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About cross country skiing

06. 08 2008


There is a lot of evidence that primitive skies were used 5 000 years ago. The Vikings used skies for transport purposes in the territory of today’s Norway. There is no evidence that people competed in skiing earlier than in 19th century. The first appearance took place, where else, in Norway. Famous Holmenkollen ski festival began in 1892. The accent was primarily put on combination of cross country skiing and ski jumping. Solely cross country skiing competition proceeded in 1900.
Cross country skiing comprises twelve different sports events that spectators can see at the Olympic Games, world’s most significant sports event. Women compete in sprint, team sprint, 10 km with individual start, 15 km pursuit, 30 km with mass start and 4x5 km relay. Men compete in sprint, team sprint, 15 km with individual start, 30 km pursuit, 50 km with mass start and 4x10 km relay.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) sets up nearly 30 different competitions, starting with World Ski Championship (together with Ski jumping and Nordic Combined) to special soldier and police tournaments. Individual competitions are graded in accordance with age, performance or territory. The best known are Cross country skiing World Cup, Tour de Ski, Universiade or Scandinavian cup.   
Sprints as a separate sport category has developed as late as in recent 15 years. Commercialization of sport had a great effect on its progression. Organizers of competitions gain financial resources from sponsors, these assets then spin the competition; since sponsors pay for advertisements presented mainly by TV companies that broadcast the competitions live. Photographs work in the same way. Commercial banners are constantly at in gear of cameras during tabular and short competition and therefore attractive for sponsors. Sprints represent a benefit for viewers in a way as well since they have better conditions to follow the race although it might be a little confusing to retain a view of the race. This sports event has become very popular with athletes who are dynamic and have the ability to spurt.
This competition can be held both in freestyle and classical technique. Sprinter’s course is usually 1000 meters long (detailed rules determine that the course can be 0,4- 1,4 meters long). Preliminary round as well as quarterfinals, semi-finals and final round must be carried out on course with the same length. Starting segment must be situated on a flat, sufficiently wide area with straight corridors, or engraved trail with 30- 50 meter length. Should there be two laps prepared; two separate corridors must be disposed, namely for the first and for the second lap. Women and men mostly compete on the same course.
Individual sprint competition consists of preliminary round organized as interval race and set of heats.
Individuals run out on the track with 10, 15, 20 or 30 second intervals. Starting order of the qualification will be in accordance with the FIS-sprint point list and for those, who are not present on this list a draw must be made. Preliminary results are measured with an accuracy of hundredth of seconds.
According to the rules in the second (final) part of sprint, (i.e. in the heats) the starting position for each heat is ranked as follows:
  • Quarterfinals – qualification times (rankings) are used
  • Semi-finals – rankings from the Quarterfinals and qualification times are used.
  • Finals – rankings from the Semi-finals and qualification times are used.
The competitor must start and ski the entire course in each heat in order to be ranked within that heat, otherwise he will be ranked as the last of all qualified finalists. If a competitor does not finish a heat due to force majeure he is ranked last in this heat. If an obstruction leads to disqualification, and the obstruction caused another athlete not to advance to the next round, he will be allowed to proceed into the next round. In this case the competitor concerned will start in a second row, 4 m behind. This rule will only be applied in exceptional cases where the obstruction was either intentional or unintentional and the striking was caused due to force majeure.
At the end of the race so called B (small) finals is held, in which the beaten ones from the semi-finals participate and so called A (big) finals, where four best athletes from each semi-final heat take part.
Contestants with the same ranking in the quarterfinals and semi-finals (if there is no B- finals) who did not advance to the next round are classified in accordance with their qualification times in the score sheet.
In case of a tie (“dead heat”) in quarterfinals or semi-finals, the competitor with the better qualification time is ranked ahead. If there is a tie in the A or B finals the competitors are ranked on the same place in the final results.
Team Sprint
Team-Sprints are competitions carried out as relays with 2 athletes who alternately ski between 3 – 6 legs each. The number and length of laps are determined in the race specification. The race consists of semi-finals and finals, there are no heats.
In lower, national competitions, the number of athletes is usually not higher than thirty, if there are more contestants in the race, semi-final heats are carried out. In peak international competitions the maximum number of starting pairs is specified in advance, resulting from contestants’ performance.
As mentioned above, there are usually ten and even more teams that compound of two athletes in the semi-finals, who relay three times while they switch in each single lap. The number of athletes advancing to the finals from single A and B rounds is determined by a committee, the number has be the same at both runs, however it should not be smaller than 5 (so there should be at least 10 pairs at the finals).
