Olympic Nordic Notes

The days grow ever shorter in Whistler for our first Nordic events at the WOP, with things kicking off Friday with ski jumping qualifications and Saturday with Normal Hill ski jumping and the first biathlon competition for women.

We expect some possible light snow showers moving thru Whistler today followed by clearing tonight. There is plenty of snow at all the Nordic venues, and that’s great.

Yesterday I chatted up Zack Caldwell, a service man for the USST, Head Canadian Coach Dave Wood, German coach Jochem Behle and Norwegian service chief Knut Nystad…believe me no one is giving away any secrets here as they have all come as the result of thousands of hours of hard work. It’s fun to watch them do their thing.

One U.S. service man and I were talking about the old days, when preparing skis with pine tar was the thing to do for the wooden boards. Long since replaced by high-tech floro waxes and the like. Quickly he ran into his wax hut and produced a small piece of the old Jackrabbit wax—and the aromatic pine tar smell immediately transported me to another time. You old timers will know just what I mean. Magic.

The Dress Rehearsal took place last night, in the 55,000 seat BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver.

Long time ski jumper announcer and 1988 U.S. Olympic ski jumper Chris Hastings said today, “ I am super excited about the jumping here at Whistler, the Austrians have had a great season, but there are a number of teams, that could do well including Norway, Finland, to mention a few.”

Hastings, a PA jumping announcer for VANOC, is also bullish on the U.S. Nordic combined team chances, as well. “ It’s a strong team and I believe we could win several medals,” he said.

Training for ski jumping got underway yesterday, amid light snow, and everyone seemed happy and relaxed. There will be more training today. The first jumping comp is Friday morning at 10 am.

Good Nordic quote today from, now two-time Olympian, Anders Johnson, of Park City, UT, on being an experienced Olympian…”it’s weird thing. I’m a veteran and I’m only 20. Having the experience from four years ago (in Torino 2006) is a pretty good advantage.”

One day to go.

By:   Peter Graves



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