Doping in XC skiing

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Re:

Armchaircyclist said:
1-2-3-4, 6-7-8, the ridiculous thing is how sad the competition is !
However, these tracks at Lillehammer were of an unusual type, favouring several of the Norwegians. Too much up and down compared to the normal tracks, so favouring Sundby and Johaug, while our real #1 Northug, struggled to get a 6th Place.

The usual explanation that we have so many fighting for a few spots in the team, holds true as usual, but the domination is still too much even for a Norwegian ? How can foreigners bother looking at all ?

How the Swedes are doing so badly, is a mystery to me, it's not like it's a Secret to Kalla and the Swedes that the Norwegians are working out more than they do, they've been trying to work out With the Norwegians... Most of the rest of the world could not care less about cross-country, but for the Finns and Swedes to have such poor performances, is sad.

The Swedes just don't have the consistency and generally speaking, great depth. They have great young talents right now that will hopefully change that, but we'll see. Not sure what's happened to Hellner. Maybe loss of motivation, lack of good training, illness that wasn't publicized, etc. Richardsson and Olsson are focusing on marathons this season and Halfvarsson is injured and may even miss the Tour de Ski. They're gonna have it rough this season. The sprinters should be decent, but they lack the numbers there as well. Peterson and Jonsson won't be around forever.

You never know with the Finns, particularly their men. They too, lack depth. They never recovered from the 2001 doping scandal. That real hit them hard. Heikkinen is out for the year, Jauhojarvi is past his prime and Niskanen....not sure why he isn't racing the Lillehammer world cup but he had good warm up races prior to Kuusamo. It could be training, trying to taper off and build from the quality and the hours. Their women are ok and probably the ones that could avert a complete Norwegian sweep tomorrow (Sweden maybe, and the US has good skiers now, but don't think they are in form, apart from Bjornsen).

Yes, I do agree that the women's field weak right now. Perhaps the weakest it's been in years. I think after the retirements of Majdic, Follis, Genuin, Longa, Kuitunen, Smigun, Neumanova (it's been some time now), and Saarinen close to retirement and pathetic skiing from the Russian, Italian and French women, and also lack of numbers from the other nations, it has made it look more one sided. I will grant you that. Unfortunately, you are right, the sport might be in big trouble. Yes, you'll have scandinavian interest and if the Russians continue to challenge in the mens races and sprint races, and if the US women improve, there might be a surge in viewership, but by and large, I can't see how FIS expects to see this sport to grow with the path it's on right now.

Having said all of that, it is an endurance sport, and we've seen some real Armstrong/Muehlegg, too good to be true performances over the last few years from various skiers from various countries, not just Norwegians, and there is some money to be had and big sponsorships are there so we have to be skeptical, if not convinced of PED use. I am not convinced that the top dogs in this sport are clean. Sundby and Johaug looked barely out of breath there.
 
Sundby and Johaug should release their lab results and get ahead of the curve. That plus stoned grinding whilst ski prep is an impenetrable defence.

Johaug was 6sec per km faster than Weng. Think about it for a while. Aren't these athletes supposed to be the cream of the crap, anomalies of the physiological anomalies, margin walkers of the margin walkers.

Yet all we get is this FVGAZI of a sport where the top dogs just toy with their opponents.
 
Re:

Armchaircyclist said:
1-2-3-4, 6-7-8, the ridiculous thing is how sad the competition is !
However, these tracks at Lillehammer were of an unusual type, favouring several of the Norwegians. Too much up and down compared to the normal tracks, so favouring Sundby and Johaug, while our real #1 Northug, struggled to get a 6th Place.

The usual explanation that we have so many fighting for a few spots in the team, holds true as usual, but the domination is still too much even for a Norwegian ?
Armchaircyclist, from previous postings I know you're well informed about Norwegian sports. The dominance by MJS and TJ in both Saturday individual race and today's relay are unprecedented. The only time we've seen a similar dominance, as Fredriksson yesterday rightly pointed out (under heavy Norwegian criticism), was in Soldier Hollow.

If Norwegian dominance over known dopers in the 90s and early 2000s was explained with stone grinding, today's mantra seems to be more training hours than the other nations. How come that no one else seems to be able to come even close to the numbers MJS and TJ are putting in? Laziness, genetics or....?

It's a well known fact that micro-dosing different PEDs can be very useful in getting faster recovery, hence being able to put in more training hours.

What sticks out with MJS, TJ and PN from the rest of the Norwegian team is their clearly narcissistic personalities. MJS and PN are both convicted for drunk driving, something which is a heavy taboo in Norway. In both their cases it seems to walk hand in hand with arrogant and self-centered personalities. So, beside the fact that Norwegians are more moral than rest of the world and committed anti-dopers: even in the best of families it might be a sheep or two with a shadier wool.
 
