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Predictable Finish For Calder

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Vancouver, 15 February 2010: A predictable finish for Kiwi Katie Calder in the women's 10-kilometre cross-country freestyle ski at the Vancouver Olympics.

Ranked 62nd going into the race, Calder has finished 63rd in a time of 28 minutes 50.9. She finished three minutes 52.5 behind Swedish gold medallist Charlotte Kalla.

The aerobics demands of the sport, especially when paired with Olympic competition, have left her exhausted.

"I gave it everything on the course, I went as hard as I could but roughly ended up with the same ranking I started with." She says the course proved difficult to navigate at times due to the snow conditions.

"The course was different to yesterday. They put a lot of fertiliser down to harden it. The expectation was with the weather being so warm, they'd do the same today but it didn't happen. It felt like knee-deep slush in places.

That meant organisers reversed the start order.

"The fastest skiers got the advantage of a harder course," says Calder. "The whole course was chopped up but everyone starting around my time had to deal with that."

Calder says the unfavourable snow conditions meant she was sapped for energy in the latter stages, slipping back from 61st at the 5km mark.

"It's something for me to work on so I get back to having the advantage of a quicker course. Today was probably my favoured event but it doesn't mean I can't have a crack at the others now I have some pre-race nerves out of the way."

She will also race the individual classic pursuit, 15km pursuit (7.5km classic/7.5km freestyle) and then the mass start 30km classic later in the programme.

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Doctor Explains Haemoglobin

Meanwhile New Zealand cross country skier Ben Koons has been stood-down from competition until February 20 (NZT) for health reasons.

Koons returned haemoglobin values that exceeded safety limits permitted by the International Ski Federation in a standard pre-competition test.

The 23-year-old has been training at altitude and is understood to have been dehydrated at the time of testing, a factor that increases haemoglobin levels.

Team doctor Perry Turner has explained the situation: "As your haemoglobin goes up your blood becomes more viscous and this puts athletes at risk of cardiac and cerebral events like stroke. That's why the rule is in place."

"Ben has another blood test in five days and with the appropriate rehydration and some sea-level training he'll be raring to go for his later events."

Koons will miss two of his four Olympic events but, subject to a new test, will compete in the 30km Pursuit on February 21 and the 50km Mass Start on the 28th.

Two other cross country skiers have been stood down with the same problem so far at the Games.

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