Thursday’s individual sprints marked the opening of the 37 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, which take place in Holmenkollen, Norway. The sprints embodied everything top-level international racing is about: smiles and tears, sweat, hard work and rewards. But there are almost 20 more events to come, in cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and jumping.

Madshus is proud to support some of the best skiers in the world. At the venue, Madshus is present every day of the World Championships with four to five service techs, assisting about two dozen racers and their teams.

“We have more than 20 athletes at the World Championships, with the biggest medal contenders being Alxander Legkov, Axel Teichmann, Kristin Størmer Steira and Krista Laehtenmaeki,” says Per Wiik, marketing director at Madshus.

“Our service techs help test the skis and bring the best skis to the national wax teams. The national teams do the kick wax and the final waxing, but we test the skis,” Wiik says, noting that you can wax a ski to perfection but if it’s not the right ski for the racer and the conditions, it doesn’t make it fast.

“The skis themselves are the most important element in the mix. That’s why our service guys spend so much time testing flex, camber and grinds so our racers have the fastest skis on the race day,” Wiik explains.

But most of the work is done long before the World Championships, both for the athletes who have to trust that their foundation is solid and their technique polished, and for the service techs. The Madshus crew has spent the whole season, and in many cases several years, working with the athletes to build their ski park, fit boots and poles to perfection. The select the ski park carefully, one pair at a time, season after season.

Alexander Legkov (RUS) led the overall World Cup for several months before he got sick with the swine flu during Tour de Ski. Now in 5th place overall, and at the World Cup in Rybinsk just before the World Championships, he showed that he is in shape and ready to pick up where he left. Axel Teichmann (GER) and Kristin Størmer Steira (NOR) are both proven veterans of both their national teams, and both aiming for individual medals at the Worlds. 20-year-old Krista Laehtemaeki (FIN) is one of the top racers on the Finnish circuit, and she’s ready continue the legacy of the Finnish women as top contenders in all events. In the Nordic combined, veteran Magnus Moan (NOR) is one of the top medal candidates. A Madshus athlete for years and with almost a decade of international racing experience, Moan already has five World Championship medals and two Olympic medals on his shelf.

For results and information about the FIS World Championships in Oslo, visit www.oslo2011.com.