I used to be a huge fan of Bjoerndalen. Who doesn't love a winner?
And Johaug, since she hit the scene and was only beat by the fast climbing bodybuilders.
And Fourcade, for being so light on his legs and unpredictable in shooting.

Really, they're all mocking the sport. The way Bjoerndalen is consistenty as fast as the absolute cream of new the new generation 20 years his junior.
Johaug, I know she has a physiological advantage. Just the way science works, in conbination with fixed width and limited ski length for tall people. And she's a unique athlete, they way she goes about her skiing. But, it's mocking us.

Martin Fourcade, so consistently above the rest in speed, and now more than ever, it's like Norwegians don't care about biathlon or quick skiing. I feel insulted.

Fourcade goes to train in Oslo. Bjoerdalen hides in the Alps. Johaug got ony beat by insanely muscular Bjoergen and EPO Kowalcksky. All seem to forget to breath heavily doing the most intense sports on eath.
If you ever did some decent skiing, you know it's alien. This is not about stone grinds.
 
Cloxxki said:
Really, they're all mocking the sport.

Fourcade goes to train in Oslo. Bjoerdalen hides in the Alps. Johaug got ony beat by insanely muscular Bjoergen and EPO Kowalcksky. All seem to forget to breath heavily doing the most intense sports on eath.
If you ever did some decent skiing, you know it's alien. This is not about stone grinds.
Pretty much sums up the feeling among the remaining few of us who still care about what has become a sorry excuse for a Sport.
 
John de Savage said:
BullsFan22 said:
Looks like the Norwegians at it again this season. Sundby looking untouchable already. It reminds me of 15-16 years ago, when the Norwegians would go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 in the men's race this time of year. The next two people? In one of those races it was Muehlegg and Elofsson. I don't need to tell you about Muehlegg, do I? Yes they had noticeably fast skis yesterday (especially compared to the Russians, who would be reduced to almost a crawl the second half of the big last hill in Kuusamo), but does that paint the entire picture?
Norway's depth means many of the lesser norwegians are in good form early in the season just to qualify for the WC team. They are not that dominant at the major events. Remove Petter and this is the number of distance gold medals won by Norway's men's team at the worlds and olympics:

2009: 0

2010: 0

2011: 0

2013: 0

2014: 0

2015: 0

Not even a silver behind Petter. Sweden and Russia have outperformed non-Petter Norway in the most important races.
Not entirely true.

2011: Roenning 2nd in 15km classic, Sundby 3rd in 15km classic, Gjerdalen 3rd in 50km skate.
2013: Sundby 2nd in 30km skiathlon, Roethe 3rd in 30km skiathlon, Gjerdalen 3rd in 15km skate.
2015: Gloersen 3rd in 15km skate

Certainly, the men's distance team doesn't peak as well as Northug does for the big events, but obviously the've had decent amount of success in the last few world championships.
 
BullsFan22 said:
John de Savage said:
BullsFan22 said:
Looks like the Norwegians at it again this season. Sundby looking untouchable already. It reminds me of 15-16 years ago, when the Norwegians would go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 in the men's race this time of year. The next two people? In one of those races it was Muehlegg and Elofsson. I don't need to tell you about Muehlegg, do I? Yes they had noticeably fast skis yesterday (especially compared to the Russians, who would be reduced to almost a crawl the second half of the big last hill in Kuusamo), but does that paint the entire picture?
Norway's depth means many of the lesser norwegians are in good form early in the season just to qualify for the WC team. They are not that dominant at the major events. Remove Petter and this is the number of distance gold medals won by Norway's men's team at the worlds and olympics:

2009: 0

2010: 0

2011: 0

2013: 0

2014: 0

2015: 0

Not even a silver behind Petter. Sweden and Russia have outperformed non-Petter Norway in the most important races.
Not entirely true.

2011: Roenning 2nd in 15km classic, Sundby 3rd in 15km classic, Gjerdalen 3rd in 50km skate.
2013: Sundby 2nd in 30km skiathlon, Roethe 3rd in 30km skiathlon, Gjerdalen 3rd in 15km skate.
2015: Gloersen 3rd in 15km skate

Certainly, the men's distance team doesn't peak as well as Northug does for the big events, but obviously the've had decent amount of success in the last few world championships.
One more: Sundby was (although he should have been relegated for obstructing Vylegzhanin in the final meters of the 30km skiathlon) 3rd in the skiathlon. Remember that Northug didn't do so hot in Sochi. Really none of the men did that well there, apart from Hattestad in the sprint and Sundby in the 30km and 50km.
 