The team with the lowest sprint-points starts as number one, the team with the second lowest score as number two and so on. In the case of more teams having an equal total score, the team with the lowest point-holder starts ahead of the other. If this is not sufficient to determine the starting order, then starting order is drawn by lot.
Pursuit Competitions (with and without a break)
Pursuit competitions are carried out as a combined competition where one half is in classic technique and the other half is in free technique. There can be a break between this technique-change that can carry over to another race day or it can be as short as 1.5 hours on the same day.
Mass start is typical for this kind of pursuit competition, but it is not a requirement.
Pursuit Competitions with a break
This format of pursuit competition is made up of two separate parts that produce an overall result at the end of the second part. Each part is carried out in different techniques.
The first competition is carried out as a standard interval start race which produces its own interim results. In the second race of this pursuit competition, the winner of the first race starts first, the second ranked finisher starts next, etc. The starting intervals are the same as the differences between the competitors’ times from the first race results, from which the tenths of seconds have been deleted
Competition committee can restrict the number of contestants in advance to the second part of the race. The committee can also allow mass start.
The pursuit start is carried out without an electronic start gate. The starting officials must ensure that all competitors are ready for their starts. In order to guarantee an exact start, a large display clock must be used. The start must be prepared so that two or more competitors may start side by side. The first 100-200 meters of the course must be prepared to a width of at least six meters. The second part of the pursuit competition must be carried out with the pursuit start. Under difficult weather conditions the Jury may decide to postpone the start or to cancel the competition. If it is cancelled the result from the first part of the competition will count as the final result. The calculation of the final results in this pursuit competition format will be done by combining the final results of the first race without the tenths of a second with the final results of the second race with the tenths of a second.
Pursuit competitions without a break (Double Pursuit - Skiduatlon)
Pursuit competition without a break consists of a first part with mass start followed by changing of skis in an exchange box in the stadium and then continues with a second part. Each part uses different techniques and in Czech unofficial terminology this type of competition is designated as “changing race”
A Mass Start handicap start system must be used. The starting order is according FIS points or determined by lot. Ski marking for both C and F skis is obligatory. Distances of the course are for Men 10 km + 10 km or 15 km + 15 km and for
Women 5 km + 5 km or 7,5 km + 7,5 km. Two separated courses for classical and free technique will normally be used. The course must have a homologation and each homologation for classical and free technique should be done separately.
Exchange Box
Rules define dimensions of the exchange box and the equipment for the change. The length of the box should be 2 m – 2.5 m; width should be 1.2 m - 1,5 m and the boxes can be equipped with antiskid mats. They can be differentiated with colors – red for odd numbers and blue for even numbers. If the stadium is too narrow, the boxes can be on one side only.
The course along with the access to the boxes must be a minimum of 4 m wide. The course on the exit side of the boxes must be a minimum of 6 m wide.
Overtaking along with the access to the boxes is only allowed on the distant side of the boxes. The free technique equipment must be deposited into the assigned box before the mass start. Clothes are not allowed to be deposited in the
Skis must be exchanged; poles and boots may also be exchanged. All equipment exchanges must be done by the athlete within the assigned box without any assistance.
The exchanged equipment must be left in the box until the competitor has finished the competition. 5 minutes before the start coaches or service people have to leave the exchange box area.
The method of result measuring is applied as follows: The meantime is scanned when the contestant approaches to or from the area where exchange boxes are situated. Final results are measured according to the order how competitors arrive to finish. The lap lane will be closed as soon as the first competitor has finished the competition.
In case that one contestant is overtaken by leading athletes (in a single loop course), this contestant does not proceed in the race and will be rated behind the last classified athlete in the score sheet.
Mass start
All rows start simultaneously after a shot. The contestant, who crosses finishing tape first, wins the race.
Interval start
All contestants start in 30 or 15 second interval depending on the type of sports event. The athlete with fastest individual time wins the race.
The team consists of four athletes. Each of them skies one leg of the race and than hands over the relay by touching his team colleague. Mass start is used.
(Hlav, transl. vk)

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20. 9. 1992


SK Triglav Kranj


Ski jumping