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Daehlie vs. Smirnov

Ok folks, last skiing video!

This one is an oldie but goodie of a photo finish between Vladimir Smirnov and Bjorn Daehlie. In watching this video, it seems to me that you can really tell how much better modern ski boots are than the ones that were being worn even a few decades ago. I don't know if it's just my perception, but it seems like both Smirnov and Daehlie look a little "slippery" in the feet as they approach the finish line.

I've always been a huge fan of Vladimir Smirnov. I believe he's described in Luke Bodensteiner's book as "the best cross-country skier to never win Olympic gold," but then he did eventually win a gold in the 50k at the 1994 winter Olympics. 30 wins and 36 additional podiums on the world cup is nothing to sneer at, and were it not for Bjorn Daehlie, Smirnov would be the most famous skier of his generation.

The other thing I like about Smirnov is that he doesn't fall down at the end of races like Daehlie does all the time. Daehlie likes to do this big dramatic collapse, and Smirnov seems to start eyeing up the crowd for somebody he can punch out. Even in the above video it's sort of like Smirnov says, "if winning the race means that I have to fall down...then forget it."

Also, can you think of a cooler name than Vladimir Smirnov? Vlad for short! Are you kidding me? His name is bookended with a pair of "Vs"!  That's clearly the gold medal best name award. Unless your name is Darth Vader--and even then it's pretty close--you do not have a cooler name than Vladimir Smirnov.

Anyway, these were the kinds of videos we used to sit around watching back in the day. Look for Smirnov on the old tapes if you get a chance, he's the one standing up and panting at the finish line where everyone else is in a collapsed wad.

Oh, by the way, today is the last day to get your CyclovaXC gear re-order in, so please do if you're interested in anything!

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