FIS’ cross country skiing boss Vegard Ulvang have created a storm, announcing in interview with NRK that his organization is looking to spruce up the World Championship program by introducing new formats in skiing.
While the idea of having jump boards in sprint runs seems to be getting the most attention, the most realistic and easy to implement is the one about mixed gender relays.
It’s been tested in biathlon and there are no objective reasons why it couldn’t be tried even tomorrow.
We have decided to help Mr. Ulvang by taking his idea a step further – how about allowing only the known couples or “items” as they used to be called, to participate in such races?
Not wanting to be known as a gossip mag, we limit our review of potential contenders only to couples who are public (some even official) about their relationship.
Since Ulvang was talking sprints, it is only fair to start with a reigning world champion Federico Pellegrino and his long time partner Greta Laurent. Both excel in skating style, altough Greta is yet to win a major tournament.
Russia would be a very strong contender – World Champion and Tour de Ski-winner Sergey Ustiugov and his girlfriend Elena Soboleva, U23 World Champ of 2013 form a very strong team indeed.
Sweden would have a hard choice on its hands – either fielding Jennie Oeberg & Calle Halfvarsson (both had won sprints in the World Cup) or sending Anna Haag & Emil Joensson (only Joensson is a sprint specialist tough).
Finland would be represented by Kerttu Niskanen and Juho Mikkonen.
Our wild card goes to Germany: Laura Gimmler from “Bundesmannschaft B” and her boyfriend Florian Notz could surprise anybody on a good day.
And what of Norway? Well, the birthland of skiing might have many strong sprinters – but none of them are going out together, as far as publicly known. Of course, Johannes Klaebo have already said to the Norwegian VG, that he would choose Marit Bjoergen to be his mixed sprint partner, but, since Marit is happily married to another man, that disqualifies them from our Fantasy League of mixed relay, sorry.
There is, of course one and only Petter Northug, but we are not quite sure who would he choose to be his partner on the sprint tracks – and in life.
Top photo courtesy: instagram.com/_sobolysha_
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