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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 medals,” Vinjerui said.

The Brits are also extending their partnership with the Lillehammer Nordic Ski Club; several of their athletes have been based in Lillehammer previously. That means that local athletes Marthe Bjørnsgaard and Mari Støen Gussiås will join the training group. They had already been training partners for Annika Taylor.

“This is probably the first of many exciting collaborative projects that will see the light of day between the two parties in the coming years,” Lillehammer coach Jostein Buraas said in British Nordic’s Facebook .

Tomas Northug, Norwegian cross-country skier and the younger brother of Petter Northug Jr., has announced that he will be retiring at the age of 27. He won a FIS World Cup Sprint in Otepää, Estonia, in 2015, which helped him get called up to the Norwegian squad for that season’s World Championships in Falun, Sweden. Once there, he finished sixth in the sprint as his brother Petter took gold.

“Thanks to all who have contributed to this journey,” Tomas Northug wrote in Norwegian in an Instagram post.

-Canada’s 10-time Paralympic champion Brian McKeever looks back on the season over at the  World Para Nordic Skiing website, and considers the Red Bull Nordenskiöldsloppet in Jokkmook, Sweden, a highlight. McKeever is coming off a very successful season that saw him win two gold medals at the World Championships in Finsterau, Germany. He also placde 20th at the Vasaloppet, Sweden’s 90 k marathon and one of the premier long-distance ski races in the world. He ended his season further north at the 220 Km Red Bull Nordenskiöldsloppet, which is the world’s oldest and longest ski race.

“One thing is for sure, I’ll never look at 6-7 hour training sessions as being long ever again,” McKeever said.

Heidi Weng and Petter Northug participated in the Red Bull Wings for Life World Run in Norway on May 7. Over 150,000 people start at the same time and are chased by “catcher cars” at several locations around the world, unloading, Munich, Vienna, Chile, USA, Italy, etc. according to langrenn.com. The goal of the race is to get as far as possible before the car driving at a constant speed catches you. Northug got 23k, while Weng was able to get to 28.23 kilometers. Northug left the race before he was caught so he is officially listed as DNF.

–Ian Tovell

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…

March 5 Roundup: Ski Classics Launches Nordic Trophy; NCAA Champs Coming Up in N.H.

– The Visma Ski Classics series is launching a new competition within the tour called the Visma Nordic Trophy, which will take place in Nordic countries. The competition started Sunday with the Vasaloppet in Sweden, the ninth event of the Ski Classics series. According to a Ski Classics press release, there will be prize money for the top three in both the men and women’s race. The next race will be the Birkebeinerrennet on March 18 in Norway.   – During 2017 Nordic World Championships in Lahti, Finland, the International Ski Federation (FIS) and Finnish Anti-Doping Agency spread the anti-doping message to athletes and coaches. At the athletes’ village in Vierumäki, Finland, competitors were given the opportunity to show their commitment to clean sport by signing a giant snowball as well as having their photo taken, according to a FIS press release. More than 400 athletes, coaches and support personnel joined the movement during the championships, held Feb. 22-March 5.   –  NCAA…

Feb. 24 Roundup: Venezuelan Skier’s World-Famous Story; Northug Gives Up Starts

– Venezuela’s Adrian Solano had a long road to World Championships. While trying to get to Sweden to train last month, he was stopped by French border agents on Jan. 19 while trying to make a connecting flight in Paris. The 22-year-old, who took up rollerskiing about a year ago, told the officials that he was competing in World Championships, which they didn’t believe. He was detained and questioned for five days, and with just 28 euros in cash on hand, he eventually decided to return to Venezuela. “I told them that we train on wheels. I only had €28 with me and the police accused me of trying to immigrate because things were going badly in my country,” Solano told the BBC. “My expectations were to train and finish in a good place at the competition,” Solano later told The New York Times. “But that got broken the minute I didn’t get to Sweden.” Thanks to…

Feb. 11 Roundup: IPC World Champs This Week in Finsterau; Otepää World Cup Next Weekend

— The 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships are happening from Feb. 10-19 in Finsterau, Germany. Over the next week, there will be a total of 38 competitions taking place between biathlon and cross-county skiing, according to World Para Nordic Skiing. More than 120 athletes from 19 countries are competing, including three-time world champion sit-skier and Paralympic gold medalist Andrea Eskau. Eskau is hoping that the home crowd will help her return to the top of the podium. “If I win a medal, I can celebrate this with my family. This is a nice thought!” Eskau said. “I hope to be able to compete in Finsterau in very good shape.” Other notable skiers include overall World Cup leader Lidziya Hrafeyeva of Belarus, two-time Paralympic medalist Oksana Masters of the U.S., and Germany’s Martin Fleig. Live timing at Finsterau2017.com.   – The Otepää World Cup will take place as planned next weekend, Feb. 18-19, according to its local organizing committee. This will be the 14th…

Feb. 3 Roundup: Caldwell to be Inducted into VT Hall; 800 Skiers Expected for Boulder Mountain Tour

– John Caldwell of Putney, Vt., will be inducted into the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame on April 22 in South Burlington, Vt., at the Hilton Hotel Burlington, according to the Brattleboro Reformer. Caldwell represented the U.S. at the 1952 Olympics, both in cross-country skiing and nordic combined. After retiring, he returned to where it all started, The Putney School, to teach and coach. He was the U.S. coach for the 1968, 1972, 1980, and 1984 Olympics, and is known as the grandfather of nordic skiing, having coached some of the best U.S. skiers, such as his own son Tim Caldwell, Bill Koch, Mary Heller, Jim Galanes, and Martha Rockwell. A member of the first U.S. women’s nordic team at the 1972 Olympics, Rockwell will also be inducted into the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame. Caldwell is the author of “The Cross Country Ski Book,” which is known as the bible for cross-country skiing. – Eight hundred skiers are expected at…

Jan. 26 Roundup: Calgary Considers Bid for 2026 Winter Olympics; Northug in Falun

— Calgary is considering a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games. Both the provincial and federal governments are interested in moving forward. Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, said that there is a lot to do, but knows there is plenty of time to prepare, according to GamesBids. They want to make sure that the public, federal government and province supports it, as well as determine what the revenue and profit potential would be to host. The city council has set at June 30 date to decide whether or not it will bid. Other cities considering bids for the 2026 Olympics are Sapporo, Japan, Stockholm, Sweden, and Almaty, Kazakhstan.  The IOC will select the host for those Games in 2019.   — Petter Northug plans to start Sunday’s 30 k classic mass start at this weekend’s World Cup in Falun, Sweden. He will replacing Didrik Tønseth, who has been struggling with food poising all week and has not been able to recover, according to Langrenn. Northug was training in Meråker, Norway when he got…