The International World of Cross Country Skiing


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February 18th 2010
Published: February 18th 2010
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 Video Playlist:

1: Name the Country Flags! 103 secs
I have to admit that I don’t know much about the sport of cross country skiing. I am a cross country skier, it is a peaceful way to experience the outdoors, be healthy, and active during the winter. When it comes to racing, I am as rookie as it gets. I picked up some cross country skiing tickets because, well, they were available, and really cheap, so I figured this would be another great chance to experience another Olympic sport you don’t normally see, and take in some international Olympic spirit.

As I walked into the venue, it is about 10 km away from Whistler and required a bus ride, I was joined with some rather enthusiastic Norwegians. They were really excited about their chances for gold, and had a pretty amazing outfit to match their enthusiasm. I could tell this was going to be a good day.

The racers were already warming up when I found a place by the fence to take in some nice relaxing action, right? Nope- there was nothing relaxing about this. When the competitors began their time trials and reached the part of course where I was, I first noticed a roar from the crowd get louder and louder, closer and closer. There was a line of coaches in front of me, blocking most of my view. Out of no where, one coach starts sprinting down the course beside his athlete, screaming at her as loud as possible. The crowd reacted to the enthusiasm and began to cheer. I could tell this sport wasn’t exactly what I thought it to be.

This continued for nearly all the racers that went passed. This created a cycle of loud and quiet where I was sitting, the skier would ski past us and everyone would get crazy, and just as soon as it began, everything was quiet again. It was like a wave of energy that followed the racer around the course. Something I’ve never seen before.

For a sport like this, the Olympics is like their Superbowl; a gold medal being the ultimate prize of a cross country skier. This was so apparent when I saw them compete. I have never seen athletes push themselves to their breaking point so much. Many of the skiers, as soon as they crossed the finish line, fell to the snow, completely exhausted, totally spent. Some athletes
The Winners at the flower ceremonyThe Winners at the flower ceremonyThe Winners at the flower ceremony

medals are awared later at a large ceremony.
had to be carried off to the training tent set up nearby.

This particular race was all done in the ‘classic’ style of Nordic skiing, meaning they can’t use a skating motion to propel them. It is the typical skier’s pose you see on signs and pictures; they can only kick one leg forward, along with using their poles, to go as fast as they could. It is a whole body workout, from head to toe.

As the races picked up momentum, the time trials led to quarter finals, those to semi finals, and then the finals for the men and women, the more different country supporters arrived. There must have been 10,000 flags in the venue, most I barely recognized. By far, though, were my friends from Norway, they had a HUGE crowd and so many flags on display it seemed like “Little Norway.” In the words of the Norwegens I walked in with, “Norway is empty now. Everyone’s here!”

That being said, it’s time for a little geography lesson. As you can see, at the top of this post is a short video. I patched together a few of my videos I took this afternoon. It has more shots of the stands along the cross country course than it does the race. Just as I noticed a lot of different country’s flags in the stands, I think you will too.

Your task is: Watch the video and try to list every country’s flag that you see. (be fast, the video is quick and kind of shaky! Hint* the long picture will help you get started)



Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


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18th February 2010

Vancouver 2010
I just wanted to write a comment and give you a big thumbs up for the pics you posted on here of the cross country skiing event. I have yet to go check out any of the games and I live in Vancouver (I know no excuse). Anyways great blog and I can't wait to see future posts.
19th February 2010

many thanks!
Thanks for the nice words! I do hope you get to some of the events, they are pretty amazing! I will continue posting, so stay tuned!

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