Two years after Jostein Vinjerui and Hans Kristian Stadheim took helm of the British Nordic Ski Team’s senior squad it is evident that the things are going in the right direction.
Andrew Young and Jimmy Clugnet are now firmly among the world’s elite in sprint while Andrew Musgrave is a real man to watch in the upcoming season, his double victory at Blink be the witness ( just in case somebody forgot – Alex Bolshunov was the guy to win 60K C at Blink the previous year)
This is not an attempt of analysis of the trio’s performance in the hands of their Norwegian coaches – we totally lack a depth of data needed e.g. we have no idea either what the Great Britain spends on training its three best athletes or what exactly do they want to get for these money in medal count.
But, after watching the Team GB grow and progress in the last two years, we feel that we have a point to make:
It hardly matters how popular cross country skiing is at the starting point in time. The first step to get things going should not be organizing as many grass-root competitions and local clubs as you budget allows for the simple fact that niche sport budgets are always tiny and 1000 amateur skiers shall not translate into one international star.
Instead, if you really want to make some lasting difference, you should do what the British Nordic bosses did: find best coaches possible, allocate enough money to hire them and let them have a free hand in training your currently best.
When the medals come – and it now looks like they will come to Team GB Nordic soon enough – national media will start taking notice. Unless you live in Norway or Russia, XCskiing skiing is and always will be an exotic sport. But an Olympic champion is an Olympic champion, no matter what sport. A World Cup stage winner might not have the same sound to it – but there are many other factors at play.
Once big media realizes that a new champ a) speaks colloquial British English that all English speaking countries have a soft spot for b) is extremely photogenic or, as we say in business, “easy on the eyes”, the Nordic skiing recruitment via big screen promotion would turn into stampede. Snow or no snow ( by the way, Scandinavian SAS is opening direct flights from London and Copenhagen right in the middle of xcskiing paradise
People of XXI century are in perennial need of new form of entertainment ( hence all those new sports one never heard of 10 years ago that are all the rage now) and new Instagram icons to adore. British Nordic is now giving them a chance.
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