Ustiugov-Klaebo Aggro In Context Of Raising Profile Of Skiing

In about 30 seconds flat last Thursday Sergei Alexandrovich Ustiugov and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo did more to promote world’s awareness about the great sport of cross country skiing than FIS and Seefeld-2019 organizers could have possible done with any promo budget.

” Hey, dude – becoming world champion in cross country skiing doesn’t make one the world star. This kinda stuff does!”

Every Norwegian media outlet, every Russian one had a story of the Sprint semi-finals altercation. Don’t need to tell you who was to blame for the incident in Norway – and who in Russia.

Klaebo is media star and influencer all right – but mostly in his native Norway, although his appeal spreads
Ustiugov with his rough charms has a big following in Russia, but wasn’t exactly a household name – yet. Now a lot more people found out about him than were he actually to win that race

You may think whatever you like about late Roger Ailes, founder of Fox News, but his description of how media works is still very accurate: “If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, ‘I have a solution to theMiddle East problem,’ and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?” Translation: nice stuff is boring, brawl is not.

Sindre Skar ” Then Ustiugov said something emphatic in Russian – I did not understand anything, but sounded like swearing…”

Are the newsmen evil & perverted? Nay, they just know what shakes and moves the general public, not just dedicated fans of particular sport.

Heja Norge! – Davai, Rossiya!

What’s the point in keeping mum about the obvious: televized sport is the last outlet for semi-allowed, even officiated jingoism of all hues – and that’s one reason it’s so popular.

Ustiugov totally one-upped Klaebo in one department: while the Norwegian rushed to continue the race ( and eventually win) , the Russian stayed in the mixed zone, politely and patiently giving interviews to media outlets – and it looked like every single outlet present wanted to have him on record

Do we need to hide our collective heads in the sand and to pretend that cross country skiing is so noble that it could survive on romantics of gliding silently through the snow forest and such?

Perhaps, time to learn from more commercially successful sports?

Remember the aftermath of Khabib vs McGregor fight?

Or that Barcelona – Real match back in 2011? Yes, the one featuring  Jose Mourinho, then Real Madrid, laying hand on fellow Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova?

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At the very least, we need Petter Northug’s talent for self-aggrandizing  also known as “talking s@#t about his rivals and doing some of that s@#t too”

..Meanwhile, our best hope of keeping the cross skiing in the news hinges on these two gentlemen – great skiers, but also great showmen.
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