FIS race director Lasse Ottesen: "I'm really impressed so far"

17 February 2014 10:11
Lasse Ottesen
Lasse Ottesen -

Name: Lasse Ottesen
Age: 39 
Hometown: Ski, 20 minutes from Oslo, Norway
Married, 4 children 

Former Ski Jumper, biggest success: Silver medal at the Olympic Games in Lillehammer 1994,
1997 - 1999 Ski Flying world record holder, 212 meters (Planica/SLO). 

3 Olympic Games as a Ski Jumper: Albertville, Nagano, Lillehammer.
As a side remark: One of the competitors in all three Olympics was Noriaki Kasai of Japan who won the silver medal on the large hill in Sochi 

FIS race director Nordic Combined, since winter 2012/2013 


Do you like the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games so far? 

I really enjoy the games so far. I´m impressed. Logistically it's running very smoothly. The venue is great, it's the first time ever that we have a compact venue like this where we have the start and finish of the cross-country track at the ski jumping venue. So far the people did a great job. As it appears today we have enough snow for the upcoming competitions even if the temperatures are pretty high. We are very pleased.

What is the main difference between a World Cup competition and an Olympic competition? 

To be honest, before the first Olympic competition it was the first time that I was a bit nervous. I haven't had this feeling before any World Cup competition. On Wednesday morning I felt the adrenalin already at breakfast. I had the same feeling when competing as an athlete a few years ago, let's call it the Olympic feeling. It's the biggest event for our discipline, I put more pressure on myself for this. I try to make the race as fair as possible. Especially the race track needs the best possible preparation. Communication within the whole competition management has to work proper, this is the most important thing.

One special impression of Sochi? 

It's hard not to mention the weather. The overall impression of what the OC has done here is enormous. The overall impression is really good. 

We saw you salting the track this morning, why does this have to be done? And why are you doing this yourself? 

First of all we are at a place where there is no natural snow at all. It's not possible to have natural snow with the temperatures we have here. But to be correct It's a mix of a chemical called urea and salt Nr. 5. This makes the snow hard and the snow stays longer. I did it myself together with the TD and two volunteers to make sure it's done the same way all the time. So we are able to present the athletes the same good track every day. 

Why is Nordic Combined much more difficult than Ski Jumping and Cross Country alone? 

The balancing of the two disciplines is one of the main things. When you are training one thing too much there is a high danger of loosing the power and feeling for the other discipline. We are combining the two most famous disciplines of nordic winter sport. Combining these two makes the ultimate winter athletes. The level of our best athletes is absolutely impressive. Magnus Moan of Norway, for example, competes in national championships from time to time and finishes among the top cross-county athletes. Some do the same in ski jumping. 

Question to you as a Cross-Country expert: What was wrong with the Norwegian Cross-Country skiers in the team competitions on the last two days, how can something like this happen?

I´m too far away to deeply answer this question but it has definitely something to do with the skies and, in consequence, it has then something to do with mental issues. If an athlete feels that the skies are not really good it causes mental problems. To be honest , the fact that something like this happens shows how complicated things can be. Nobody comes to Olympic Games and can just pick up the Gold. But it's still one more week to go and the Norwegians have already won three Gold medals in cross-country so it's not that bad.