— Jenny Olsson (SWE), who retired from competitive skiing in 2006, passed away on Sunday after a fight with cancer. During her career, Olsson won five individual national titles and had one of the best races of her life in 2003 at the World Championship 15 k in Val di Fiemme, where she placed fifth. Long afterwards, Olsson was a well-loved ambassador of skiing in Sweden. Our thoughts are with Olsson’s loved ones.
— The 2013 American Birkebeiner could be the biggest yet. Registration for North America’s largest ski marathon opened on Monday with a 10,000-entrant cap for its Feb. 23 races (50 k skate/54 k classic, 23 k Kortelopet and 12 k Haakon). That’s about 1,000 more than last winter.
American Birkebeiner Executive Director Ned Zuelsdorff said in a press release that the increase correlated with the race’s steady growth over the last three years. Since 2010, the Birkie has broken its participant records.
“In 2012 we also reached our cap earlier than ever before, a full three months before the event,” Zuelsdorff said. “This increase to 10,000 is a way to accommodate a few more skiers, especially as we get ready to celebrate our 40th Anniversary. It will be a big year for the Birkie and we want to include as many people who want to participate as possible. In carefully choosing the new cap, we’ve also made every assurance that each participant will again enjoy the highest quality Birkie experience.”
To register, go to birkie.com.
— The head of the Vasaloppet, Jonas Bauer recently announced that he was stepping down from his CEO position after organizing Sweden’s famed 90 k ski race for the last five years. According to a press release, he will become a destination manager for SkiStar Sälen, a travel company.
“I’ve had five totally fantastic years with Vasaloppet and have been part of an almost unbelievable development,” Bauer said.
Aside from leading the Vasaloppet’s winter operations, Jonas helped introduce running and cycling races to make the event year round. The event has grown from 45,000 to about 80,000 participants per year.
— Ivan Hudač, who coached Slovenia’s Petra Majdič to an Olympic bronze in 2010 and two World Championships medals, prematurely ended his four-year contract with the Slovenian Ski Team..
After his longtime athlete Majdič retired at the end of the 2010/2011 season, Hudač coached the Slovenian men’s U23 team. He told RTV Slovenia that he terminated his contract after “careful consideration and certain circumstances.”
“I wish the team much success in the future, but now I want take some time for myself to consider what to do next,” Hudač said.