably see training from June to October.”

-The founder of the Lappe Ski Centre, Reijo Puiras died at the age of 65. Puiras was an Olympic cross-country skier for Canada and competed in the 1976 Olympic Games, placing 56th in the men’s 30K race. He established the Lappe Ski Centre in 1975, which has grown into a 5,000 square-foot chalet with waxing facilities, change rooms, and a full service kitchen according to The News Watch. He was inducted into the Thunder Bay Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, and was also the co-winner of the Dave Rees Award for Cross Country Canada in 2011.

-The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Athlete Committee Chair, Beckie Scott, hopes that a new Charter of Athlete Rights and Responsibilities will help create a major change for protection elite sportsmen and women. The charter is currently in the early stages of being drawn up, and it is hoped to be ratified into the constitutions of all International Federations and National Olympic committees. The Charter has two purposes:

“One is aspirational, so it gives the athletes the power to say, ‘Look, I have rights, Scott said, according to Inside the Games. ”We’ve seen, over the years, a surge of athletes coming forward and saying, ‘My rights are being violated’, but there’s never been on single document spelling out that, yes, they have rights as an athlete.

Scott hops that the anti-doping portion of the Charter will be included in the 2019 version of the World Anti-Doping Code.

-The Katz family has purchased nearly 200 acres of land near the Purgatory resort and Durango Nordic Center, saving it from becoming a RV park. The primary goal of the purchase according to the Durango Herald, was to perceive the ski trail system.

“We look forward to working with members of the Purgatory community to preserve and improve the trail system on the property, help plan Phase Two of the Community Park and explore potential for other recreational and cultural uses,” Katz said.

The Nordic Center has been in operation since 1954, and the center has never actually owned the land where the trails are located. The Katz family also owns land in Durango, where they built a property for the community and city to use as a music venue.

-The University of Alaska Fairbanks cross country and nordic ski team have announced the addition of Josh Eide to the coaching staff. He will serve as the assistant coach for the men and women’s programs, replacing Christina Turman and Ross Macdougall. Eide served as UAF’s interim assistant coach during the 2014-15 season. He graduated from Northern Michigan, and served as the wax tech for them before going UAF.

“I’m incredibly excited to work with UAF teams once again,” Eide said according to the Daily News-Miner. “It’s always great to hit the ground running and that’s what we’ve been doing since I arrived in Fairbanks. We have a lot of talented student-athletes here and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish this season.”

-A recent study has revealed a correlation between World Ranking and attractiveness according to New Scientist. However, this only seems to be for the men. The study suggest that women respond to facial cues that reflect athletic ability in potential partners. Tim Fawcett and colleagues at the University of Exeter collected 150 photos of men and women who competed at the 2014 Olympics in biathlon. Each athlete was rated for their facial attractiveness by members of the opposite sex.

“There must be some kind of cues in those photographs that are enabling the women to judge sporting performance,” Fawcett told the Behaviour 2017 conference in Estoril, Portugal, earlier this month.

End-of-July Roundup: New Club Hires; NENSA’s Coach of the Year; Olympic Trials

— On July 17, the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) out of Lake Placid, N.Y., announced that Shane MacDowell would take the reins as new head cross-country ski coach on Sept. 1, 2017. Originally from Peru, Mass., MacDowell attended Burke Mountain Academy and raced for the University of New Hampshire. He most recently served as an assistant coach for the Northern Michigan University nordic team. According to outgoing cross-country coach Margaret Maher, who held the position for more than 11 years, she was “excited to see a fellow UNH Wildcat take over the NYSEF program and look forward to watching the athletes grow and excel to the best of their abilities,” she stated in a press release. Starting in September, Maher will transition to a full-time job as a registered nurse in orthopedics and sports medicine, while MacDowell will work alongside Maher in August to finish the summer training season.  …

July 2 Roundup: RUSADA Can Test Again; Rollerskiiing Record Attempt in UK

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) can now plan and coordinate its own testing based on a decision from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC). In a June 27 press release, WADA explained that allowing RUSADA to resume testing, under the supervision of WADA-appointed international experts and the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD), is an “important step forward” in the “roadmap toward compliance”, in the words of WADA President Sir Craig Reedie. WADA’s Foundation Board accepted the CRC’s recommendation on May 18 after both entities were convinced Russia had fulfilled its initial requirements in “rebuilding” its anti-doping program, according to Reedie. Those requirements included: Changing the RUSADA Statutes to require that the Chair and Vice Chair are secluded from the independent members of the RUSADA Board Providing the CRC with a RUSADA conflict of interest policy for approval Releasing all Athlete Biological Passport blood samples at the Russian Anti-doping Center…

June 9 Roundup: Ward Tapped as Biathlon Canada HP Director; John Bower Passes

– Biathlon Canada has a new high-performance director: women’s national-team coach Roddy Ward. The announcement was made on Biathlon Canada’s website, following the departure of Eric de Nys earlier this spring. “We are delighted to have Roddy in the role of High-Performance Director,” Biathlon Canada General Manager Andy Holmwood said, according to the press release. “He brings a strong understanding of biathlon at the international level combined with unique insight to the sport. We are confident both our development and high-performance programs will progress under his leadership.” A Canmore native, Ward previously competed in biathlon and earned a master’s in education with an emphasis on coaching from the University of Victoria. He has spent “the past several seasons” as a Biathlon Canada national-team coach and will continue to coach the women’s team “in a dual role through the 2018 Olympics”, according to the press release.   – On Tuesday, June 6, former nordic-combined athlete and U.S. Ski…

