Rollerski with an Olympian Wrap-up

Ski and Snowboard Australia, NSW Cross Country and the NSW Biathlon Association partnered up last Saturday 10 May to put on “Roller Ski with an Olympian” at the Sydney Olympic Park. The day was a great chance to raise the profile of Nordic sports in Sydney as well as to kick start fundraising for athletes towards the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympians Esther Bottomley, Lucy Glanville, Alex Almoukov and Slovenian Barbara Jezersek all participated in the event, assisted by Olympic Biathlon and Cross Country coaches Nick Almoukov and Finn Marsland, XC National Coaching Director Allison Stoddart and Biathlon National Team athlete Daniel Walker.

Skiers enjoyed the sunshine at the Sydney Olympic Park precinct known as the Armory. Wide bitumen pathways, once used for transporting ammunition, wound there way around heritage listed buildings and bird wetlands, making it an interesting “ski” for everyone. “The venue was perfect for beginners, lots of wide paths surrounded by grass. I look forward to seeing some of the younger faces on the national XC team before too long”, said Finn Marsland, SSA Cross Country High Performance Manager.

About 30 people registered to come along. Four different stations, each with its own activity (such as double poling, off set, etc) where an Olympian based themselves helped the event move smoothly. Each session lasted 25 minutes, and was followed by afternoon tea and photos ‘with an Olympian’ and then a relay with teams ‘Sochi’, ‘Vancouver’, and ‘Torino’ fighting it out for first place. “Our sport has a strong culture of elite athletes putting back in, so these passionate and talented young Olympians wanted to bring a bit of Sochi Olympic magic spirit back to the sporting and wider community”, said Toni Hulme, Chairman of NSW Snowsports.

Richard Logan took three juniors, Isobel and Oliver Logan and Nick Wright with him. “They came out of the experience with a whole new skill set and enthusiasm for cross country and now have some great role models and mentors in the current and past Olympians. The next day they went for a training ‘roll’ and there was a significant difference from the previous week. It’s easy to forget that it’s the unexpected things that make a difference. The kids and I rate it a hugely successful fun afternoon and can only reinforce our appreciation for the time and effort of all those involved in putting on the event,” he reported.

Afterwards a brief movie from Sochi was played by Finn Marsland, capitalising on interest sparked by the 2014 Winter Olympics. He said of the fundraiser, “It was great to see so many keen roller skiers both young and old being inspired by our Olympic athletes; the skiers of the future being put through their paces by our Olympic athletes, and also it was a great learning experience for some of their parents. Many thanks for NSW Cross Country and Biathlon for putting together a really fun event.”

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