The Norwegian XC Skiing stars of the Olympics, in my opinion, are Klaebo, who literally “ran” away to the Sprint Gold and yesterday, in his seemingly effortless style, stole the show for another Gold in the Men’s relay. Then Marit Bjoergen who could become the most decorated Olympian , male or female, if she medals again in the 30km on Sunday. We have 3 very exciting races coming up, the team sprint, the 50km and the 30km Classic events. Alex Harvey chose not to race the relay yesterday but will compete with Len Valjas in the team sprint and then race the 50km. The Canadian Relay Team did very well and I felt for the last skier on the US team who almost got lapped by Klaebo.

It has been a week since I last ate Kimchi – It seems to be the national dish. Koreans have it 3 times per day. Phillippe, our Korean “Go To” person on the Organizing Committee, doesn’t want to join us for meals in the Athletes compound.  His excuse, “I don’t like that food, all I need is Rice and Kimchi”. Kimchi is salted and fermented vegetables, mainly cabbage and radishes with chili powder to add the spice. Traditionally the mixture was placed large clay pots (photo 404) and stored in the ground.

There are 5 of us living in XC Sport Manager Im’s 2 bedroom townhouse in Daegwalnyeong, a 5 minute drive from the venue. The 2 Norwegians, Lars who works XC with me and Tom (photo 390) his neighbor from Oslo who is one of the winch cat operators on the Jumps. Steve Hamer from Thunder Bay, also a winch cat operator who I met in Whistler in 2008 – 2010. Jon Servold from Alberta, who competed at the Calgary Olympics and has gone to every Olympics since preparing ski jumps all over the world. I was initially concerned at the close quarters and having been relegated to the couch in kitchen/living/dining room but it has worked out great. The beer time discussions don’t sway far from snow and machinery

This period of 4 nights of training and Nordic Combined events finish at 11:00 PM. Late start for us, all wrapped up and in bed by 02:30. Jump guys were up at 07:00 so I got up and joined them to get their machine carefully and slowly down from the top of the landing hill. When they till the landing hill the machine ends up at the top and this jump has no exit from up there. They don’t design Jump Hills for groomers. It is difficult but I try to get a short nap in during the day. Tonight is another 11:00PM start.

Lars and I received a huge compliment yesterday from Norway’s head wax technician. “Best grooming at any championships that he has been at”. The weather has certainly been kind to us and I hope we can keep it up. Most complicated grooming nights are still to come with the 2 long distance classic days plus the one official training day, Friday through Sunday.

Off to have dinner, watch some ski jumping and back to grooming.

1/  Kimchi Clay Pots

2/  Difference between groomed and ungroomed snow showing the dirt

3/  Doping Control station at XC (strange that people can just walk by)

4/ Norwegian Tom – at the top of the landing hill of the Normal Hill, Big Jump in the back ground, XC Stadium on the right of photo

5/ First Leg of the women’s relay – OAR and Norway in the lead.

Cheers Dirk