January 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 67

live in a man���s world Yuriy Gusev Pushing off a cross-country tradition By Emily Bradley It���s no exaggeration to say Yuriy Gusev grew up cross-country skiing. He was introduced to the sport at around age 3; far too young to vividly recall the first time he slipped on a pair of skis. But though he can���t remember his early stumbles, he has never forgotten his passion for the sport. Gusev���s cross-country trek has taken him across the globe��� from his home in Russia, where he raced as first-rank athlete in the Unified Sports Classification System of the USSR and Russia, to Verona, where he now serves as executive director of Central Cross Country Ski Association. For the second consecutive year, the organization is hosting the International Paralympic Committee Nordic Skiing World Cup Jan. 10-21 in Cable, Wis., a competitive cross-country racing event for athletes with physical disabilities and visual impairment. CXC Skiing also offers numerous programs aimed at everyone from the elementary school student to military veterans, but Gusev���s goal is always the same: to spread his passion for cross-country skiing to the entire snowbelt. What was turnout like last year? We had between 200 to 500 [spectators] every day. A couple of schools brought their students last year. A lot of schools, now knowing what the event is, will be bringing their students to the competitions [this year]. How have you been getting kids involved? We���re trying to utilize the event as a tool to educate kids about different countries and individuals with physical disabilities. We have developed programs that educate kids about other countries, different cultures, and about science and math. This way kids get excited [about the event] throughout the school year before they actually come and watch the event. It���s a great way to integrate the community. How has the community responded? Without the community, this event would be impossible to host. Countries all around the world are interested in coming back just because of the community and what they saw last year. You grew up in Russia and were introduced to cross-country skiing there. How does Russia approach the sport differently? The biggest difference is that cross-country skiing in the Russian snowbelt is part of the school system. We learn about cross-country skiing in elementary school or before. And that���s eventually what we���re trying to do here���have crosscountry skiing be a part of physical education at schools. We���re getting less physical education in schools in general, so it���s definitely a challenge. And that���s where we want to help give schools the ability to introduce kids to cross-country skiing. What do you hope to achieve moving forward? My goal is for every elementary school child in the snowbelt to have an opportunity to experience cross-country skiing. Maybe that���s a little optimistic, but if kids have an opportunity to try it ��� they can decide for themselves whether or not they want to do it. Providing that opportunity and experience is our No. 1 goal. What surprised you most when you began CXC Skiing? It���s surprising to see it doesn���t take much effort to get people excited about cross-country skiing. They just need to know the resources they have and that there���s somebody out there who can help them out. If two or three people get excited about cross-country skiing, that���s really all it takes. That���s what makes the day���when you come back and see somebody excited and wanting to do more and get more people involved. ��������� Quick Questions with Gusev Best tip for beginners? Take a lesson. 24 BRAVA Magazine How do you warm up after skiing? With a cup of tea. January 2013 Favorite area skiing trail? Elver Park has outstanding grooming and there are lights on the trail. They also have [ski] rentals. What advantages does cross-country have over downhill skiing? You can go anywhere. You don���t need a chairlift. Photo by Shanna Wolf Tell me about the International Paralympic Committee Nordic Skiing World Cup. Who are the athletes? We will have three different categories of athletes: We���ll have [leg] amputee or paralyzed athletes with a specialty chair on skis; a category of athletes with one arm or no arms [who skate] without using poles or using one pole only; and a category of athletes who are visually impaired or blind, who ski with a guide.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Brava - January 2013