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NORDIC EVENTS

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Cross-country skiing is the cold-and-snow version of long distance running. Racers run cross country against the clock. They start 30 seconds apart. Racers must use the "classical" technique in the shorter individual events and the "freestyle" technique in longer individual events and relays. A new event has been added this year, the two-day "pursuit" format. It includes a classical technique on the first day and a freestyle race on the second day, with the skiers leaving at intervals depending on their first-day finish.

THE COURSES

Sports uphill, downhill and rolling terrain. Trails are 12-18 feet wide. 17 TV cameras will cover the events.

STRATEGY

Cross-country racers use strategy common to bicycling and track and field, drafting off one another, taking turns leading and sprinting for the finish.

THE PUSH

Watch for the cross-country skier pushing off the inside edge of the weight-bearing ski.

UPPER-BODY STRENGTH

Required to double-pole across level terrain. This sport produces the best conditioned athletes in term of overall fitness.

SKIS

Light and about half the width of those used in alpine events.

CROSS-COUNTRY TECHNIQUES

DIAGONAL STRIDE (classical)

The diagonal stride is the basic movement in cross-country skiing. The skier alternately moves one ski forward while gliding on the other. As the ski moves forward, the skier brings the arm on the opposite side forward and plants the pole for speed and balance.

SKATE STRIDE (freestyle)

The skate stride enables the skier to pick up speed. The skier glides forward on one ski, while kicking out the other ski sideways and back in a skating motion. The skier plants both poles at the same time to help provide thrust.

BIATHLON

This event requires the skill and endurance of a cross-country skier and the concentration of a shooter. Athletes ski a predetermined distance carrying an unloaded rifle. At regular intevals they stop at the shooting range and shoot at five targets 50 meters from the firing line. One minute is added when a target is missed in a long race and a penalty loop of 150 meters is skied in a short race or relay. Athletes try to slow their heart rate while skiing to the range, and squeeze the trigger in the stillness between their heartbeats.

THE RIFLE

Stocks may be hollow for lighter weight. Shooting sling for steadying rifle, which can weigh up to 11 pounds. Notch in rifle stock holds ammunition magazines; each magazine has 5 to 8 rounds.

THE TARGETS

Placed 50 meters from the firing line; roughly the size of a grapefruit.

NORDIC COMBINED

This event requires endurance for the cross country and speed and power for jumping. Individual events include a 70-meter jump and 15k cross-country race; the team event combines a 70-meter jump and 30k relay race.

Sources: Associated Press; World Book Encyclopedia

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