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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.

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