PARK CITY, Utah (Feb. 14) - Bj Sport, headed by six time Olympic champion Bjorn Daehlie, will outfit the U.S. Nordic Ski Team through 2011, U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner announced. The unique agreement includes an "active" role by Daehlie in not only equipping athletes but athlete counseling and advice.
The apparel company previously outfitted the U.S. cross country, nordic combined and ski jumping teams through the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and the 2003 FIS Nordic World Championships. A change in company ownership ended that agreement, but when Daehlie re-purchased Bj Sport last fall, he moved quickly to reunite with the U.S. nordic teams, Bodensteiner said.
The Bj brand is distributed in North America by Alpina Sports of Lebanon, NH, which helped complete the new agreement. "We were very pleased to hear from Bjorn and Alpina. He was a great partner during our breakout seasons in 2002 and '03," Bodensteiner said.
"The fact that he sought us out to support the re-launch of his brand is real validation of a Team that's on the move," he added. "He sees what we're doing, believes in it and is now an integral part of our support network. I know from our past work together that Bjorn feels a special affinity between Norwegian and American skiing."
In a precedent-setting role, Daehlie also will take part in advising designated athletes, according to Bodensteiner.
In addition to outfitting the Team, Bj Sport and Bodensteiner have begun planning for not only the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, but the 2011 World Championships in Oslo, Norway. The agreement also includes summer training gear, the first time a nordic supplier has provided off-season technical wear.
Apart from the uniform and clothing support, Bodensteiner said Daehlie will be "an active participant" in supporting U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation VIP tours forby donors to Holmenkollen next month. "Bjorn's involvement provides another exciting dimension to the Foundation's trip to Oslo," he said.
"Seeing the U.S. nordic community wearing Bjorn Daehlie gear with its distinctive 'Bj' logo - in races, out touring, training in the preseason or just around town - is a strong statement of support for U.S. Ski Team athletes as well as the function and fashion element of the gear," Bodensteiner said.
"We're not only excited but we're extremely proud to be back with Bjorn on a long-term agreement. He won 12 Olympics medals, a record eight of them gold, and we feel Bj Sport is the gold standard for our ski apparel."
Citizen racers and recreational skiers can also wear the U.S. Ski Team's Bj Sport headgear in a special new support program, Friends of Cross Country (FoXC). Donors contributing $50 or more to the U.S. Ski Team through FoXC will receive an official U.S. Ski Team hat from Bj Sport. Fans can check it out at http://foxc.ussa.org