Blinkfestivalen, one of the world’s best organized, best funded and best attended xcski/biathlon events will be held this August but out of town and with massively altered program.
With large crowds banned, the competition is now mostly held for the sake of television broadcast. A long time must-have for the national broadcaster NRK, Blink is coming to the rest of Europe this year for the first via EBU (but biathlon races only – the European Broadcastng Union is interested in promoting biathlon, doesn’t care about xcskiing)
The venue of the Blink events is now Sandnes Arena. Which is not a bad thing at all, neither from athletes point of view, nor television viewers’. The newly built 4.2k facility with a full-size shooting range might be the best rollerski track stadium in the world, period. Or so we’ve been told but a few top coaches who had their skiers to test it last year.
There will be new race formats this year – including a team competition where the winner will be determined by the distance skied in certain amount of time. Basically, anything but mass starts, hitherto Blink’s favorite format.
The best Norwegian skiers and biathletes will attend as always and, likely,will be joined by those foreign ones who essentially made Norway their home e.g. British star Andrew Musgrave, the winner of the last Blink. “Out of town” foreigners’ presence is highly unlikely – Norway is currently shut for external visitors at least till the end of August. Boo!
The marquee Lysebotn uphill race is in the program too – but is going to be the individual start. Technically, it is supposed to be without spectators too but good luck keeping the fans out!