…On that photo Therese Johaug and Heidi Weng are looking at a race results monitor.
But they might as well be looking at the competition.
Norwegian juggernaut is not just strong – it’s overpowering and pretty much zapping the air from the sport.
Occasionally during the season it seems that the Norwegian dominance is broken – by Swedes in female skiing, Russians in male – but then Bang! And we are back to Top 10 being 75% Norwegian.
The International skiing lives off the money it gets from selling television rights. Now, put yourself in shoes of a national TV executive who is trying to decide: spend on skiing or on some Spartan race or whatever? There is 99% chance that yhe said executive would choose the sport where her/his countryman (or woman) are the champion or have a decent shot of becoming one. Case in point: the Russian national broadcaster, for instance, had purchased rights for FIS World Cup races in anticipation of Bolshunov and / or Ustiugov victories. No victories – no broadcasting.
We said it before – and we’ll keep on repeating it: the era when skiing was underpinned by publicly-funded television stations is nearly over, on all the key markes commercial channels are taking over. Does anybody seriously think they will pay to broadcast their countryman finishing ” strong 12″ minutes behind of a winning Norwegian?
…In other sports, including biathlon, the organizers, the competition rights holders, sit together and ponder: how do we level the playing field by artificially disadvantaging the biggest & richest? How do we make it less predictable?