Very true. Bjoergen still managed to win 3 gold medals (2 of them individual events) at Sochi, when team Norway supposedly had such terrible skis .Random Direction said:They must have better stones in Norway. Finer, coastal fjord stones.
yes, skis make a difference, but, save for waxing fiasco days where one is double poling on classic skis up a hill because there is no grip, or when there is an inch of snow stuck under the kick zone, skis and wax are marginal - especially with national team techs.
I've had slower athletes win races because everyone else focused on waxing instead of what was happening in their minds. Not sure they ever one because of wax - lost, yes.
At the elite level, major differences in speed are more likely clinic related than not.