Feature: The waxing team behind China's cross-country skiers

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 25, 2021
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LANZHOU, China, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- After 10pm, the light still came out of the waxing room, and the scraper rustled in the wind. Waxers from China's cross-country skiing training team were busy working in different rooms.

Terje Langli, a 55-year-old waxer from Norway, who has waxed for skiers for nearly 20 years, instructed his two Chinese apprentices to work on skis for all athletes of China's cross-country skiing training team. They were working in different waxing rooms during the 2020-21 China cross-country skiing tournament in Baiyin City of northwest China's Gansu Province.

Langli introduced the idea that waxing was one of the most important aspects of cross-country skiing, just like the tires on Formula 1 cars.

"Good ski wax can save athletes' energy and improve sports performance," said Zhang Bei, team manager of China's cross-country skiing training team, adding that in places like Norway and Finland, waxing teams are very professional.

"Cross-country skiing started late in China, and we didn't have enough waxers in the past," Zhang said.

In winter sports, good teams are often equipped with more than 10 kinds of wax and dozens of waxers, depending on different temperatures and snow quality.

"The successful bid for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games has encouraged more Chinese to take part in winter sports," said Zhang, adding that China has recruited different waxers from abroad to speed up the cultivation of excellent Chinese waxers and enhance the strength of winter sports.

"Now, China's cross-country skiing training team has a group of foreign waxers. I hope that all athletes can improve their performance with our professional waxing team," Zhang said.

21-year-old Wang Yihan, an apprentice of Langli, focused on his Norwegian mentor's action on the skis.

Wang mentioned that it would take him a lot of time to select the wax. Due to the snow temperature, air temperature and humidity on the day of the competition, all factors should be taken into account.

"After selecting the wax, we need to go through many procedures, such as cleaning, drying, ironing and brushing," Wang said.

When Langli's waxing team was working, Nikita Kriukov, coach of China's cross-country skiing training team, came to help them.

Kriukov, who won cross-country skiing gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics and silver at the 2014 Games, believes that success lies in the details.

"Waxing is very important. I come to the waxing room almost every night and help waxers prepare for the race," said Kriukov, adding that he always pays more attention to the use of different wax to analyze athletes' performances.

29-year-old Li Xin, a member of China's cross-country skiing training team, who participated in the Winter Olympic Games in 2010 and 2018, emphasized that good results would not come without the help of waxers.

"The whole team, including the waxers, work very hard. And I will try my best to stand on the winner's rostrum of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games," Li said. Enditem

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