May 26 Roundup: CAS Date for Johaug, Chevalier Hit by Car, Russian Athletes May Miss Paralympics

– Therese Johaug has a date for her hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). A schedule published by CAS shows that Johaug is on the docket for June 6th. The Norwegian Olympic Committee suspended the Norwegian cross-country ski star for 13 months for testing positive for the steroid clostebol; the International Ski Federation (FIS) is appealing that decision, seeking a longer ban. – French biathlete Anais Chevalier, the bronze medalist in the World Championships sprint this past season, was hit by a car while training and has broken her collarbone. The 24-year-old will take about a month away from regular training to recover. “I’m angry, motorists, we are naked when we are cycling!!” she wrote on her Facebook page, according to a translation. “Thanks for not playing with our lives.” – The Visma Ski Classics long-distance race series has released its 2017-2018 competition schedule. Two of last year’s events have been…

May 18 Roundup: Britain Hires Norwegians, Northug News, Weng Runs for a Cause

-The British Nordic Team has announced the appointment of two Norwegian coaches, Hans Kristian Stadheim and Jostein Vinjerui. Stadheim joins the team as the distance coach. He was previously with marathon specialist Team Leaseplan in Norway, and before that coached the two-time Norwegian relay champions, Lyn Ski. “I want to help Great Britain to become a nation to be reckoned with in Cross Country – not only in the build up to Pyeongchang 2018, but also as we work towards Beijing 2022,” Stadheim said, according to Inside The Games. Vinjerui will be the sprint performance coach. He previously coached the Norwegian Ski Federation’s regional team, and already was working with a British athlete, Andrew Young. Vinjerui was the coach for the Icelandic national team for two seasons as well. “I am delighted to work with Hans Kristian to help develop the team towards PyeongChang and beyond, and also look to help them win…

May 4 Roundup: South Korean Team Shakeup; Lamy Chappuis Returns

— Four male cross-country skiers from South Korea were recently suspended from the national team after being caught drinking during the Asian Winter Games in February in Sapporo, Japan. The four athletes were banned for six months after being caught drinking at the Games and reportedly saying they drank two cans of beer, according to the Korea Herald. Wanting to send a message, the Korea Ski Association handed the four men six-month suspensions to discourage a similar incident from happening again at international competitions. The South Korean men’s national team is now down to two skiers, Kim Magnus and Cho Yong-jin, who did not take part in the drinking.The KSA decided not to renew three coaching contracts and will hire a new staff for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.   — Jason Lamy Chappuis is making a comeback after a year away from competing in nordic combined at the highest level, according to…

April 7 Roundup: Ski Tour Canada Wins; Weng Top Earner; Østberg Potentially Done?

-The 11th annual Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance Prestige awards happened own March 21st in Ottawa, Canada according to a press release from Cross Country Canada. These awards recognize events from local to international championships and tournaments as well as honoring outstanding volunteers and organizations. Ski Tour Canada 2016 won the Canada Sport Event of the Year award. The tour consists of 12 days with the world’s best skiers coming from over 25 nations. It was part of the first World Cup Finals ever staged outside of Europe. By live streaming, the event it was able to reach an international audience of over 52 million viewers. The events were held in Gatineau, Montreal, and Quebec City, Quebec, and Canmore, Alberta. –Heidi Weng of Norway was the World Cup’s top earner with winnings of about $274,000 U.S. dollars according to News in English. Though Marit Bjørgen dominated the World Cup races she…

Youngman Leads U.S. at 2017 Masters World Cup; Gray Finally Gets Gold

By Inge Scheve “I waited 55 years for this medal,” said Bob Gray. The 77-year-old Vermonter won the 15-kilometer freestyle race in the M10 category (men age 75-80) at the 2017 Masters World Cup in Klosters, Switzerland, earlier this month. Gray raced for the U.S. Ski Team from 1962 until 1974, but never earned a World Championships medal during that period. “When I first came on the U.S. Ski Team in 1962, we were ten minutes behind the Europeans in the 15 k event,” he said. “When I left the U.S. Ski Team in 1974, we were three minutes behind in the 15 k.” “It’s a lifelong dream for me to win a World Championship medal,” he continued. “I’m a frustrated athlete, you know.” Over the last two decades, Gray has participated in more than a dozen Masters World Cup events. “The competitors get older and there are fewer of them, but in my mind, this…

March 17 Roundup: Randall Not Racing; Sundby Stays in Norway; Arendz Elected Athlete Rep

– Despite training on Thursday, American Kikkan Randall will not be competing in the season-ending World Cup Finals in Québec City this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. According to a U.S. Ski Team press release, Randall was not feeling 100 percent during warmup training on Thursday and decided to sit out the races. Fourteen other women are slated to represent the U.S. in Friday’s freestyle sprint, 12 U.S. men, 15 Canadian women, and 15 Canadian men. – This season’s overall and distance World Cup winner Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway will not be racing at World Cup Finals in Quebec this Friday through Sunday, March 17-19. Instead, he’ll be racing for Team United Bakeries in Saturday’s 54-kilometer Norwegian Birkebeinerrennet, the 10th event of the Ski Classics series. Another Norwegian national-team member, Eirik Brandsdal will also be racing the Birkebeinerrennet from Rena to Lillehammer. While the International Ski Federation (FIS) initially threatened to reduce Sundby’s prize money and bonuses if…