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According to a press release by USSA, Sarah Hendrickson returned to competition this past weekend and claimed two second place finishes in a FIS Continental Cup event in Trondheim behind World Cup champion Sara Takanashi. according to USSA, her finishes were her first international podiums in over a year since finishing second in a FIS Grand Prix event in France just prior to her 2013 injury. Hendrickson was joined by American Nita Englund who continued her strong summer by finishing sixth and ninth in the weekend’s competition.

- The Caldwell family made their mark at the VT 50-mile running race Sept. 28, as their relay team, consisting of Sophie Caldwell and cousins Alexa and Heidi Caldwell, finished with the fastest time of the the ultra running race. Crossing the finish line with a time of 7:04:10 the trio finished the race faster than any individual or team, both male and female.

- Organizers for the 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden are preparing for a “mild winter” according to a press release from Falun2015. In order to ensure snow for the most anticipated series of races on the World Cup circuit, organizers have drafted a plan revolving around snowmaking and snow storage at other facilities.

“We feel confident in our strategy to use artificial snow for both the courses and ski jumps,” Falun2015′s director Tommy Hoglund said.

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- The National Nordic Foundation announced that it will kick off its Drive for 25 starting Oct. 1 and ending Nov. 15. The goal of this year’s fundraiser is to raise $150,000 through matching donations, corporate outreach, industry support and fundraising events.

According to a NNF press release, the event will showcase a new sector of the cross country skiing population, ranging from the U16 level to World Cup skiers.

“We’re interested in tying together as many disparate parts of the skiing country as possible through the NNF,” described Dave Knoop, who is the Executive Director of NNF. “Last year we began highlighting donations by state in a way to measure still more competition on the way to connecting the skiing nation. We all have to give to get the skiing community we want.”

- Finish skier Aino-Kaisa Saarenin was injured after falling while traveling between training and her hotel in Ramsau, Austria. X-rays relieved that the 2014 Olympic medalist broke a bone in her foot, according to a press release from FIS. Doctors estimated that her recovery time would take roughly six weeks.

- Marcus Johansson and Ksenia Konohova have won the 2014 overall titles in the FIS Rollerski World Cup after competing in the series final event in Val di Fiemme, Italy. According to FIS, the Swede and the Russian were able to best the rest of the rollersking field after competing in Sweden, Croatia, and Italy.

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U.S. Ski Team member Liz Stephen, a two-time Olympian and queen of uphill ski and rollerski races, won her first XTERRA Trail Run National Championship this weekend at Snowbasin, outside of Park City, Utah.

Stephen is based in Park City in the offseason, and had competed in the trail run twice previously. This was her first win.

“It was a really fun race, and there was some fast women out here,” Stephen said in an XTERRA press release. “I wasn’t really sure how far up I was because it’s hard to see anyone else when you’re grinding through the single track on the uphills and the downhill is so long you really can’t see anybody else unless they’re within seconds.”

Her time of 1:27:55 over the 21k course put her more than two minutes ahead of runner-up Kimber Mattox of Eugene, Oregon – and all but four of the men racing.

Former Michigan Tech standout skier Kristina Owen, now based in Ogden, Utah, finished 10th with a time of 1:47:15.

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- Petter Northug can’t stay out of the headlines and recent developments for the Norwegian skiing star aren’t looking promising. According to NRK Sport, the Olympic champion may face a lifetime driving ban stemming from charges of driving while intoxicated, speeding, negligence regarding his passenger, leaving the crime scene without informing police, and lying to officers.

The indictment, which was issued Sept. 16, claimed that Northug lied to authorities on three separate occasions. The first occurring upon his arrest, the second just under an hour later, and the third during his interrogation. On all three occasions Northug claimed that his companion, who sustained multiple injuries, had been driving. These claims were later revealed to be false.

“I’m sorry for my foolish actions and am prepared to take the punishment for them. I apologize again that I messed with explanations during the first hours on May 4, when I was still affected by alcohol,” the skier was quoted as saying in local media according to a Yahoo news report.

“The indictment is another reminder of the serious actions I have been guilty of. I apologize again to all those I have failed, and am prepared to take the punishment I will be sentenced to,” he said.

- On the other end of the Norwegian decency spectrum, Marit Bjørgen and Brede Hangeland (a Norwegian professional soccer player who plays for Crystal Palace of the Premier League and the Norwegian national team) are advocating against privatization of Norwegian sports saying that it can lead to a selfish and anti-community behavior. In the nordic community, Bjørgen points to the shift to private teams that many are making, exemplified by Peter Northug’s contract with European grocery store chain Coop. 

“I could have never gone to private teams and stood alone and outside the community. The importance it had for me to have a team around me, both as a youth and as an adult, has meant so much to me and my results, that I would not be without. When I was young, I had my role models who paved the way and helped that we came up could bet. Now it’s my turn to do the same,” said Bjoergen to Norwegian news outlet Aftenposten.

