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Coop Norway New Title Sponsor of FIS Cross Country World Cup

(Press release)

Coop Norway has entered into a long-term sponsorship agreement with the International Ski Federation (FIS) as title sponsor of the FIS Cross Country World Cup.

“We are both proud and happy to have reached an agreement with FIS. Coop is one of Norway’s largest sponsors of recreational sports and sports in general. Our strategy is to be well present within the largest sports in Norway. This is in order to reach the breadth of Norwegian sports and most of our customers and co-owners, “said CEO Geir Inge Stokke.

The agreement lasts for four years, with an option of four additional years. Coop will receive comprehensive visibility and will use the FIS Cross-Country World Cup with the Tour de Ski and other exciting events to engage and motivate children and youngsters to be active.

“Our goal is to reach as many people as possible and get the most children and young people into activity. In order to do so we have to be present in the sports that engage most of the Norwegians. Cross-country skiing is one of these sports in particular, and we are very pleased with the agreement we have now reached with the International Ski Federation, “said Stokke.

“We are pleased to welcome Coop Norway to the FIS sponsor family,” said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper. “Coop has long shown a deep dedication to keeping the next generation of children active in snow sports, which is at the heart of FIS and its activities. Together with Coop we look forward to the next four years working towards our common goals.”

2018/2019 FIS World Cup Calendar

Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that Planica, Slovenia, will be hosting 2023 Ski World Championships. On Friday, the International Ski Federation released its calendar for the upcoming 2018/2019 Cross-Country World Cup season. The schedule, which begins Nov. 24 with two days of racing in Kuusamo (Ruka), Finland, and ends March 23 with World Cup Finals in Quebec, includes a few notable stops. After the regular early season stops in Finland (Nov. 24-25) and Lillehammer, Norway (Nov. 30-Dec. 2), the World Cup visits Beitostølen, Norway, for distance (15/30 k freestyle) and relay races Dec. 8-9. Racers then head south to Davos, Switzerland (Dec. 15-16), to close out Period 1. The 13th annual Tour de Ski will start and end in Italy, with the first two stages in Toblach and the last two (of seven total stages) in Val di Fiemme. In between, a skate sprint will take place…

Friday Olympic Notes: Flagbearer, Athlete Rep, Men’s 50 k Starters

A smattering of Friday Olympic news in advance of Saturday’s men’s 50-kilometer classic mass start race: Diggins Named Flagbearer Jessie Diggins will be the flagbearer for the American delegation at Sunday’s closing ceremonies, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced earlier today. Diggins will be the first cross-country skier to serve this role for America (although nordic-combined athlete Bill Demong carried the flag at the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Games in 2010, and biathlete Lyle Nelson was the flagbearer for the opening ceremonies at Calgary in 1988). Diggins won an election open to all Team USA athletes over the past two days, following her nomination by the national governing body for U.S. skiing. The other six candidates, as nominated by other American sports national governing bodies, were “snowboarder Jamie Anderson, hockey player Meghan Duggan, luge athlete Chris Mazdzer, figure skater Adam Rippon, bobsled athlete Elana Meyers Taylor and Alpine…

Women’s Olympic Relay Goes Down Saturday

It’s relay time. Or, as longtime American anchor leg and effervescent team cheerleader Jessie Diggins put it, “Grab your relay socks. Get your glitter. ✨ Favorite day of the whole darn year coming up tomorrow! 🙊” The women’s 4 x 5-kilometer relay goes off on Saturday. Start time is 6:30 p.m. local time, 12:30 a.m. Alaska time, 4:30 a.m. East Coast time. The symbolism is at once both obvious and profound: The strongest American team in, well, ever, working together in the ultimate team event. Longtime team leader Kikkan Randall, in perhaps her last-ever Olympic race of a brilliant five-Olympics career, skiing alongside athletes who grew up idolizing her. Lots going on here. So who’s going to be wearing bib number 4 for the Americans? Sophie Caldwell, Sadie Bjornsen, Kikkan Randall, and Jessie Diggins, in that order. That’s classic – classic – skate – skate, all on the same “blue”…

Olympic Classic Sprint Goes Off Tuesday

Jessie Diggins was frank about the historic stakes involved coming into these Olympics. “We’ve never had a Women’s XC medal at the Olympics,” she wrote in her final pre-Olympic blog post. “You know that. I know that. Your second-cousin-once-removed knows that.” Diggins’s post goes on to outline five process goals that she has going into the Olympics, while leaving the results goals to others but making it clear that she is not afraid to strive for difficult things. U.S. Ski & Snowboard was happy to make those results goals explicit, writing in a video preview of the course, “The cross country team is READY for the Olympic sprint tonight. And they’re hungry for their first medal in 42 years. Let’s do this.” So who’s doing this? Mostly a collection of familiar names, plus one Olympic newcomer. And, in a generational shift, one very familiar name will be cheering from the…

