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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

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