Wallflowers Exposed

Obscure No More:

The Olympics always provokes a jump in articles about cross-country skiing, but this time they seem more prominent and numerous.

It probably has something to do with the US women’s cross-country ski team’s depth and chance to medal, such that NBC can talk about how Sweden’s Stina Nilsson ‘spoiled’ the US’ chance. Or it could be the “relentlessly exuberant” Jessie Diggins, or maybe Johannes Høsflot Klaebo skiing capless to show off that tousled and gel’d hair.

Until the Four-year Slumber:

Maybe I’m imagining that there’s more attention to cross-country skiing in these Olympics than in 2014. Or maybe it’s because the Internet is an infinitely large bucket for as many stories as you can come up with, including ones that just troll for a response. Whatever. Much of the list below is prompted by the fact the NYTimes has had an unusual spate of pieces about cross-country skiing in the couple of weeks.

Nerdy yet engaging:

Tough Job: Norway’s Ski Wax Chief Is Only Noticed When He Fails By DAVID SEGAL (NYTimes Feb. 14 2018)

How She Conquers the Cross-Country Course (NYTimes video with Sadie Bjornsen, Feb. 13 2018)

The Ski Pole That Norway Will Never Forget By DAVID SEGAL (NYTimes Feb. 12 2018)


What Cross-Country Skiing Reveals About the Human Condition By SAM ANDERSON (NYTimes Interactive feature Jan. 31, 2018)

With backlash:

What the Times Got Wrong About Cross-Country Skiing by Annie Pokorny (Outside online, Feb 9 2018)

Cross-Country Skiing Is Not a Boring Exercise in Martyrdom. It’s Actually Fun. By Sam Evans-Brown (Slate, Feb. 8 2018)

What does the NYTimes have against cross-country skiing? By CFSKI (acrossthesnowline.com, Feb. 4 2018)

The salute:

Bill Koch says next U.S. Olympic medal in cross-country skiing is overdue by Laken Litman, Indianapolis Star (USA Today, Feb 5 2018)
nb: Koch continues to love the sport after leaving competition. He’s never tried to make money off his spot in the history but chose instead to let his name be used to promote the sport among kids and youth.

The usual treatment:

Cross-country skiing isn’t as boring as you think it is. This photo finish proves it. (The Washington Post, Jan. 27 2018 on Sophie Caldwell and Lauren Van Der Graaff’s tie for 1st)

Beginner gear articles by Popular Mechanics (Jan/Feb issue) and The Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall)