Veteran ski veteran Trond Nystad and French file Lucas Chanafat are concerned about conscription to cross-country skiing in Europe.
The International Biathlon Union (IBU) has done a very good job with TV coverage and is responsible for small nations getting support, as well as access to knowledge and training. Biathlon has gone much further in helping smaller nations than cross-country skiing, Nystad tells VG
He is a former cross country coach in Norway, Switzerland, the United States and Austria. From his home in Ramsau, he sees the sport struggling in Central Europe, watching characters Located in Norway And the main sponsor of the Norwegian national team has Beware of competition With other sports profiles, while the UK in an economic crisis.
Nystad feels that biathlon has been more successful among young athletes in Central Europe.
Because biathlon has more media attention and more money. There is also a shortage of individual athletes such as Dario Colonna, Petra Magdy and Justina Kowalczyk Tikile. Nystad says they carried the nations.
Lucas Chanafat, one of the top runners behind Johannes Husflute Klebeau, says biathlon is more popular in France, too.
– Now cross-country skiing seems like a dying sport. We are fighting in many countries. It’s a complex topic, but we have to look at solutions even if the answers are hard to find, says Chanavat.
Nystad is asking the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) to consider IBU’s initiatives when it comes to helping small nations with cross-country skiing. The big difference between FIS and IBU is that biathlon sells TV broadcasting rights centrally and has more control over income – while FIS often sells rights nationally, via an interested third party (the rights firm Infront).
FIS chief Johan Elias said this spring that he wanted to TV rights collection Believing it would increase revenue, legal proceedings are still ongoing between FIS and Infront regarding the agreements.
Biathlon does a good job of broadcasting great TV shows. They developed sports in new forms. Chanavat says cross-country skiing also has great potential, but we have to make adjustments and try new things, even if everything we try doesn’t work out.
Nystad lacks runners who can build a cross-country environment in Central Europe to do battle with the Nordic nations.
At the last Winter Olympics, five countries won 12 gold medals in cross-country skiing, while nine countries won medals.
During both the World Cup in 2021 and 2019, seven countries won medals, while only 24 gold went to Norway (19), Sweden (4) and Russia (1).
The men combined were allowed to continue with the Olympic program but were warned earlier this year about the future as the last 27 medals were handed out to four nations and viewing numbers were low. The FIS wish for the women to be combined in the Olympics was rejected.
– Together they are suffering now and have the worst atmosphere of the crisis. So it could be too bad for cross-country skiing, too, says Nystad.
– Are you afraid of that?
Fear exists. Market forces are at work. We have to try to save the sport we love so much and how to do that has to be discussed.
Bjørge Stensbøl, former head of the best sports, believes cross-country skiing faces challenges, but thinks he’s far from the IOC’s desire to “threaten” cross-country skiing in a similar fashion to plural.
– Stensbøl says cross-country skiing still has a place.
ZHANGJIAKOU (VG) I was wrong. At least partially. We need combined!
Klæbo suggested it Cross-country skiing can take inspiration from cycling to increase interest. In cycling, there are teams owned by sponsors in the “daily” races, while athletes participate in the Nations Championships.
Chanavat finds the idea of the bike baffling.
There is so much that can inspire you from cycling. At least there is something to discuss between states and see if it can be a solution. But it depends on how the recruitment is done. If the sponsoring teams only help out at the top, it may not help with recruitment, but if they contribute to young athletes, it will be beneficial, says Chanavat, Who has a Norwegian girlfriend:
British sprinter Andrew Musgrave often played the same idea as Klæbo.
– I totally agree that you should look at bikes, even if it’s a big change that didn’t happen overnight. I think it can be fun to cheer on teams like cycling and Formula 1. It can help athletes from smaller nations get help from larger support systems, says Musgrave.
He feels that interest has plummeted after years with star Peter Northough and the pandemic.
– It seems that attention is less now than it was a few years ago. It’s never a good sign that viewership numbers are going down, and we have to take that seriously. We have to provide a product that people will look at, says Musgrave.
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