“Not everyone has this opportunity”

Save favourite 30 Jan January 2018

The members of the Swedish National Cross-Country Skiing Team now have the opportunity to test out the courses for the 2018 Winter Olympics on a treadmill. At the Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre (NVC) a number of the courses have been inputted into the simulator, and Teodor Peterson is one skier who intends to take the chance to train on the "real" course.

"I'll probably try to come here once a week", he says.

1,500 metre classic sprint. An undulating course that begins with a steep climb. Teodor Peterson stands ready on the treadmill for his first lap of the course on which he will try to win a gold medal in February when the Winter Olympics are held in Pyeongchang in South Korea.

"If nothing else it's quite fun just to get a feel for the undulations and slopes and how long it takes", he says and adds that the lead-up to autumn is an ideal time of year to be able to come into the warm facility and train on a treadmill."

It is not possible to input the profile of the curves into the treadmill, although the equipment can be raised and lowered to produce the same gradient as the real course in South Korea. The courses can be set to three different speeds, and for Teodor it takes just over four minutes to complete a lap at a speed that barely causes him to raise a sweat.

This is not the first time that competition courses have been inputted into the simulator at NVC. A similar concept was initially employed prior to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, in that instance including the possibility to test the effects of competing at altitude, and since then courses have been emulated for both the Olympics and the World Championships.

"The aim is to give the skiers the chance to test out what it's like to compete on an Olympic course. Prior to Vancouver we were the first and only team to do this, but now most of the national teams have access to these types of courses", says Hampus Lindblom, test supervisor at NVC.

SOC (the Swedish Olympic Committee) has financed the project, in which all the courses are filmed with the help of advanced GPS equipment and VR headsets. NVC's collaboration with the Swedish National Cross-Country Team then enables the skiers to test the courses in the lab. Teodor Peterson, who lives in Östersund, has the opportunity to test the Olympic courses more or less as often as he likes.

"When there's ice on the roads I'll probably try to come here once a week. On the occasions I do my interval training I'll take the opportunity to test out the course", he says.

Whether this will give him an advantage when it comes time to compete for Olympic medals is, however, difficult to know.

"But we can at least say that not everyone has this opportunity".


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