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Using the Web to Learn Technique: The 2002 Olympics

Sat, Jun  22, 2002 - By Mike Muha

One of the issues I struggle with is how to learn cutting-edge technique. We don't have national level coaches in southeastern Michigan and I bet you don't live near one either. And although your training buddy may ski better than you do, he or she may not know the latest thing.

I've seen numerous technique videos, but technique changes fast enough that the great videos released even a few years ago are now out of date.

Fortunately, there are free sources on the web that you can leverage to view modern racing technique.

Janne G. has a web site devoted to web-based videos of nordic skiing, including complete coverage of the 2002 Olympic nordic and biathlon races, plus many 2002 World Cup events. You can download AVI or MPEG files that cover entire races - start to finish.

Can you say "Broadband"?

These files are BIG. For example, the Olympic 50K Men's Classic is a set of seven AVI files that range in size from 25 MBs to 58 MBs. Downloading the full set of Olympic races is nearly 2.5 Gigabytes! If you don't have broadband (DSL or cable modem), you're really going to suffer when you start downloading...

If you connect to the Internet via modem, Janne also has a set of smaller files (2-16 MBs each) that contain specific technique clips from the 2000-2001 season. These will be faster to download, but are a year older.

So give me the links!

Here's the main page and quick links to some of the sub-pages with all the interesting stuff:

(You may have to scroll down to the bottom of a page to find the actual links to the video files.)

Janne also supports ftp. Those who are more technical could set up a script to download the files automatically.

Viewing the files: Technical discussion
You'll need Microsoft Windows Media Player or the RealOne Player (http://www.real.com or try this link: Download the Free RealOne Player Only) to view these files.

I had two problems:

  • I couldn't see the videos on my laptop until I turned "hardware acceleration" off. Both Media Player and RealOne Player have options or preference settings under the Tools menu that allow you to turn this on or off.
  • My desktop system wouldn't display the video until I installed a DivX codec from http://www.divx.com/divx/ (free).

So if you have problems, try either of these two tips.

Sample Video Clips
Here's a small collection of AVI clips I cut from the original files, with a few things I noticed.

Stefania Belmondo climbing a hill using V1 during the 2002 Olympic Women's 15K Skate:
Size: 724 KB
Length: 10 seconds

  • Notice how fast her turnover is - she poles roughly once per second! 
  • Also notice that the the angle between here foot and lower leg is always less than 90 degrees. 
  • Her left pole goes almost above her head at pole plant.
 

Joann Muehlegg using V2 during the 2002 Olympic Men's 30K Skate. 
Size: 520 KB
Length: 10 seconds

  • Muehlegg's turnover is slightly faster - 11 poles in 10 seconds. 
  • His poles never go higher than about nose level - a difference between V1 and V2.
 

Becki Scott finishing in 3rd, 2nd, or 1st place (depending on how the doping scandal eventually ends) during the 2002 Olympic Women's. pursuit.
Size: 1,008 KB
Length: 11 seconds

  • Talk about turnover - 14 poles in less than 10 seconds!

Technique Tip
How fast do you pole when you train? As part of my training this year, I'm focusing on increasing my tempo, even during long, slow distance workouts. Make sure you don't just push with your arms - you need to include those abs and shoulders as you pole at the faster tempo.

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