Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, December 27, 2003



This is the time of the year for the "Top X of 2003" lists. Top 10 pop songs of 2003. Top news stories. Top new car models. Top ten worst dressed.

So, I decided I'd put together a top list. Here are my top five O' news items from 2003.*

Simon Niggli-Luder wins four gold medals. Winning every race at the World Champs can't be beat.

Thierry Gueorgiou wins the middle-distance WOC race by a bunch. Gueorgiou was over 2:37 ahead of Bjornar Valstad and 3:00 ahead of Oystein Kristiansen. To win by that margin in a race that took just 30:08 is a very good performance. Gueorgiou's results - along with the results of the other French runners - is also impressive because France had a short history of being a top O' nation. Studying Gueorgiou and the French team would probably be a good thing to spend some time doing.

Halden SK men's relay team wins both Tio Mila and Jukola. Halden became the first to win Tio Mila 5 times. Halden is impressive, but that sort of domination is a bit boring. Let's hope Halden has tougher competition next year.

The IOF makes some bogus decisions about the sprint WOC. The sprint race was in a town that was open to competitors before the race. You could walk all around the town. You couldn't use a map. That's what the IOF allowed. Opening the terrain to all competitors helped ensure the event's fairness. I understand the logic, but you lose something when you change the nature of the sport so much in the name of fairness. Running circles around on a track is fair, but it isn't orienteering. I think, and hope, that sprint races are here to stay. But, I hold out hope that the IOF will work to keep the races more like regular orienteering (e.g. with "unknown" terrain).

O-Sport magazine thrives. OK, I don't actually have any idea about the financial condition of O-sport. But, I'm guessing (hoping) that their base of subscribers grew and that they'll keep publishing their magazine. O-sport brings something to orienteering that has been missing -- an international, independent voice that treats O' like a real sport.

*Cut me some slack. I'm not putting much thought in to this list. I'm just writing down the first five news items that come to mind.

posted by Michael | 7:59 PM


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