- Kris Freeman can do more than just ski; he can bike, paddle, and run. The former U.S. Ski Team member proved this as he won the Ironman category of the Josh Billings Runaground Triathlon in Great Barrington, Mass. According to the Berkshire Eagle, Freeman, who finished ninth overall, was able to hold on to his Ironman win even after he flipped his boat.

-According to FIS, the second edition of the FIS Development Program Nordic Summer Training Camp in Val di Fiemme, Italy recently concluded Sept.13. The camp was attended by athletes from 16 different nations that traditionally do not have strong nordic traditions, facilities, or training programs. The countries included Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine.

- The Swedish nordic ski community is hoping that the 2015 World Championships in Falun will help boost the popularity of the sport in the country to unseen levels. Cross country skiing is already one of Sweden’s most popular sports and organizers hope that Falun2015 will bring record attendance and interest, according Langrenn.com.

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New details on Petter Northug’s drunk-driving accident in May have emerged with the release of a tell-all book by author Sverre M. Nyrønning on Monday.

Editor Harald Engelstad of the book’s publisher, Aschehoug Forlag, confirmed to NRK Sport that Northug’s blood-alcohol level was 0.165 the night of the accident. Norwegian law calls for up to a year of jail time for all drivers tested with a value of 0.15 or above. In reality, however, many offenders face anywhere from 21 days to three months.

The book, entitled Northug: A Family History, brings into question the police treatment of the Norwegian star and alludes that he received special treatment while in his holding cell.

“I didn’t feel at all incarcerated, and the police on duty were very nice to me,” Northug told Nyrønning, according to a rough translation.

“I thrived there and could gladly have stayed there longer,” he said. “It was quiet, calm and I could be in peace.”

Despite the allusion to preferential treatment, public prosecutor Bjørn Soknes said that Northug will be treated like any other Norwegian citizen as events unfold.

According to analysis at NRK Sport, Northug will likely serve anywhere from 50 to 60 days at most.

Despite the Norwegian media hype over the new details, Northug is keeping his head down and training as best he can. Should he serve jail time, the Norwegian star will miss a period of training that could hurt him in the 2014/2015 season.

The book also revealed several details about Northug’s ski career, claiming that Northug “felt betrayed” by the Norwegian Ski Federation and that he was so out of shape at the beginning of the 2010/2011 season, he could barely walk up a flight of stairs.

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- A couple that time-trials together stays together. Devon Kershaw and Kristin Størmer Steira participated in the 2014 Grouse Grind in North Vancouver, British Colombia, on Sept. 7. The grind scales Grouse Mountain on a trail that features 2.7 k of climbing over 2,800 ft. and 2,830 stairs.

Størmer Steira earned first place and the course record with her time of 30:52. Kershaw was unable to match his fiancee’s result but still finished ahead of the 2014 Norwegian 10,000-meter champion with his time of 30:07.

Check out Kershaw’s Instagram of Steira below.

http://instagram.com/p/sp-BJ6O2QS/?modal=true

- Canadians Jesse Cockney and Kevin Sandau have joined the millions of others across the globe who are stepping up to support research to held treat and cure Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. They likely used some of the coldest water around during their recent trip to the Haig Glacier. Check out their video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URxVu36AaGs

- FIFA has proposed two dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar that begin in January and November. According to Sports Illustrated, the alternative start dates have been suggested to avoid playing during the heat of the summer in Qatar. 

However, many are concerned that a January start would conflict with the 2022 Olympic Games scheduled to start in February. The IOC has warned FIFA that the World Cup should not conflict with the Olympic Games, but no official decision regarding a starting date has been made.

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- Marit Bjørgen has changed her training ideology during the 2014 summer. According to NRK Sport, the 34-year-old Norwegian skier has given priority to rest days for the first since she broke into international fame in 2002/2003. The focus on resting and recovery is a conscious move by Bjørgen to prepare for the 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden. Bjørgen believes that during the summer of 2013, she trained too hard which resulted in a slow start to the season.

Her training plan also signifies a shift to focus on distance races rather than sprinting.

“There are the three longest distances that I am most keen to perform. I have a scholarship in the sprint, but realize that it is getting tougher and tougher to compete there. The body is simply not as explosive as it was ten years ago. Therefore, it is enough for the three longest distances I have to show up,” she said to NRK in a rough translation.

- The first ever international nordic combined competition for women was held in Oberstdorf, Germany this past weekend at the 12th Children’s Grand Prix. Girls from two age categories, those born between 2000-2003 and 1996-1999, competed in four competitions over the course of two days.

According to FIS, Timna Moser of Austria, and Slovenians Kaja Urbanija Coz and Maja Drinovec became the first-ever female winners at the international level in nordic combined.

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- VISA women’s ski jumping found some success in the Czech Republic when Nita Englund of Steamboat Springs, Colo. placed third in Saturday’s FIS Cup Ladies Normal Hill Individual Competition. She was followed by teammate Nina Lussi of Lake Placid, New York who finished fifth.

