Thursday, February 18, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
"I check fasterskier regularly because I love this sport and there are frequently informative updates and news on the website. Over the past few years it has become a legitimate, unbiased site that has moved away from worshiping Norway, Finland or whatever other country was having dominate results at the time.
As the most popular xc skiing site in North America I think this is very important. Developing athletes should know what is going on in the skiing world without the mythical context that used to plague much of North America’s xc ski journalism.
When I was coming up as a junior I heard rumors that American skiers couldn’t ski Bjorn Daehlie’s 10k pace for 100 meters. I heard that US skiers could never again achieve what Bill Koch did in 1976. I heard about incredible training plans that the Scandanavians followed, 1200 hours with level four intervals everyday etc. These rumors made believing that a US skier could be a red group skier let alone a world or Olympic medalist difficult to believe.
At my first Olympics in Utah what I learned about international ski racing is that all of my competitors are just men. They train, they race, some win, some lose but they are all just men.
This realization was very important to my subsequent racing career. I was able to ignore over-blown hype about mythical Norseman and German “ski-gods.” I could focus on real training plans and focus my energy on succeeding at the highest level.
Over the past decade I have seen the xc-skiing climate in America change as more and more racers have seen through the fog of hype that has surrounded international racing. Clear focus has enabled the US Ski Team to post stronger and stronger results. There is no more excitement around simply scoring world cup points. The excitement is gone from a top 20 finish. A top 10 is met with congratulations but only a medal is met with true jubilation as it was for Kikkan last year in Liberec. This is the way it should be.
XC skiing in America holds itself to higher standing than it has in several decades. It could be seen this past weekend in Canmore when the nations group wasn’t here to gawk or spectate but to put there heads down and race. I saw a focus and confidence from our skiers that I have not seen in my nine years with the ski team. I hope every skier in the US will have this kind of focus soon. There is no more time for hero worship, its time to become heroes ourselves."