City of Dresden to Host First World Cup on Manmade Loop

DRESDEN, Germany — With the conclusion of the Tour de Ski last Sunday, nearly 120 World Cup athletes gradually made their way to Dresden for the Period 2 of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Cross Country World Cup season. On Saturday, those racers will tackle a brand-new 1.2-kilometer course (it was originally set to be 1.4 k, but shortened due lack of stored snow) in Dresden, which is hosting its first FIS Cross Country World Cup. The entire track is set along the city’s Elbe River, one of Central Europe’s major waterways. According to a course official, there is “no natural” snow on course; only manmade snow will be used for the weekend’s freestyle races (with individual sprints Saturday and team sprints on Sunday). This perhaps makes sense as the races are within walking distance of the city center’s major shopping plaza. Temperatures on Saturday afternoon were around 4 degrees Celsius (39…

U.S. Ski Team Names Tour de Ski Squad

(Press release) Four stage winners will highlight athletes named by the U.S. Ski Team to compete in the upcoming Tour de Ski. The Team heads into the seven-stop tour with optimism based on strong early season results with two different athletes on World Cup podiums. The Tour opens Dec. 30 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. All events will be streamed live on OlympicChannel.com and broadcast daily on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA with the finale also on NBCSN. The grueling seven-stage tour will cover three stops in three nations over a nine-day period before the Sunday, January 7 finale up the towering Alpe Cermis hill climb in Val di Fiemme, Italy. It opens with three races in Lenzerheide, Switzerland kicking off with a freestyle sprint, followed by classic distance racing and a freestyle pursuit. The Tour then swings to Oberstdorf, Germany for a classic sprint plus mass start skate distance. The…

2019, 2020 World Cup Finals Tentatively Set for Québec City

After a two-year hiatus, World Cup Finals are expected to return to Québec City in March 2019 and 2020, according to Gestev, a Québec-based event management company. A Gestev press release stated that the International Ski Federation (FIS) Technical Committee and FIS Cross-Country Committee meetings are still underway in Zurich, Switzerland, but as of Friday, it had been confirmed that FIS Cross-Country World Cup Finals will be hosted by Canada for back-to-back years in 2019 and 2020. “It’s a huge step forward for Québec City to cement its place on the calendar for two years in a row,” FIS Race Director Pierre Mignerey said in the release. “We should stress, though, that the entire race calendars for both years are subject to FIS Council approval this November.” The 2019 dates are tentatively set for March 22-24. “The format of the 2020 event is yet to be confirmed, but the 2019 competition will…

Live Coverage of Nordic World Champs on NBC

(Press release) LAHTI, Finland (Feb. 15, 2017) – NBC Sports Group is offering nordic ski fans in America the most robust opportunity ever to view their sport with wall-to-wall live coverage of the International Ski Federation’s 2017 Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. Every event will be streamed live with commentary on NBCsports.com and for the first time, more than 24 hours of same day televised coverage will be broadcast on NBCSN or Universal HD. In total, NBC Sports Group will present more than 60 hours of Nordic World Ski Championships coverage. The expanded coverage is a result of a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) initiative to expand domestic coverage of nordic skiing – cross country, nordic combined and ski jumping. The USSA acquired the domestic rights for the 2015 and 2017 Alpine and Nordic World Championships, subsequently partnering with NBC to carry the programming coverage. The expanded…

Canada Nominates Preliminary World Cup Finals Team

(Note: This post has been updated to include Len Valjas, Knute Johngaard, Jess Cockney, and Graeme Killick as team nominees. They were mistakenly omitted from Cross Country Canada’s original press release.)  Earlier this week, Cross Country Canada (CCC) announced its preliminary selections for World Cup Finals, which will be held March 17-19 in Quebec City, Quebec. According to the press release: “This preliminary selection is based on 7.5.a-e of the Amendment to the Selection Criteria for Competitions (23-Jan.-2017): http://www.cccski.com/National-Ski-Team/Selection-Criteria/Amendment–2—2016-17-Selection-Criteria-for-Comp.aspx#.WKNIE7YrJhE. The remainder of the selection process (7.5.f-g) will be completed after March 5 to allow consideration of all the international race results in February and early March.” The preliminary selections (nine men and seven women) are outlined below. Canada’s Nation’s Cup quota for World Cup Finals is 15 women and 15 men. 2017 World Championship Team Alex Harvey                           NST – CNEPH – Club Nordique Mont Ste Ann Devon Kershaw                      NST – Onaping Falls Len Valjas Knute…