(Photos by Phil Bowen)
i’m back for my annual tour of Scandinavia. this year arriving from uganda instead of minnesota, however. it’s about the same nine hours of travel, but a lot easier to adjust because i’m not crossing seven time zones. the spring world cups here are a good part of the tour to follow because they pack a lot of races in to a short time. five venues in two weeks; lahti, drammen, oslo, stockholm, and falun. the flight from entebbe, uganda to amsterdam only runs three days a week, so time restrictions meant that i could only get to the middle three races. still a lot of action to cover.
it’s nice to return to the nordic scene, but i won’t be sad to go back to my 25 cent bottles of water, 50 cent bottles of pop and dollar-fifty bottles of beer, which are here three, three, and nine dollars respectively. scandinavia can be a bit spendy. but the landscape, climate and yellow and red farmhouses remind me of my roots, so it is still nice to get a taste of home. what does not remind me of my roots, however, is the scene that awaited me last night in the public exercise room outside the sauna. two russian coaches were engaged in a fierce battle of ping-pong. one of whom was dressed in what is apparently their traditional ping pong uniform: nothing but tablecloth-print tighty whiteys, and black socks pulled calf high. classic.
it’s been interesting to note a change in team attitude from one year ago. i met up with the team after last week’s lahti world cups where the US finished 7th, 14th, and 21st. and it was immediately apparent that these were disappointing results. since china a year ago, newell, kikkan and koos have all been on the podium. more to come, i’m sure.
the view across oslo from the base of the holmenkollen ski jump.
it was definitely a nice day to be a spectator, standing around taking pictures. probably a pretty nice day to be a skier, too.
good klister conditions. pete and crew had the skis up and running.
chris cook in flight. the sprinters sometimes use assisted speed. like runners with a bungee cord or swimmers with a tow. here they drop in to the flats from a downhill so they can work on proper speed technique without expending the energy getting up to speed from a standstill.
kikkan randall working on her starts.