Lillehammer Mens relay.
Normay fill the podium. 12 Norwegians get prizes, rest of the world empty handed.
Norway IV also top-10.

Curiously, Northug seemed like the slowest skier out there, although I know a few were indeed slower. Perhaps just being lazy, not needing to open a gap to Norway III? Or targeted more by ADA's?

Russia managed IV and V, ahead of several nations I truly do not trust medially either.

Norway is looking worse than Festina and USPS did. Leave their 8 best skiers home, and could still win the relay.
 
Cloxxki said:
Lillehammer Mens relay.
Normay fill the podium. 12 Norwegians get prizes, rest of the world empty handed.
Norway IV also top-10.

Curiously, Northug seemed like the slowest skier out there, although I know a few were indeed slower. Perhaps just being lazy, not needing to open a gap to Norway III? Or targeted more by ADA's?

Russia managed IV and V, ahead of several nations I truly do not trust medially either.

Norway is looking worse than Festina and USPS did. Leave their 8 best skiers home, and could still win the relay.

It's very noticeable how aggressive all the Norwegians skied today. It's one thing for one or two to be world beaters, but when virtually every Norwegian skis like a world cup champion, something is up. I wonder what the rest of the nations are thinking right now. The Russians actually did somewhat well. Legkov skied the fastest 3rd leg and Ustyugov the fastest 4th leg. Not sure why Ustyugov wasn't put in the 1st team, because I think they could have broken the 1-2-3. Anyway everyone that's a not a Norwegian should feel embarrassed by these past two weeks. The Norwegians are thoroughly smashing everyone to bits. There is foul play involved for some, if not most of the top skiers, but they won't keep this up the whole season. If they do, well....definitely some juicing.
 
Discgear said:
Cloxxki said:
Really, they're all mocking the sport.

Fourcade goes to train in Oslo. Bjoerdalen hides in the Alps. Johaug got ony beat by insanely muscular Bjoergen and EPO Kowalcksky. All seem to forget to breath heavily doing the most intense sports on eath.
If you ever did some decent skiing, you know it's alien. This is not about stone grinds.
Pretty much sums up the feeling among the remaining few of us who still care about what has become a sorry excuse for a Sport.
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This thing about not being out of breath/breathing hard.. Do you actually watch skiing ? If you watched Johaug in her phenomenal win, it was obvious that if anything she was breathing the hardest of all the top skiers. I mean, it takes quite hard breathing for us to actually hear it on TV when skiing out in the slopes.

Bjoerndalen living in the alps after moving there when he married somebody there, is what you Call hiding ? Fourcade training With Norwegians and living in Norway's Capitol city is hiding ? Really ?

Instead of talking about doping, you should be adressing the obvious economic problem, that except for Norwegians, cross-country hardly is a career for an aspiring athlete. There are no real teams except the national team, and possibilities for foreigners to make it against a nation were cross country is the number 1 sport, are very Limited.

The New prohibition against fluorcarbones in the ski-prep, may also give us an advantage, as we have huge Projects well funded, to get the best skis even With New rules..
 
Another issue I can't quite come to grips with.
Sprinters becoming distance contenders.

Bjoergen foremost, arms like 80's Schwarzenegger, winning 30k's against way skinnier girls. And not getting any leaner as she started dominating distance.

Kikkan Randall to a lesser extent, although not going sleeveless anywhere I think :)
Now Ingemarsdotter and Falla are top-5 or certainly distance skiers. Making born specialist distance skiers look silly.

On the breathing. Johaug is an audible one indeed. But if you've ever done XC skiing, you know why is it that mortals crash to the snow after the finish line and just basically wish to die. Now I see athletes picking their nose as they cross the finish line looking quite bored, close to 30kph average.

Northug started this perhaps. Being both, but from a young age.
 
Apart from the obvious, could the changing phenotype be driven by changing track profiles, too? Shortening uphills tends to reward skiers that are more of the sprinter orientation, making the distance races to 5min on 1-2min off interval style events. At the same time, endurance is less about sustaining LT but about shorter more intensive bursts.

This was Harri Kirvesniemi's take a few years back. He knows skiing and doping alike, so maybe there is something to it?
 
Re:

meat puppet said:
Apart from the obvious, could the changing phenotype be driven by changing track profiles, too? Shortening uphills tends to reward skiers that are more of the sprinter orientation, making the distance races to 5min on 1-2min off interval style events. At the same time, endurance is less about sustaining LT but about shorter more intensive bursts.