The pair also found success the previous day going 4-5 in the Ladies Normal Hill Individual Competition.

“I am very happy with this weekend. The hill was challenging in a good way and was a great start to our training camp. The FIS Cup helped me build my confidence and prepare me for more challenging competitions. Nina is one of the best teammates to have, because she is motivational and positive. Vasja is a great fit as the new US travel coach, due to his unique insights on the ski jump. I am excited to be coached by him the rest of this summer and upcoming winter,” Englund said in a press release.

- Team Sweden will be flying in style this winter after a contract with Malmö Avation was recently finalized. According to a recent press release, the Swedish cross country team will be flying to many World Cup venues via a private plane charted by the aviation company. The team believes that this will cut down on travel costs and provide easier travel for athletes who are already exhausted from a demanding racing schedule.

Malmö Aviation has a history of working with sports teams and has a current contract with the Swedish national soccer team.

- What do America’s best nordic athletes do on their days off? Andy Newell gives us a clue with his latest Instagram video that shows him flying off a cliff into what looks to be a refreshing body of water. We’re right behind you, Andy!

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- The U.S. Ski Team began their fall camp in Lake Placid August 26 and it’s off to a great start. The team and other attendees have already participated in VO2 Max rollerski intervals, distance runs, an other workouts in the first three days of the camp. Other highlights will include a Boy’s Speed Camp and a Fast and Female event both held on on September 5. The following Saturday marks the annual Climb to the Castle rollerksi race up Whiteface Mountain. The camp’s participants will remain in Lake Placid through September 7 when the camp concludes.

Check out Andy Newell’s Instagram post from the camp below:

Intervals at the jump complex today #fischer #finnsisu #rudyproject #swix #gonnf #LakePlacid

- While organizers for the 2022 Olympic bid are having a hard time convincing the Norwegian public of the feasibility of hosting the event, the country’s politicians are expressing their support. According to NRK Sport the majority of Norwegian politicians support hosting the Olympics in Oslo. The Norwegian news site explained that a major factor in the politicians’ support came from observing the 2012 London Olympics.London has been praised for it’s management of the event, and is held up as a sustainability standard by the European Union.

The other bids competing with Olso include Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China. One of the three cities will be chosen July 31, 2015 as the host city of the 2022 Olympics.

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- Four-time olympian Torin Koos was recently featured in the Seattle Times after finishing up his sports internship at USA Today. After retiring from skiing following the 2014 Olympics, the veteran racer has taken a path in journalism and has covered events ranging from the ATP World Tour to World Cup soccer. Read a sample of his feature below:

“Today, I seek answers to new questions, because that drive doesn’t die. What I’ve learned is the game remains the same — even when you trade in being the man in the arena to sideline reporter. It’s all about me doing something better, harder, and with more love than anyone else out there.”

Read Koos’ entire Seattle Times blog post here.

- U.S. Nordic Combined and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) have come to a deal regarding funding for the 2014/2015 season. Funding for the team has been up in the air since USSA announced U.S. Nordic Combined would no longer be a fully funded team in April. However USSA agreed to pay the salary of head coach Dave Jarrett. In the most recent development, USSA sent 15 gold passes to the Nordic combined team to resell and gave the team $150,000 until the team sold its passes. 

Gold passes are worth $10,000 each and are fully transferrable lift passes that grant unlimited access to over 250 ski and snowboard resorts across the United States.

“It’s certainly a sign of good faith on their part,” Jarrett said to Steamboat Today. “Maybe they’re realizing perhaps they made some hasty decisions. I’m not sure.”

- According to the French Ski Federation, French biathlete Martin Fourcade is suffering from mononucleosis. A translated press release from the federation stated that “medical examinations carried out recently due to the abnormal state of fatigue Martin since the beginning of July – especially when a training camp in Norway where he could not take part in the summer races Blink Festival – revealed the presence of the virus.”

The press release went on to say that Fourcade would not participate in full training for the time being and that he will determine his participation schedule in the IBU World Cup once he is recovered. 

- Even though Fourcade is recovering, his virus didn’t  stop him from participating in a shooting challenge presented by Norwegian biathlete Johannes Thingnes Bø on Instagram. Bø challenged Fourcade, Tarjei Bø, and Emil Hegle Svendsen to shoot five targets as fast as possible in an Instagram video (see below).

The translated caption of the video read: “I challenge all biathletes out there to shoot #fivestraightdown! Film it and post it on instagram. I challenged especially @tarjei_boe, @emilhegle and @martinfourcade to try! Good luck.”

According to NRK Sport, Fourcade posted the slowest time of the participants, shooting five targets in 10.26 seconds.

Tarjei Bø had the fastest time with 9.10 seconds. Johannes Thingnes Bø marked 9.21 seconds, Vetlefjellet Sjåstad Christensen shot in 9.30 seconds, and Svendsen was the slowest of the Norwegian with 9.67 seconds.

Check out Bø’s original video below.

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