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Winter Olympics

Cross Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing (also known as XC skiing) is a winter sport popular in many countries with large snowfields, primarily Northern Europe and Canada. However, the popularity of the sport is quickly growing in the United States.

Cross-country skiing as a sport is part of the Nordic skiing family, which also includes ski jumping, and a combination sport of cross-country skiing and ski jumping called Nordic combined. Free-technique cross-country skiing is also the method of locomotion in the combination sport of Biathlon, which adds rifle shooting to skiing.

The hobby and the sport

As a hobby, cross-country skiing may be viewed as a kind of "bushwalking on skis", where skiers tackle trails of various lengths and difficulties. Some skiers stay out for extended periods using tents and equipment similar to bushwackers, whereas others take relatively short trips from ski resorts.

As a sport, cross-country skiing is one of the most difficult endurance sports, as its motions use every major muscle group and it (along with rowing and swimming) is one of the sports that burn the most calories per hour in execution. Successful cross-country athletes must have the strength of a sprinter and the endurance of a distance runner. Modern cross-country ski competition is experiencing a revolution that is resulting in greater compatibility with audiences. This revolution began with the addition of the Sprint event to the World Cup and Olympic competitions. Today more and more races are being held in audience friendly formats, such as mass start, sprint, relay and pursuit (a race that involves switching skis and styles halfway through the race). The modern events in which athletes compete in at the World Cup and Olympics are (distances presented in Female/Male format): 1km Sprint, 2X1km Team Sprint, 10km/15km Individual Start, 15km/30km Pursuit, 30km/50km Mass Start and the 4x5km/4x10km Relay.

Sports events

Today, there are several types of cross-country competitive events, involving races of various types and lengths, as well as biathlon, involving a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.

The Winter Olympics, the FIS World Championships and the FIS World Cup events have long been a showcase for the world's fastest cross country skiers. There are also special distance ski races, sometimes called ski marathons, like Vasaloppet in Sweden and Birkebeinerrennet in Norway. The skiing styles in these races might be fixed, or, in case of the so-called "double pursuit" event, the two styles are used each in their own separate half of the race (with a change of equipment in "pit stops" half way through).

History

Cross-country skiing originated in Scandinavian countries in prehistoric times. It may have also been practiced by Native Americans for similar lengths of time, although the Norwegian emigrants Snowshoe Thompson and Jackrabbit Johannsen are widely credited for introducing the sport to North America.

The sport has been used by explorers by means of transport, and all Scandinavian armies train their infantry on skis for winter operations. Traditionally, all of the equipment was made of natural materials: wooden skis and bamboo poles with leather hand straps. Footwear was usually sturdy leather boots with thick soles. Bindings evolved from simple straps made of twisted wood-based thread, to the so-called Kandahar binding with the fastening of both the boot’s front and back, to the ‘Rat’s Trap’ front-only binding, which is today known as the Nordic normrm, and has evolved in various modern bindings.


2006 Winter Olympics medal count
Pos Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Germany 11 12 6 29
2  United States 9 9 7 25
3  Austria 9 7 7 23
4  Russia 8 6 8 22
5  Canada 7 10 7 24
6  Sweden 7 2 5 14
7  Korea 6 3 2 11
8  Switzerland 5 4 5 14
9  Italy 5 0 6 11
10  France 3 2 4 9
 Netherlands 3 2 4 9
12  Estonia 3 0 0 3
13  Norway 2 8 9 19
14  China 2 4 5 11
15  Czech Republic 1 2 1 4
16  Croatia 1 2 0 3
17  Australia 1 0 1 2
18  Japan 1 0 0 1
19  Finland 0 6 3 9
20  Poland 0 1 1 2
21  Belarus 0 1 0 1
 Bulgaria 0 1 0 1
 Great Britain 0 1 0 1
 Slovakia 0 1 0 1
25  Ukraine 0 0 2 2
26  Latvia 0 0 1 1
    84 84 84 252

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Background Info
Winter Olympics
Winter Games 2006
History of Winter Olympics
The Olympic Flame
The Olympic Oath
Sports
Alpine skiing
Biathlon
Bobsleigh - Results
Cross-country skiing - Results
Curling - Results
Figure Skating - Results
Ice hockey - Results
 Luge Results
Short track speed skating - Results
Speed Skating
Snowboarding - Results
Skeleton - Results