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Summer News 2003-2004
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Dec 1 - Australian Team Plans

Mar 18 - Final World Cup Rankings

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Autumn News 2004


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Summer 2003 Updates

March 18 - Final World Cup Rankings

Well that's it, the World Cup season is over. Sorry, there was no Australian perspective on the movers and shakers contending the World Cup this season, however there should have been enough english reports on other websites to keep those interested informed. Here are the final World Cup rankings for season 2003/2004:

Overall World Cup - Men

1  GER  956  Rene Sommerfeldt
2  SWE  606  Matthias Fredriksson
3  NOR  592  Jens-Arne Svartedal

Overall World Cup - Women

1  ITA  1228 Gabriella Paruzzi
2  NOR  1139 Marit Bjoergen
3  UKR  983  Valentina Shevchenko 

Sprint World Cup - Men

1  SWE  410  Tobias Fredriksson
2  NOR  381  Jens-Arne Svartedal
3  NOR  337  Harvard Bjerkeli

Sprint World Cup - Women

1  NOR  745  Marit Bjoergen
2  ITA  358  Gabriella Paruzzi
3  SWE  330  Anna Dahlberg

Distance World Cup - Men

1  GER  903  Rene Sommerfeldt
2  SWE  569  Matthias Fredriksson
3  NOR  558  Frode Estil

Distance World Cup - Women

1  UKR  983  Valentina Shevchenko 
2  ITA  870  Gabriella Paruzzi
3  EST  839  Kristina Smigun

December 1 - Australian Team Plans

2003/2004 International Program Plans (Excerpts from the Spring 2003 Edition of Australian Cross Country News)

The coming international season will be a very busy one for the Australian Cross Country Ski Team. While there are no major championships at senior level, there will be about 16 members of the national senior and junior teams competing in over 30 separate FIS (International Ski Federation) international events in 8 countries. In a not-quite-so-quick summary, we will have skiers competing in 8-10 World Cup events; the World Junior Championships in Norway; the Intercontinental U23 Championships in the USA; four OPA Continental Cup events in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland; one Scandinavian Cup event; five NORAM Continental Cup events in Canada and the USA; five Swedish Cup events; the Swiss Championships; the USA Championships; the German Championships; FIS International events in Norway, Switzerland, and Austria; and three Worldloppet events. Not to mention club and other non-FIS races mixed in all over the place.

With limited resources at our disposal, Skiing Australia Cross Country wont be able provide support to team members at all these events. Our main focus will be on ensuring that the skiers on World Cup and at the World Junior Championships have the best opportunity to put good results on the board. However, wherever possible coaching support will be provided at other events in Europe.

Australia now has four skiers qualified for sprint World Cup: Paul Murray, Ben Sim, Esther Bottomley, and Ben Derrick. In addition, we have sought starts from FIS in distance World Cup for Ben Sim and Ben Derrick - our best distance skiers with results only just outside the qualification standard. Hopefully by the time this edition of XC News goes to print we will have confirmation of these starts from FIS; if not, those skiers will just have to qualify directly, as they are planning to do anyway. NSWIS cross country coach Nick Almoukov will join the coaching crew for some of these World Cup events, and we will also have some technical support on World Cup from Toko, who have taken over from Yoko as our main uniform/equipment sponsor. Our initial goals for these World Cups are to achieve results in the top 80% of the field, which will be the first step towards qualifying for the 2006 Winter Olympics. For Paul Murray, who made it under this standard last season, the goal is higher; top 60% of the field.

The 2004 World Junior Championships take place in Stryn, Norway, at the start of February. Ben Sim and Sally Cunningam have already achieved selection to these championships, and they may well be joined by younger NSW skiers Amy and Ewan Watson. Nick Almoukov will head up the coaching team for this event, supported by Allison McArdle. Dare we say it, with Ben's impressive results in 2003 a top 10 result is not out of the question. There is no doubt that these are exciting times for Australian cross country skiing.

Finn Marsland
National Team Coach
October 2003

Click here for a list of the competitions targetted by Australian skiers this summer.