by Bill Pierce
I’ve had some amazing mentors in my lifetime! Parents, relatives, friends, business associates, and others have all contributed to my life and learning! Whether they were younger or older, I have learned many things from many different people. Igor was one of these individuals. From his disciplined and structured background as a professional Nordic ski racer for Russia, one would not have known that Igor was about learning and pure simple fun outside! Igor loved to get kids moving and if they became proficient skiers, well then, all the better. The goal was not being a great trainer and skier, it was about loving being outside and as he sometimes said in his Russian accent, “Moving, moving, moving….!!!”
The First Annual Igor Legacy Camp happened this past weekend and I am so lucky that I could get to be a part of it. If I had to state what the theme of the camp was it would be this simple; Enjoy Moving, Enjoy Life!! The young athletes that attended were mostly 10-14 years of age with a few exceptions above and below that group. Unlike some of our other junior camps, this camp was shorter and a simple introduction to ski training. This is the age where athletes need to focus on refining and sharpening their skill development for general athletics and at the end of this age (12-14) begin to focus on some very sport specific athletic activities. The camp was a mix of lots of moving. The best sessions were the morning warm ups and the basic functional movement sessions during the day. Steve Myrland and Dr. Jim Mullen are the best strength and movement coaches in the business! Really, they are! They are kids at heart with professional refinements for functional movement and strength. They know what gym class should really be!! They put the kids through every basic movement plane that you can imagine! Jumping, hopping, skipping, running, bounding, spinning, swinging, and a dozen more verbs to describe what it is to MOVE! If you want to be a great athlete, you must be athletic and these two professionals know that! These young athletes also got to run, roller ski, ski walk/bound, play simple catch, Frisbee, soccer, swim, stretch, and some bike. In just under 48 hours of camp, these athletes never stopped moving except to eat and sleep.
Other great learning opportunities took place over the two days. Mike Young a Toko wax tech presented what was some great insight on basic ski waxing and basic life knowledge. Three collegiate skiers, William Frielinghaus, Seth Mares, and Tom Bye, also attended the camp and helped coach and share their personal experiences on the path of skiing and education. There were another 10-20 parents and club coaches attending to help in coaching, transport, cooking/clean-up, and just general work to make this camp happen. A special thanks to Jim and Diane Mullen, Jake Barnes, and Gordy Bartholomew for going an extra mile in organizing, running, and meal supplies/preparation!! Becoming an outstanding athlete is all about team even in what seems to be an individual sport! The staff and workers at this camp did everything to make this a really awesome experience! The athletes again came from all around the Central Region. Ironwood, Minneapolis, Madison, Green Bay, Eau Claire, Hayward, Rice Lake, Milwaukee, Wausau, and quite a few more. Many thanks to all the club coaches that came to help and learn!!
Igor impacted a lot of kids in his short life and though he did not know most of the kids at this camp, through his work with others, he let these new Nordic athletes experience a little of the joy and happiness that he brought to everyone around him before and now! The Legacy continues not just at camp, but EVERY DAY!! See you at the Legacy in 2015!
Check out some of the action in photos from the past two camps here: