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
"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