Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Anna Haag talks about the 2015 World Championships

This year’s annual FIS congress included the selection for the 2015 Nordic World Championships. The meeting was held in Turkey, and the finalists included Sweden, Finland, Poland and Germany. Sweden was smart. They brought along some of their top athletes to be part of the presentation in their bid to bring the World’s to Falun. Nothing like hearing it straight from an athlete’s mouth.

It definitely worked because Sweden beat their rivals to become the hosts for 2015. Key in that presentation was Olympic medalist Anna Haag. She took a short break from her training to talk with Rick Halling about the World Championships and what it means for the event to come to Sweden.
Anna Haag on the left.
She brought Sweden Olympic medals and the 2015 World Championships.

Rick Halling: Congratulations on winning the bid for the 2015 World Championships. I watched your presentation for Sweden, and I watched Justyna Kowalczyk’s presentation for Poland. It was obvious that the athletes who went to Turkey were not there simply because their federations told them to come. It was quite clear that the athletes truly cared about being the hosts for the World Championships. Why was it so important for you to bring the World Championships to Sweden?

Anna Haag: I was born in the region so for me it’s a dream came true having a new world championship in my home region. I remember the last one, 1993, and I think that my interest in cross country skiing grew just because of that. So, for many reasons, I really want to ski and have a championship in Sweden and in Dalarna (the region).

Rick Halling: Aren’t there also some major drawbacks with the World’s taking place in your own country? You have to admit, there is far more pressure on the home athletes than on the visiting teams. Swedish journalists can be pretty tough on Swedish athletes, don’t you think they will be even tougher when the event is at home?

Anna Haag: I’m pretty sure they’ll be tough, but that is also one of the things that make it even more special and charming. If you can handle the pressure and take a medal at a championship in the home country, you’ve really make something special and really, really fantastic memory for the rest of your life.

Rick Halling: Can you describe your role in representing Sweden at the FIS conference? Do you think you made much of a difference?Anna Haag: I don’t know. But I think that we (me, Emil and Charlotte) helped a bit. We are young and every one of us will ski (hopefully) in Falun, so everything that we said was true. We really wanted the championship to Sweden!! And we did get it!

Rick Halling: You convinced the FIS representatives to hold the World Championships in Sweden. Now, persuade American Masters that it will make for a great vacation to fly to Sweden and attend the Worlds in 2015.

Anna Haag: Oh, that’s a hard one. But to see a ski competion “for real” is something really special. And in Falun 2015, there will be a lot of things to do except just sport. Falun has a lot of culture and a great surrounding with a lot to do and see. I think it will be a great experience!

There will be more than just skiing at the 2015 World’s.
Exciting cultural opportunities can be found a short drive away.


Rick Halling: One thing that prevents Americans from attending events like the World Championships is that they are concerned there will be no place for them to ski when they are there. There may be no trails for spectators or there will only be a very short loop open to the public. Will the World’s in Falun be like that? Or, will average folk be able to find plenty of nice and convenient trails to ski on between watching races?

Anna Haag: If there is a great winter, like the last one, it will be a lot of tracks and cozy trails around in the village and neighborhood.

Rick Halling: I have not seen a schedule yet, I don’t know if there is one. How many days between when the World Championships end and the Vasaloppet takes place? Will that be a realistic option? Can tourists attend the World’s in Falun, stay in Sweden for a few more days and then be a part of the Vasaloppet?

Anna Haag: The management from the Vasaloppet said in Antalya, that if Falun got the WCS they will have to move the Vasaloppet for the very first time in history. Ever since the very, very beginning of this completion, it has been hold the first Sunday in March. Otherwise the 50.th Km and the Vasaloppet will be at the same day. So let’s hope that the Americans can both watch the WSC and ski the Vasaloppet.

Can classic distance specialists like Anders Aukland
take advantage of the proximity of the World’s to the Vasaloppet?
Over 140 km of racing in less than a week!!

Rick Halling: Final question. Let’s say a visiting family goes for a nice ski that morning, watches the races that afternoon, and they are very hungry and want a traditional Swedish dinner that night. What do you recommend they should order at one of Falun’s better restaurants?

Anna Haag: They should order elk and potato, grilled or steaked elk. That’s my favorite!

Elk Steak, yumm, yumm!!

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