• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • Olympic veteran Ivan Babikov takes coaching reins in bid to salvage Canadian cross-country skiing

      November 4, 2016

      Babikov races in the men's 15km at Sochi 2014 on Feb. 14, 2014.

      Shut out of the medals in Russia, the cross-country federation saw its OTP monies drop by more than 50 per cent to $2.3 million to prepare for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

      And so on the cusp of Babikov’s first season as head coach, results are crucial to ensure the budget doesn’t get slashed even further.

      No pressure or anything.

      “All the national-team guys have been my friends for many years,” Babikov said Thursday after a domestic race at the Canmore Nordic Centre. “I deeply care about them. I want the Canadian ski team to be one of the best in the world. That’s why I’m here.”

      Babikov shocked the Nordic world by posting back-to-back top-10 finishes in the 2016 Ski Tour Canada. But the man known as “the bulldog” studied coaching in university and knew that he one day wanted to make the jump.

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