Cross-country news - 15/5/10
GB XC skiers celebrate 2010 results - but challenges lie ahead

It has been an incredible season of progress for British Cross-Country Ski Squad - the first Olympic appearances since 1994, best ever British Nordic FIS points, and some incredible performances which have made the world of cross-country skiing take notice.

The squad had 208 individual race starts in an incredibly busy season - highlights include -

  • 4 athletes met qualifying standards to compete at the Olympics - Fiona Hughes, Andrew Musgrave, Andrew Young and Callum Smith - and 3 went (Callum missed out on the games, as there were only 3 places available);
  • Based on the percentage behind the winner's time, they had the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 8th and 21st best mens' performances in the history of the games; and Fiona had the 6th best ladies' performance;
  • Andrew Musgrave produced the best ever performance of any British cross-country skier, finishing only 8.73% behind the winner in the 10k Free Technique race - no British cross-country skier has ever finished less than 10% behind the winner in an Olympic race;
  • Andrew Musgrave won the 10k Free Technique at the Norwegian Junior Championships (if he were Norwegian, he'd be Junior National Champion!), see here;
  • Posy Musgrave qualified to race in the World Cup races - joining other skiers Fiona Hughes, Callum Smith, Andrew Musgrave, Andrew Young and Alex Standen.

This is all the more remarkable considering that 75% of the squad's costs were met by athletes and their families. The remaining funding came from sources such as sponsors, Snowsport Scotland and the National Lottery - underlining the huge problems facing the squad in funding terms. (Snowsport GB - never a generous funder of Nordic - went into administration this year).

Despite all their achievements, the funding situation is if anything likely to prove evenmore challenging in the next few season. Budgets from funding organisations are tightening and cross-country skiing has always lacked the wealthy and influential individuals found in sports such as Alpine skiing, providing private or corporate sponsorship.

Still, there is enormous goodwill, and the Norwegian coaches who have met the squad have been very supportive. Andrew Musgrave - virutally unknown in the UK - has become a minor celebrity in Norway for his success at races there!

The young age of squad is also a hugely positive factor in their favour. All were teenagers at the start of the Olympics and can expect to improve their performances significantly between now and the 2014 games in Russia, as long as they are able to continue in the sport. They also have a hugely supportive and hard working coaching team, led by Roy Young, who will do their utmost to keep them heading in the right direction.

For more on the team, see