Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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The skiers in calls for equal length of races

The Swedish Cup, which now ends in Falun, took an unusual step to offer men and women the same distance on both days – 10 and 15 kilometers respectively. It made the stars of the Swedish women’s national team react and they now demand the same distances as the men at the World Cup, the Olympics and the World Cup.

“On the right track”

Several comments were very clear after Saturday’s competition where Ebba Andersson won by 55 seconds ahead of Charlotte Kalla.

– It is good that you in the media raise the debate and we ladies will be strong together, says Charlotte Kalla and continues:

– It is a sport with a long history so it takes time to make changes. This weekend is proof that we are on the right track because we are going as far as the men.

Frida Karlsson is upset.

– It is very strange that the boys go twice as far as us in, for example, skiathlon. It’s almost a little offensive, she says.

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– It is possible to make the sport more fun by either getting longer courses or the men can adapt the course lengths to the ladies. It is good if the question comes higher up to those who decide within Fis. I think it hits harder if this comes from the Swedish Ski Association’s board than just from us skiers.


Linn Svahn also wants to see a change.

– In football, ladies and gentlemen have 90 minutes plus overtime. It is similar in most sports. I see no reason why it should not be the same in cross-country skiing. It is a conservative tradition that we should drive shorter than the boys, she says.

Jonna Sundling believes that this should be an issue in connection with the annual evaluation between the riders and Fis.

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– There is a chance for us to say what you think, she says.

Niklas Jonsson, outgoing Swedish representative in Fis’ length committee, says that there is no opposition in Fis, but advises the ladies to push the issue more clearly against the international federation.

– No concrete proposal has been received. Someone has to come up with suggestions and push the issue. So far no such thing has happened. What has come is a proposal from Norway to drive a five-mile for ladies in connection with Holmenkollen. We supported that in Sweden, but it was no longer possible. Or maybe it’s so that the men should adapt to the ladies’ lengths? This has also been a question in the haulage survey from Fis after each year. But we in Fis do not feel any pressure from the ladies to want to go further, he says.

“Important question”

Niklas Jonsson says that gender equality is a very important issue within Fis.

– There must be more than the four or five best nations working for equal skiing not only at national team level but also at home. Today we have the problem that some nations are investing much more in men than women.

Jonsson also mentions that in Russia, for example, there have been views that there has been too little tension in some women’s races.

– Then you can ask yourself if you drive a five-mile for ladies with a joint start. How long would it be dramaturgy during that race on a two-and-a-half-hour television broadcast? It’s not like when 40 gentlemen come together towards the end. It is a risk, he says.

– Today we have two products that are at least as good and where perhaps women’s skiing all over the Nordics is at least as popular, maybe even more popular, than men’s skiing. That was not the case when I went. Then the ladies almost always got the worst TV times. Now it’s exactly the same TV broadcasts, it’s the same prize money, the same places. That is good and we have come a long way.

SEE MORE: Dahlqvist: “A step towards more equality”

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Maja Dahlqvist says what she thinks about men and women competing the same distance at the Volkswagen Cup in Falun. Photo: Hannes Forssell / SVT

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