Controversial revolution: cross-country skiers have to run monster distance

The way is finally paved, now all that's missing is official confirmation: The international cross-country skiing committee has decided on a revolution that doesn't meet with everyone's open ears, but will probably be waved through by the FIS in less than two weeks.

Controversial revolution: cross-country skiers have to run monster distance

The way is finally paved, now all that's missing is official confirmation: The international cross-country skiing committee has decided on a revolution that doesn't meet with everyone's open ears, but will probably be waved through by the FIS in less than two weeks.

A revolutionary cloud hung over cross-country skiing. The question that has occupied the scene for over a year: should women run the same distances as men in the future? The answer of the International Cross-Country Committee: Yes, they should. This means that in the future women will no longer run races over 30 kilometers, but will have to run over 50 kilometers like the men.

Sweden, Finland and the USA were among the supporters of the small revolution, while Italy, Austria and Russia voted against it. In the end, the proposal was accepted with 57 percent of the votes. 36 percent of those entitled to vote voted against, the rest abstained.

Vegard Ulvang, head of the committee and proponent of the idea, welcomed the decision, calling it "important and historic". "At the moment we are telling the story that women are not as strong as men. I want to change that," said the Norwegian. The introduction of longer distances for women has not yet been finally decided. But the promise of the FIS at the conference at the end of May is considered a formality.

The new decision is not entirely controversial. In the past, numerous athletes spoke out against the introduction of longer distances. This also includes the now retired dominator Therese Johaug. The Norwegian said she fears even larger gaps between the individual runners. "The time difference for women is already greater than for men. If we now have to run as far as they do, the races will only become more boring. That's not the right way," Johaug told "Dagbladet" at the time.

Johaug's compatriot Anne Kjersti Kalvå also spoke out against equalizing the distances. She told "Adressa": "I see it negatively that women and men should run the same distances because we just don't have the same physical base." Ultimately, however, she will accept the challenge "if that's what the ski world wants".


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