This was Harri Kirvesniemi's take a few years back. He knows skiing and doping alike, so maybe there is something to it?
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This is correct !
Nobody would be surprised by a muscular TT-cyclist, and it's the same thing With skiing.

Another thing is that sprint is actually middle-distance, in running compareable to 1500m. Many long distance runners start out as faster middle-distance types.
 
Re:

meat puppet said:
Apart from the obvious, could the changing phenotype be driven by changing track profiles, too? Shortening uphills tends to reward skiers that are more of the sprinter orientation, making the distance races to 5min on 1-2min off interval style events. At the same time, endurance is less about sustaining LT but about shorter more intensive bursts.

This was Harri Kirvesniemi's take a few years back. He knows skiing and doping alike, so maybe there is something to it?
Funnily, Kirvesniemi started out as a very good middle distance and long distance track runner. Quite a few skiers are very good (not surprisingly) track and field runners and/or mountain runners. Steira, Aukland, Weng, Johaug (obviously), Legkov, Angerer, to name a few. Teichmann was a 400 meter runner in his young days, and even said that he tried to model his technique after Michael Johnson and it stuck with him when he started focusing on skiing full time.
 
Jul 28, 2011
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Re: Re:

Armchaircyclist said:
meat puppet said:
Apart from the obvious, could the changing phenotype be driven by changing track profiles, too? Shortening uphills tends to reward skiers that are more of the sprinter orientation, making the distance races to 5min on 1-2min off interval style events. At the same time, endurance is less about sustaining LT but about shorter more intensive bursts.

This was Harri Kirvesniemi's take a few years back. He knows skiing and doping alike, so maybe there is something to it?
--------------------------------------

This is correct !
Nobody would be surprised by a muscular TT-cyclist, and it's the same thing With skiing.

Another thing is that sprint is actually middle-distance, in running compareable to 1500m. Many long distance runners start out as faster middle-distance types.
I am new to the sport from cycling as a participant and fan but enjoy it. Correct me if I am wrong but it sounds like over the past decade or so courses have become less hilly and as a result there is an increasing emphasis on double poling, a shift that can somewhat be reflected in the phenotype of skiers.

It also sounds like - perhaps again I am mistaken - there there is a bemoaning of sorts that diagonal striding is falling by the wayside as double poling only becomes more prominent. It seems the solution to these complaints is to make the courses tougher. The Lillehammer course this past weekend I thought was very entertaining (minus the Sundby-Johaug dominance mentioned above). Also, more stage racing would put more emphasis on recovery, with a similar result.

I think hilltop finishes would be awesome. Not even something as extreme as the final climb at the Tour de Ski, just something different from a pack of 10-20 coming in and it coming down to hop-skating up the final hill for 30 seconds before bombing down the backside into the stadium. I'm sure organizer could find an appropriate finish spot and put spectator seating and standing in the right place. Heck, going straight up an alpine slope for 5 min then having to ski down a a twisty shaped course back into the stadium would be extremely entertaining. (As an aside, note the increase in popularity of skimo racing).
 
Re:

Lemen said:
I've lurked on this thread for ages, finally, something to post: NRKhttp://www.nrk.no/sport/_-jeg-har-ikke-sett-henne-raere-1.12691140 have an article in which 'the experts' explain why Johaug is so far ahead of everyone else this season:

it's because she's 'developed more'.

Very insightful, I think you'll agree.
Technique wise shy might the best she's ever been, which is allowing to push even harder. Physically she is stronger as well. I guess when you add all those together, and to the fact that the competition is not that good, or certainly not even close to challenging her, you see the massive time gaps. That and probably some extra curricular activity.
 
Lemen said:
.... it's because she's 'developed more'.
Very insightful, I think you'll agree.
An interesting and somewhat peculiar read.

By the way, this weekend SVT had a short documentary about Ilia Chernousov who now has a personal trainer in Norwegian Vegard Bitnes. Bitnes talked about the "Scandinavian" way of training. Clips from training sessions in the alps, blood samples, short interviews and so on. Afterwards Fredriksson - who has become some sort of truth-teller - had a somewhat sour and short answer upon questioned what his opinion was: Well, good views........ must be boring training by yourself - maybe it suits him.

Armchaircyclist said:
Instead of talking about doping, you should be adressing the obvious economic problem, that except for Norwegians, cross-country hardly is a career for an aspiring athlete. There are no real teams except the national team, and possibilities for foreigners to make it against a nation were cross country is the number 1 sport, are very Limited.
But why then making strange arrangements to circumvent rules that are meant to equalize the conditions? Fredriksson was earlier last week outspoken about the advantages the Norwegians are gaining, when they through a collaboration with the English team do have more ski waxers out in the tracks before competition than allowed, by simply putting an English west on Norwegian ski waxers. Before this season FIS did put a limit on the number of ski waxers allowed in the tracks so the big nations with vast resources wouldn't have to big advantages. The Norwegian explanation was that putting English wests on Norweigan waxers is within the rules since they have a new collaboration.
Fredrikssons answer was something like: Well, if they want to help the English, why not simply collaborate with the allowed number of waxers?
 
Apr 22, 2012
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I'd like to ask someone (anyone) with some insight on number of registered xc skiers in Norway and other countries, cause that is definitely something influencing performance of their athletes. I've heard that 4 out of 5 milion Norwegians are registered (that is huge relative number) and kids entering 4th class at primary school are mostly registered in not one, but two ski clubs. I wonder about about comparison with other nations. Thank you for your opinions!
 
Discgear said:
Lemen said:
.... it's because she's 'developed more'.
Very insightful, I think you'll agree.
An interesting and somewhat peculiar read.

By the way, this weekend SVT had a short documentary about Ilia Chernousov who now has a personal trainer in Norwegian Vegard Bitnes. Bitnes talked about the "Scandinavian" way of training. Clips from training sessions in the alps, blood samples, short interviews and so on. Afterwards Fredriksson - who has become some sort of truth-teller - had a somewhat sour and short answer upon questioned what his opinion was: Well, good views........ must be boring training by yourself - maybe it suits him.

Armchaircyclist said:
Instead of talking about doping, you should be adressing the obvious economic problem, that except for Norwegians, cross-country hardly is a career for an aspiring athlete. There are no real teams except the national team, and possibilities for foreigners to make it against a nation were cross country is the number 1 sport, are very Limited.
But why then making strange arrangements to circumvent rules that are meant to equalize the conditions? Fredriksson was earlier last week outspoken about the advantages the Norwegians are gaining, when they through a collaboration with the English team do have more ski waxers out in the tracks before competition than allowed, by simply putting an English west on Norwegian ski waxers. Before this season FIS did put a limit on the number of ski waxers allowed in the tracks so the big nations with vast resources wouldn't have to big advantages. The Norwegian explanation was that putting English wests on Norweigan waxers is within the rules since they have a new collaboration.
Fredrikssons answer was something like: Well, if they want to help the English, why not simply collaborate with the allowed number of waxers?
I watched the Chernousov clip and thought it was pretty good! I knew his history and that he's changed a number of coaches/training groups and moved around Europe, but watched it anyways. He seems like a good person and he's obviously shown himself to be one of the top skiers in the last 6 years or so. I will say that he has underachieved the last couple seasons though. I think it's mostly due to him marrying, moving to another new system which he hasn't adjusted to yet and who knows, maybe lost some motivation after success that he achieved under Burgermaister and Knauthe.

In regards to Fredriksson, he has been fairly vocal since joining SVT. Certainly not afraid to voice his opinions, although he did back pedal some when he compared Sundby's recent dominance to Muehlegg in SLC 2002. I hope he continues being vocal and who knows...spill some beans??
 
But Johaug is definitely not that good technically, especially while skating. By her own standards she might have improved, but explaining her dominance even partly by technical skills would be pushing it. Compare to Domracheva and Kalla and you'll get the picture. To her it's mainly about maintaining that insane cadence. And gravity.

Kokoso: can't quote numbers, but I expect the amount of registered skiers to be through the roof in Norway. It's part of the Equation, surely, but not all of it.
 
Feb 15, 2015
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Re:

Kokoso said:
I'd like to ask someone (anyone) with some insight on number of registered xc skiers in Norway and other countries, cause that is definitely something influencing performance of their athletes. I've heard that 4 out of 5 milion Norwegians are registered (that is huge relative number) and kids entering 4th class at primary school are mostly registered in not one, but two ski clubs. I wonder about about comparison with other nations. Thank you for your opinions!
It's definitely not 4 million. Way way off. But I checked Lyn Ski which is the biggest club in Oslo and they state that they have "900 kids and young" with a membership. Oslo har 650k inhabitants, but there are other clubs as well.

It's a good point though. How many are actually going for a professional career in the different countries?

A look at the Norwegian jr championships shows that there was a total of 870 starting (age 17-20 male and female). http://www.tidtaking.no/arrangement/2015/nmjr2015/startliste_fredag_offisiell.pdf

Would be interesting to see numbers from other national jr championships.

If the numbers in junior ranks are superior to other countries, along with the financial capabilities for many Norwegians to pursue a skiing career – it would go far to explain the depth in the Norwegian team. However, for me, it still doesn't explain freak performances we see in some cases.
 

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