Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, May 04, 2005



Peter wrote something a few days ago that gave me something to think about:

As I was coming back to #8 Katarina Smith punched in. Had a chance to watch her a bit, for even though she had different controls for 9, 10, and 11, they were close to mine. In case anyone is wondering why she does so well, I will say that she runs well (including uphill) and she orienteers well. That's usually a good combination. I asked her afterwards if she had been to the USA back in 1992 to a meet at Northfield, MA, which included the 1992 US Relay Champs. Yes, she had. It wasn't clear if she attributed all her success in O' to that trip, but I did look up the the names of the team of 10 Swedes who showed up that weekend, and they included Karolina Höjsgaard, Gunilla Svärd, and Jimmy Birklin, familiar names among the Swedish elite in the years since. I don't think we knew how good they were. And it's something (visits by some top foreign orienteers) that we should try to make happen more in the future.

A few top orienteers visiting the U.S. in the early/mid 1980s and I think those visits helped me. Just getting a chance to see those guys running, maybe exchange a few words, was inspiring. To be running through the forest at what seemed like a good pace and have Jorgen Martensson going flying gave me a sense of just how fast the top orienteers ran. Egil Iversen passed through my hometown on a cross country trip and spent a couple of nights in Lawrence. Having a chance to talk to one of the best in the world was great. I'm not sure I learned as much as I could (should) have, but I know that I felt motivated by talking with Iversen.

Peter wrote, "we should try to make [it] happen more in the future."

I couldn't agree more. With the dollar falling against the Euro, I'd bet it is relatively cheap for a European orienteer to get to the U.S. I know that several Scandinavian clubs have had winter training camps in the U.S. when travel has been relatively cheap. Just a couple of months ago Berndt Bjornsgaard was training with his club in Florida.

It might be worth the U.S. team putting a little effort into getting some top orienteers to visit. Spending some of the team's money to get a top elite orienteer to the U.S. might be a worthwhile investment.

posted by Michael | 6:36 PM


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