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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:

  1. Changing the RUSADA Statutes to require that the Chair and Vice Chair are secluded from the independent members of the RUSADA Board
  2. Providing the CRC with a RUSADA conflict of interest policy for approval
  3. Releasing all Athlete Biological Passport blood samples at the Russian Anti-doping Center on demand to the anti-doping organization that had those samples sent there for testing
  4. Providing Doping Control Officers access to “Closed Cities”

But RUSADA is still technically considered non-compliant under WADA standards, as it has been since November 2015. Russia will need to continue to follow WADA’s remaining reinstatement criteria outlined in an “agreed roadmap,” which includes a full audit by WADA tentatively scheduled for this September.

 

– Late last month, U.S. Nordic Combined made its new head-coach pick official: Martin Bayer has taken the reins following the departure of longtime head coach Dave Jarrett in April. A two-time Olympic nordic-combined skier, Bayer has been a coach for 17 years, the last two of which he spent as a development and Continental Cup coach for the U.S. Ski Team.

“He found a nice spot in the team pretty quickly and worked well with everyone, including myself,” team veteran Bryan Fletcher told Steamboat Today. ”I’ve enjoyed working with him the last two and a half years. He’s definitely a good coach, and we have a good system with him in place now.”

“Martin’s years spent rising through the club ranks allow him to relate to everyone, from the parents to the athletes, involved with our sport,” USA Nordic Sports Executive Director Bill Demong said in a U.S. Ski Team press release. “He will implement the best plan for the team using the resources we have to ensure we see athletic success this season and beyond.”

 

– A former junior skier from Anchorage, Alaska, Erin Johnson, 27, was attacked and killed by a black bear while doing field work near Pogo Mine in interior Alaska on June 19. She was a Chugiak High School graduate who competed at the Junior Olympics in 2006 and 2007, and went on to study at geology and botany at the University of Montana and University of Alaska Anchorage.

Johnson was collecting geological samples with a coworker about five miles from the mine when a black bear attacked. The coworker used bear spray and survived, but Johnson did not. The fatal attack, which is unusual among black bears, was the second in a 24-hour span in Alaska.

“I broke my back seven years ago and she was one of the first people that went nordic and alpine skiing with me,” Ira Edwards, Rossignol’s longtime nordic racing coordinator who now does sales and marketing for the company, told KTUU.

“Erin’s wonderful energy, quirky sense of humor, dedication, sparkle, generosity, and talent touched everyone she knew, and left them all the better,” her family said in a statement. She was married two weeks earlier.

 

– Chris Gouldsmith, of Hayscastle, Wales, wants to be the first person to rollerski the length of Great Britain, nearly 900 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and he’ll go in the record books if he does so.  An ex-soldier, Ironman coach and nordic-ski instructor, Gouldsmith is planning on rollerskiing 55 to 60 miles per day, starting Aug. 1, to finish in 15 days. He wants to raise awareness of rollerskiing as a sport as well as raise money for The National Autistic Society and the brain-injury charity, Headway. According to the Western Telegraph, he’s also looking for a local sponsor to supplement his travel and equipment costs.

“Training is going well and I’m working on building up balance, flexibility and endurance,” Gouldsmith told the Telegraph. “Hopefully I will be the first person to rollerski the length of Britain.”

— Ian Tovell

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…

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…