Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Petter Haters

Some Northug-related gleanings from recent coverage of the Olympics:

After Northug easily won the opening race of the Norwegian championships this month—yet one more display of the kind of dominance that has made him cross country skiing’s biggest name going into the Vancouver Olympics—he held up the awards ceremony by 15 minutes to complete his winding-down regiment, even though the king was there to offer congratulations. When Northug finally arrived for the ceremony, a journalist pointed out that he was making the monarch wait for an unseemly long time. “No,” Northug replied, flashing his usual mischievous smile. “The king is walking right here.”
The German men's 4x10km relay team has finished second to Norway in three of the past four World Championships, with Teichmann skiing the anchor leg each time. In 2009, Teichmann held a 14.5-second lead over Northug when he took over the anchor leg. However, the Norwegian caught up and used his trademark finishing spurt to snatch gold from Teichmann and the Germans. Asked after the race why he didn't go out harder and leave his rival behind, Teichmann's response came in the form of a horticultural-philosophical question: "Warum?! Warum ist die Banane krumm?" (Why?! Why is a banana curved?) Solving the question of the banana may be easier than solving Norway in the relay in 2010.
In Vancouver, the long-standing rivalry between Norway and Italy in the relay may play second fiddle to a new duel: Norway vs. Germany. The skier known by rivals as "Storkjeften fra Mosvik" (the Big Mouth from Mosvik) has often ruffled the feathers - both during races and in the finish area - of Germany's top skier Axel Teichmann. During the final leg of a World Cup relay event in 2008, Northug cut off Teichmann on several occasions, once causing a heavy collision. The Norwegian lost the cup on his right pole in that collision, but the German lost his marbles afterwards, telling the Norway's Aftenposten, "He totally forgets that there are other skiers out there, and then he does idiotic things after he crosses the finish line." Psychological games with Teichmann continued during the final meters of the relay at the Worlds, where Northug reportedly uttered mid-race, "You'd better go now if you want to have a chance."
Hooo, boy.


OEB2ODB said...

the king is "waiting" right here?

Well, at least there are not 3 of them. wait.. what's that... there are two more? uh oh. warn Sochi.

uhaul said...

As an avid nordic skiing fan in North America, where it is rare to see anything in mass media about cross country skiers, I find it very entertaining to read about the antics of Northug. Perhaps he's a little abrasive but that's not a bad thing. As the saying goes, " I don't care what they say about me, as long as they spell my name right in the paper."