Two weeks to go to the Olympic Games, cross country skiing fans start counting disappointments
The modern sport is not about who wins – it’s about who’s got bigger personality, appeal, following. To simplify matters – if a skier got 50k subscribers on Instagram, that universal popularity tool, yet was not selected for Pyeonchang – it ain’t good for the great sport of skiing.
Let’s see who we’ll miss in Korea
The double crown goes to two Norwegians – but of course.
With a deliberate, symbolic denial of the Olympics to, arguably, world’s strongest female skier, the international sporting authorities are efforting to send a message – and fail, by all accounts. So, Therese Johaug is going to be watching the Olympics from her favorite hotel in Seiser Alm and we will be debating who would win were she there on the tracks of Pyeonchang. Lose-lose for all involved ( with exception of lovely Seiser Alm, naturally).
…Those authorities can’t be blamed for Petter Northug’s misfortunes in the last two seasons – but man, if anybody deserves a personal invitation to the Olympics, it’s the King of Skis. Too sick to compete? Let him be a master of ceremonies at the finish line, let him congratulate the winners instead of some functionary – let him be seen & heard! The man is the very face of cross country skiing in the last 15 years – we need him in Pyeonchang!
…Emil Joenssen might lack Northug’s worldwide fame – but is not much behind Petter in size of his personality. It’s an utter mystery why the Swedish ski federation is leaving behind its silver & bronze medalist of Sochi, known equally for his fierce competing style and ideal skiing technique.
..and then, of course, there’s the whole Russian debacle. Without re-telling the whole long story: to not invite the world’s best skier of 2017 to compete at the Olympics is a lunacy on the part of the International Olympic Committee. Worse, there seems to be no coherant explanation as to why was Sergey Ustiugov left off the list of invited – unless you somehow comprehand the following statement better than us:
“Not being included on the invitation list does not necessarily mean that an athlete has been doped – it should not automatically cast doubt on their integrity,” Valerie Fourneyron, chair of the panel overseeing the invitation process, said in an IOC statement.
Russia’s Number 2 this season, Alexander Bolshunov, 21 is, apparently on the list of those invited, ditto for another young Russian talent Alexey Chervotkin, 22 – but a 21 year old Denis Spitsov is ( allegedly – the list is not published officially) not. Logic much?
The day is still relatively young and things might change – in case of Ustiugov, for instance, there’s still hope. But ignoring demands of ski fans and media that would absolutely love to have those aforementioned at the Olympics is a wrong move by “deciding authorities”, plain and simple.