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High School

Waxers Should Stand on the Podium

By Christian Lura (VG); translated by Brian Olsen
December 13, 2001

Gunnar Breivik, of Norway's Sports Institute, suggests that his nation's wax technicians and knowledgeable personnel be shared with all nations that compete on skis.

"How honorable is it to win in skiing if it is due to ski wax and not because the skier performed the best. Perhaps wax technicians should stand on the podium together with the racers," laughed Breivik.

Breivik suggests that to make sport fair, nations with technical advantages should share their knowledge with less fortunate ones. His idea came about during a doping seminar at the school that he serves as principal, the Norwegian Sport's Institute. He is frightened that if this sharing does not occur, only a few nations will remain competing at the top level in cross country skiing.

"This is the big picture of sport today: competitive sport is a pointless hunt for greater advantages against other nations. We know that technology and knowledge have an effect on the results, but we must also recognize that those with the largest resources receive all these advantages," said Breivik.

"Improving glide and doping are the same evils, they are both attempts to gain false competitive advantages. But while doping is an illegal undertaking, trying to have better wax than your competitors is almost condoned," he continued.

Norway has initiated several programs to assure success, especially at next year's Olympics in Salt Lake City. Olympiatoppen, the Norwegian Olympic Training Center, developed one programs to guarantee that Norwegian skiers have better glide than their opponents have in February. The project included over 3000 glide tests done in the United States, as well as a large research program at the University in Trondheim.

One way to break the division between nations, he said, would be to have skiers choose their skis immediately before starting from a sort of pot, where all of the skis have been prepared in the same manner. This assures each competitor an equal chance against his opponents.

"To be satisfied that we took the first eight out ten places [in the first World Cup] and more gold than any other nation is ridiculous. Skiing is then digging its own grave," concluded Breivik.

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