Monday, November 5, 2001 - Perspective
Junior National Team Update (Part#2)

- By: Dasha Gaiazova

More popular than the Swedish King
Gunde Swan was not only a great faker but also a very hard worker. It is enough just to look at the volumes of his training and only this aspect could probably increase the number of his fans by two times! For example his easy week consisted of 16hrs and his hard week was almost 28hrs. Here is a more detailed plan of two training weeks:

Easy week
Day 1: am Rollerskis 45km (2hrs)

pm Jog with some weight afterwards 17km (1hr30)
Day 2: the same
Day 3: the same
Day 4: am Jog 22km (2hrs)

pm Rollerskis 40km (1hr45) a strength training after (15min)
Day 5: Bike 60km (1hr30)
Day 6: Uphill walking 20km (3hrs)
Day 7: rest
Total of 290km (16hrs)

Hard week
Day 1: pm slalom uphill jog 26km (2hrs30)
Day 2: am Rollerskis 60km (2hrs35)

pm Jog 25km (2hrs10) a strength training after (20min)
Day 3: am Rollerskis 55km (2hrs35)

pm Jog 28km (2hrs35)
Day 4: am Rollerskis Cl with an uphill at the end 58km (2hrs35)

pm Jog 20km (1hr40) a strength training after (20min)
Day 5: am Rollerskis Cl 60km (2hrs35)

pm walking up a slalom slope (1hr20) a strength training after (15min)
Day 6: am Rollerskis 60km (2hrs30)

pm Rest
Day 7: am Rollerkis + Jog 40km and 18km (3hrs20)

pm Jog 12km (1hr)
Total of 450km (27hrs 50min)

The author proudly points out other examples from his life, which sound rather absurd:

One time he asked to change his 3gram pole tips to 1.5gram tips and told journalists that now they were twice as light as his competitors' and therefore on a 50km race he would lift up a total of 40kg less than the others! Everybody idolized him and seriously discussed his special technique of drying oneself after a shower: first the head, then all the rest to economize the time. At Calgary Olympics there were plenty of rumors about this Swedish athlete, isolating from everything with his thermos. Especially after his victory at 50km distance even his diet became something to admire about. Some time later the "great writer" published a book together with his cook, "On a new ski trail". The list of champion recipes divides into 2 categories: for little-activity people- 2500ccal per day and for the rest- 5000ccal. The daily norm of the Gunde himself was 8000ccal. "So if there are two people in the family, you can simply divide my norm on two", writes Gunde. This simple, plain home-cooking book had a total of 100.000 copies and almost immediately became a bestseller! The second part of his food advertising was a commercial of porridge, where Gunde Swan was dressed up and transformed into Nikolai Zimyatov, sitting in front of a mirror and repeating aloud: "I am the best skier in the world, I eat 29 servings of porridge every day because it has all essential vitamins and minerals, I don't drink coffee or alcohol and go to bed on time." Then his wife, Marie comes in and says: "Again you're sitting here and lying!" This commercial had a great success in Sweden.

No matter whether they were good or bad, Gunde's actions and inventions were remembered by all his fans and journalists. In fact, they were hungry for his every word or new idea which transformed the sport of cross-county skiing into a action- packed battle or a comedy with an intriguing end. He publicly called a silver medal "small change", even though he refused to quit the 50km race in Holmenkollen in 1989 when his own coach tried to barrier the trail with his own body to stop Gunde! His bib number had been transformed into a sling long before the finish, to craddle his injured left arm and there was no hope to finish even in top 10, but he finished the race and later explained to his coaches and press that he was fighting to the end because he had a wish and he wanted to demonstrate it to everyone.

Gunde also used to race cars to increase the amount of adrenaline in his blood, he even constructed his own car (Porshe 911) from old car parts. This car, in his opinion, symbolized the endless abilities of a man who has set himself a goal and tries to reach it.

Gunde was an extraordinary skier and his unique approach to training and racing development was the key of his phenomenal success. After finishing his racing career in 1991, Gunde created his own school "Lokstallet Gunde Swan" where he now offers anyone the chance to perfect oneself in any business or work. (Those who understand some Swedish or are just curious can check it out at www.gunde.com). Gunde knows how to take advantage of his popularity. In his school Gunde teaches his students by his own methodology (he has already taught such people as the personnel of Volvo and Goodyear companies and his work with Norwegian team was very successful). The very centre of this methodology is based on "A pyramid of success", created by Gunde which consists of 6 blocks: which are (from bottom to the top): A WISH, PLANNING, SIMPLICITY, NEW THINKING, DETALIS and A GOAL. The reaching of this goal is the ultimate development of a client's potential. For example, in order to make a strong chain, one must achieve a strength of every link. You can have a very strong chain, but if one section is weak, the chain will break. Gunde spends two full days with his clients and this is enough time for them to realize that everything depends on them. They begin to believe in themselves and understand what they do in life.

In my opinion, Gunde Swan is a great example of how everyone should take advantage of what they know and what they have. Gunde was a great innovator and always looked for every possible way to take advantage over his competitors. I'll leave the readers to decide for themselves how Gunde Swan's approach to skiing could help them to achieve their goals and develop their potential, but please don't forget what Gunde said: "Everything is possible, except some things require an effort."


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