• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swedish ski wax sparks bitter feud with Norway

AFP · 17 Feb 2014, 11:41

Published: 17 Feb 2014 11:41 GMT+01:00

While not a threat to international peace -- yet -- the enmity between Nordic neighbours Sweden and Norway on the supposedly placid cross country skiing tracks can barely be matched for bad blood.
 
After striking three early golds in the cross country events at Sochi 2014, the men's and women's relays were an unmitigated disaster for Norway, coming fourth and fifth in races both won by... Sweden.
   
Norway's fearsome star cross country skier Petter Northug -- a bete noire for Swedes who does not mince his words -- cut a sad and angry figure as he crossed the line in the men's race.
   
"Ridiculed by the Swedes, again!" lamented the Norwegian daily Verdens Gang after the men's race Sunday.
   
It was the first time the all-conquering Norwegian women's team had even lost a relay race since 2009 while the men were outclassed on every leg by Sweden, Russia and France.
   
The reason for the disaster was less do to with the athletes themselves than the preparation and waxing of skis to deal with the Sochi snow -- soft and slushy after hot weather.
 
The world's top cross country ski teams employ a battalion of specialists to prepare athletes' skis for every race, putting the right wax on the base of the ski to ensure the maximum glide on different types of snow.
   
But this time, Norway's usually infallible waxing team appears to have got things wrong. And to the delight of Swedes, badly wrong, while the Swedish skis have moved like lightning.
   
"Zlatan would have won on those (Sweden's) skis," Northug was quoted as saying afterwards, referring to the Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic whose skiing talents he presumably does not rate too highly.
   
"When the skis are that bad, it's just awful. It's not fun to race when it's like this," fumed Norway relay team member Chris Andre Jespersen.
   
Rubbing salt into the Norwegian wounds, Swedish gold medal winner Daniel Richardsson baited his rivals by suggesting it was their form, rather than their skis, that was to blame.
   
"Those guys I raced with today have the same (skis) as me. Not bad, not worse either. We have good skis in Sweden. I think Norway has as well."
  
Jespersen spat back: "If he'd raced with my skis I don't think he would have done so well."
   
Sweden's cross country skiing coach, Rikard Grip, acknowledged that the team's skis had been "fantastic" and admitted there had been a concerted effort to work out how to beat the Norwegians.
   
Meanwhile Norwegian media pointed out that Norway was still far ahead of Sweden in the overall medals table with five golds at Sochi compared to Sweden's two, both from the relays.
   
"Okay, so we were crushed by the Swedes in the relays, we can't wax skis and there are crises in the Norwegian cross country," said Verdens Gang. "But we are still big brother. At least in the medals table."
 
Story continues below…
As in all good Nordic dramas of hatred and passion, a sub plot has also developed in the shape of a feud between Norway and the Russian team.    
 
This has been rumbling all season since Northug -- him again -- vowed to "destroy" one of Russia's top skiers Maxim Vylegzhanin in Sochi.  
 
The tensions reached a peak last week in the first men's cross country race of the Games when Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby took bronze in the skiathlon by a whisker from Vylegzhanin after skiing across his path in the final strides.
   
Russia protested, Sundby was warned but kept his position and medal. But the Russian neither forgave nor forgot and Russia's silver-medal winning relay hero Alexander Legkov said he was glad Norway had come out of the race empty handed.
   
"It's good to know that the French won bronze. I didn't want the Norwegians to win because of what they did to Maxim," he said.
 
"This is revenge - tit for tat."

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Kidnappers with chainsaw abduct man in Stockholm
The scene of the kidnapping in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A man has been arrested after armed kidnappers bundled another man into a van and drove off with him shortly after noon on Friday outside the Bromma Blocks shopping centre in Stockholm.

Border Checks
Commuters to seek damages from Sweden over ID checks
The Öresund bridge. Photo: Erland Vinberg/TT

The Southern Sweden Chamber of Commerce is collecting commuters' names ahead of an attempt to claim damages from the Swedish state over ID checks in the Öresund region.

Why Swedes are so relaxed about taking gap years
Anna Tybrandt and her friends in Malaysia/Photo: Private

But the French aren't so keen.

Euro 2016
How Iceland made Swedes 'proud to be Nordic'
Fans react in Reykjavic after Iceland defeat England. Photo: Brynjar Gunnarsson

Sweden failed to make it past the group stages at Euro 2016. The fans needed a new team, and now they've got one.

Why this Swedish police dog has been hailed as a hero
Äddie the police dog has finally retired after ten years on the job. Photo: Christer Torlen

A heart-warming Stockholm Police tribute to Äddie the retiring police dog has attracted hundreds of replies and thousands of likes on Facebook.

Five facts on Manchester United-bound Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic is on his way to Old Trafford. Here's everything you need to know. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has finally confirmed his next choice of club. Here are five facts on the Swedish striker after he announced he is signing for Manchester United on Thursday.

Swedish state appeals against Roma register ruling
Fred Taikon was one of the eleven victims. Photo: Maja Suslin

A court ruling judged that the Swedish state should pay out compensation to eleven victims of ethnic discrimination, but an appeal has now been launched.

Ikea opens massive museum in Sweden
A scene from the museum in Älmhult. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

Flatpack enthusiasts rejoice: Ikea has just opened a 7,000 square metre museum in the building that once housed its original store.

The Local Recipes
How to make a Swedish chicken and strawberry salad
Chicken and strawberry: a better combination than it may seem. Photo: SwedishFood.com

Easy to prepare, this chicken and strawberry salad is the meal you need this weekend, trust us!

Ibrahimovic confirms Manchester United move
Ibrahimovic playing for Sweden at Euro 2016. Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis/TT

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has put months of speculation over his future to an end by confirming that he will join Manchester United.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
National
'A Swedish passport means more than a British one now'
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
The Local Voices
The Syrian body-building champion fighting the urge to eat sweets in Sweden
Business & Money
Swedish banknotes expire this week
Blog updates

1 July

Editor’s blog, July 1st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello and welcome to this week’s news round-up. The fall-out from the Brexit vote has come…" READ »

 

28 June

A message for British expats in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"The people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union. As Prime Minister…" READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: June 29th
Sponsored Article
International students in Stockholm partner with Nepal school
International
Foul-mouthed attack on young Swedish mother in England
Private
The Local Voices
'Having a Middle Eastern name makes life in Sweden hard'
National
Is this Swede the new Vincent van Gogh?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
Citizenship applications up 500% for Brits in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
The humble Swede who sent England home from Euro 2016
Gallery
Property of the week: Torhamn
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Private
The Local Voices
'Sweden is the best place for people with special needs'
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
International
'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
International
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
International
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
Gallery
People-watching: June 22nd
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
Private
The Local Voices
'Swedes don't treat me differently because I wear a hijab'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
3,248
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se