Rikard Grip is Sweden's ladies' coach and led to success Charlotte Kalla, Anna Haag and other skiers. FIS Cross-Country News talked to Rikard about the coming season and a long-term plan for the coming three title years.
Q: Rikard what is your summary of the last season?
Rikard Grip: As team we performed well, we had skiers on the podium at almost all World Cup weekends. On the other hand there were some athletes who did not come up properly to a level where they should have been. Some athletes had this year to try a bit of training in the coming season.
Q: How has been the summer preparation of the ladies team going so far? Are you satisfied?
R.G.: I am satisfied with the training so far; we have had good drive in the camps.
Q: What are your training plans for the rest of the summer and autumn?
R.G.: We will have a camp in the Swedish mountains next week. The plan is to do a lot of running in the mountains and carry out roller skiing workouts, as the conditions are very fine there.
Q: Three coming season feature title events. Do you feel big pressure from your NSA, media on good results?
R.G.: No, do not feel any pressure. I look forward to the coming seasons. We will prepare in the best way, and will do our best to fight for the medals.
Q: Next winter there are two highlights, Tour de Ski and World Championships. How will you handle it? What needs to be done to be ready for both events? Have your athletes made already a preference?
R.G.: We will have some who go the Tour de Ski, and some that will sit it out to begin their preparation for the World Championships.
Q: A new organization model has been introduced in your association with only one national head coach. How has it been working?
R.G.: It has have gone well, Lars is head coach and I am responsible for training for the ladies. Arild is responsible for the men. Then we have an assistant coach, Robin Johansson. We have had a great time so far this summer.
Q: Sweden has been doing very well on the junior and U23 levels, especially in the ladies' class. What is the key to success? The situation seems to be better with ladies than with men, why is that?
R.G.: It's hard to say, they've done a good job on the U-team & Ski Universities. Skiers have been training well with good coaches around the skiers. I do not know what it is that makes men not made the same results.
Q: Do you have already World Cup plans? There will be a lot of travelling next year with World Cups in Canada, Tour de Ski, and pre-Olympics, World Championships. Have you made your road map yet?
R.G.: We have started to make a plan for each skier how the racing season will look like. So it feels like we are quite clear about how we're doing.
Q: Speaking about next winter, what are you expectations? What results are you looking for? Who should be on the top and who could be a surprise of the winter?
R.G.: We always want to be fighting for podiums and medals; this is also the case this year. Then we have some younger skiers that I hope will take a step in the WC races.