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Oslo, Almaty and Beijing confirmed as 2022 Winter Olympic Ca

Oslo, Almaty and Beijing confirmed as 2022 Winter Olympic Ca

The race to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games has taken significant step forward after the International Olympic Committee unanimously agreed t...

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History

There is evidence that primitive skis were used in Norway over 5,000 years ago. As early as the 10th century, Vikings used skis for transportation. It wasn’t until the 19th century, however, that ski competitions came into existence, starting in Norway. The Holmenkollen ski festival was started in 1892. At first, the main focus of these nordic festivals was the nordic combined event — cross-country skiing and ski jumping. In 1900, a separate cross-country race was held at the Holmenkollen.

There are two styles of cross-country skiing: classic and freestyle.

In classic races, skiers use the traditional straight-striding technique (called a “diagonal stride”) and do not deviate from distinct parallel tracks. The form required for classic skiing resembles the form used on a typical cross-country exercise machine. From 1924 through 1984, only the classic technique was used in Olympic cross-country competition.

The freestyle technique, which is often referred to as “skating,” has no restrictions. The athletes do not keep their skis within narrow tracks but instead push off with both legs in a motion that resembles skating. Freestyle races, which usually are faster than classic races, have been part of the Olympic program since 1988.

 

Olympic History

Cross country has been contested at every Winter Olympics since 1924 with events for women added in 1952. From Games to Games distances and skiing techniques have changed but the goal to cover the distance as quickly as possible has not. It is without doubt one of the most demanding of all areobic sports. The Scandinavians and the Soviets have dominated the cross country skiing for much of its history.

Technical

Cross country involves two different skiing techniques: classic and freestyle. The classic technique is the traditional one: the skis are kept parallel and never abandon or deviate from the two tracks marked on the course. The freestyle technique allows the skier to choose a style similar to skating, pushing the skis from both legs. Gripping wax is generally applied to the skis to prevent them from slipping backwards on the uphill sections.

The cross-country discipline comprises twelve different cross-country skiing events. Three events are the same as Salt Lake 2002 - the 10/15km classic individual start, the four-person relays, and the sprint freestyle.

The format of the pursuit has changed, with the distance increasing to 30km (15km each leg) for men and 15km (7.5km each leg) for women, and there is now a pitstop to change equipment from classic to freestyle between the two legs. The race starts with a mass start in classic technique.

The team sprint was a totally new event in Turin. This involves two-person teams, each skiing the course three times in classic technique.

To make room for the team sprint, the individual 30km (men) and 15km (women) mass start events have been dropped from the Olympic schedule. However the 50km and 30km events have been chaned to mass start, and will be held in freestyle technique. So the events are:

 

Sprint (1.5km freestyle for men and women)

The sprint is the shortest event on the cross country program and any style of skiing is permitted. Sprint events begin with a qualifying round and the top skiers advance to a knockout phase, with quarter-finals, semi-finals and an A and B final.

 

Pursuit (15km women, 30km men)

The men’s and women’s pursuit race features two parts. From a mass start, the athletes race in the classical style (7.5km women, 15km men). During a pit stop on half way, the athletes change equipment from the classical to free technique. The second part is a freestyle race (7.5km women, 15km men), with competitors starting the freestyle portion staggered according to their finish in the classical. The athlete who crosses the finish line first wins.

 

Interval Start (classical - 10km women, 15km men)

In the classic events competitors start at 30 second intervals and the winner is the skier with the fastest time.

 

Team Sprint classical

There are two skiers per team, each of whom skis the course three times. The event has around 20 teams, with two heats of 10 teams. The top five teams in each heat advance to the final. The team sprint is run on the same course as the individual sprint and held in the Classic technique.

 

Relays (4x5km women, 4x10km men)

Each team has four skiers, each of whom skis one of the four 5km (women) or 10km (men) relay legs. The first two legs of the relay are skied classical style and the final two are freestyle.

 

Mass Start (freestyle - 30km women, 50km men)

Competitors start simultaneously, lined up in rows. The first competitor across the finish line wins the race.

equipment

Skis

Cross country skis are the lightest and slimmest of skis. Like all skis, the Nordic ski curves up at the tip. It is thicker and arched at the mid section of waist. A groove on the underside helps to keep the ski straight on the downhill sections of the trails. Skiers using the free technique use shorter skis and longer poles than those skiing in the classical fashion.

Boots

There are specialised cross country skiing boots, which clip into bindings on the ski by the toe only. This permits the heel to move freely. The boots come up over the ankle but are not as rigid as alpine ski boots.

Clothing

Most skiers wear some form of head-gear because of the extreme cold in which they often compete. They also often wear sunglasses to avoid snow-blindness.

rules

Competition Format

Sprint Events

The sprint begins with individual time trials on the sprint course with a 15-second interval start. The fastest 16 athletes move on to elimination heats. The top two finishers in each quarter-final advance to the semi-final rounds which are held as two heats of four athletes each. The final round consists of one heat of four athletes comprising two from each semi-final.

Team Sprint Events (Sprint Relay)

The team sprint event consists of semi-finals and final rounds. In the semi-final heats there are ten or more teams consisting of two athletes (A&B) who perform the relay three times (A,B,A,B,A,B). The best five teams qualify for the final.

Pursuit Events

The pursuit Events have a mass start and the athletes use both techniques within the same race. During a pit stop at the stadium after half of the race distance has been completed, the athletes change equipment from the classical to free technique.

Mass Start

Competitors start simultaneously, lined up in rows. The first competitor across the line wins the race.

Interval Start

Competitors start in intervals of 30 or 15 depending on the event. The athlete with the fastest individual time wins.

Relays

A team consists of four athletes, each of whom skis one leg of the race and then tags off to a team-mate. The relay has a mass start.

Our Results

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Squaw Valley 1960
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Innsbruck 1964
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Grenoble 1968
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Sapporo 1972
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Innsbruck 1976
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Lake Placid 1980
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Sarajevo 1984
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Calgary 1988
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Albertville 1992
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Lillehammer 1994
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Vancouver 2010
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EYOWF 2013
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Sochi 2014
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