• Sweden edition
 
A layman's look at cross-country skiing

A layman's look at cross-country skiing

Published: 09 Feb 2010 13:36 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Feb 2010 13:36 GMT+01:00

Yes, there are two techniques with different equipment: classic, where the skis move through machine-groomed tracks, and free technique, where skiers glide on shorter skis and is slightly faster. The athletes wear skin-tight, all-in-one suits to make them stream-lined.

Isn't it dominated by the Scandinavians?

Certainly Sweden, Norway and Finland are strong as the sport originated there. But Switzerland's Dario Cologna and Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic are two men to watch, while Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland and Slovenia's Petra Majdic are tipped for big things in women's world.

So the race begins and everyone just skis like crazy to get to the finish?

No, there are six different disciplines and 12 events where medals will be won - Individual, Mass Start, Pursuit, Individual Sprint, Team Sprint and Relay.

A team sprint AND a relay?

In a nutshell, the Team Sprint sees teams of two athletes race against each other three times each for a total of six laps over the sprint course.

After the semi-finals, the best 10 teams make the final. In the relay, teams of four ski the first two legs using the classic technique, and the last two legs using free technique. The races begin in a massed start."

Sounds like a recipe for a pile-up.

No, in the massed start races, the skiers go off simultaneously, lined up in an arrow format with the best-ranked skiers at the arrow's point.

So what do the different race categories mean?

Basically, for the Individual Start, an athlete starts every 30 seconds and the winner is the skier with the lowest time. For the Massed Start, the skiers start simultaneously in the arrow formation and the first across the line wins, often with a photo finish. The Pursuit combines free and classic techniques and the skiers change equipment halfway through.

A bit like triathlon?

Yes. At the halfway mark, the athletes change skis and poles as quickly as possible and the first across the line wins. The Individual Sprint is a knock-out competition where six skiers eventually contest the final.

Like a football cup competition?

Yes, the skiers have to survive three rounds to contest the final. As you can probably imagine, it is a physically demanding sport.

Ah yes, doesn't have a drug-free reputation, does it?

Like all endurance sports, it is prone to doping as the gap between success and failure can be less than a second. The sport requires huge amounts of aerobic training, especially for endurance events like the men's 50-kilometre mass start. High-performance athletes train twice a day, six days a week and up to 700 hours yearly.

What is Nordic Combined all about?

It's where ski-jumping meets cross-country skiing. After a jumping competition, the athletes rest and then contest a free technique cross-country race. The break between can be as little as 35 minutes, or as long as a few hours.

How can they work out a winner with distance and times involved?

Known as a Gundersen or pursuit start, the jumping results decide the starting seed for the cross-country race that follows with the winner going off first and the other athletes following seconds or even minutes afterwards depending on their jump performance.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag meets children in Husby, Stockholm. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation

The Swedish government announced that it plans to remove all mentions of race from Swedish legislation, saying that race is a social construct which should not be encouraged in law. READ  

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

A mystery airplane that passed over Swedish airspace recently has been revealed as an American aircraft, sources revealed on Thursday. READ  

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Sweden's three elite boarding schools can no longer charge tuition fees, the government announced on Thursday, in a string of changes following a two-year review. READ  

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace
Photos: TT

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated that there are four steps to achieving peace in Gaza, and that it begins with removing the blockade - which has "played into Hamas' hands". READ  

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Cecilia Malmström has been nominated to be the European Commissioner for another five years, Sweden's prime minister announced on Thursday. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party
Conchita Wurst belts out a ballad. Photo: Rebecca Jacobs

In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party

With Stockholm's Pride Week in full swing, The Local's Rebecca Jacobs heads on down to the traditional Historic Party to take in the colours, Conchita, and the community. READ  

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two people were taken to hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning after a fire began in their central Stockholm apartment. READ  

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall
Photo: Jim Cole/TT

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall

Swedish supermarket chain Coop has recalled its in-store brand of fresh hamburger meat after a routine check revealed traces of salmonella in the meat. READ  

What's On in Sweden
Photo: Roger Vikström/TT

What's On in Sweden

It's Pride Week in Stockholm. Find out more about the celebrations (including the biggest Pride Parade in Scandinavia) as well as plenty of other activities in Sweden's three biggest cities. READ  

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
National
Gender neutral pronoun 'hen' enters dictionary
Society
Top ten cafes in Stockholm
People-watching
Gallery
People-watching - Stockholm Pride
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden
Society
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Blog updates

31 July

Calling a speedo a speedo (Blogweiser) »

"There are a lot of speedos on Europe’s beaches. Some European males are evidently more comfortable sporting small, stretchy suits on public beaches than I would be. I accept it may be nice to have swimwear that’s not long and cumbersome. A speedo is maybe also good for tanning. But strolling around town in a..." READ »

 

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 
 
 
Lifestyle
Stockholm Pride kicks off
Analysis
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
National
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
National
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
National
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Gallery
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

751
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se