O-technique of the middle champs

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This text is taken from the "waybackarchive" - once published at orienteeringonline.com:

 Rostrup, Ikonen and Gueorgiou are the last three short/middle distance world champions. They represent the so called "new wave" (whatever that means) of the world top orienteers.

The fact is that many of technically best performances of the last few years were done by exactly these three guys. Below is a small interview with all them.

The three titans. Technical orienteering is the name of their game

1. Aproximately what percentage of your training is for O-technique?

Thierry Gueorgiou: Last year (from November 2002 to October 2003), my total amount of training was exacly 595 hours and 46% (275 hours) was orienteering.
Last 6 years, average were between 43 to 47 %. It is quite a lot, but I am living in France in snow free area, even if map quality is not always perfect it's possible to do very good training all winter.
I ran also quite often with maps of next competition even if I am not in forest.

Pasi Ikonen: 20% of 528h. It's about 100h. Further analysis will appear on my homepage later this winter.

Jorgen Rostrup: About 1/4 (1/3 as a junior).

2. Do you do any mental training with the maps (while you're not running)?

T.G: Plenty. I try to imagine myself in forest, fighting with world best athletes in last leg of Jukola for example...even if I am in my sofa!
Mental preparation is very important for me. If You can dream it, You can do it! Brain makes hardly any difference between reality and the mental image! So, I try to run at least one WOC every week!
I am also playing quite a lot a video game called Catching features. I think It's pretty close to reality, same feeling as in forest.
Mapmaking is important too. I'm actually working on a 1 square km map, full of small contours.

P.I: I often look at old maps and try to watch my performances like movie. I believe that if I'm able to remember everything about my performance, then my conciousness has been perfect.
Another usual habit of mine is to browse other athletes' homepages and, for example, try to find interesting route choices. Sometimes I try to think what an orienteer has been thinking before a mistake or a perfect achievement. In conclusion, I use crazy methods to go deep into my own orienteering. Basic things won't work anymore and they don't offer the same excitement anymore.

J.R: No. While I'm not training, I prefer not to think about orienteering at all.

3. Do you always have controls planned ahead? Even in the most difficult terrain on a course with some very short legs?

T.G: Not always, but If I am in the way to a very difficult control which requires full concentration, I will plan the following one in the last meters before punching. Then I try to find a big map feature (like hills) as fast as possible to simplify map reading to next control.
But sometimes it's better to stop 5 seconds on control and then run in right direction from the beginning.

P.I: My basic idea of orienteering is that you have to have some idea of the coming challenge. I don't always do "by the book" but I always try to be so much aware that I don't have to slow down my speed too much. And when it comes to REALLY difficult terrains (where no-one can do by the book) old words of wisdom (Pasteur's) will be valid:
"Chance Favours the Prepared Mind." So, if there's good luck in orienteering, I think "good luck" will always be given to the prepared ones. Those who always have bad luck, should maybe learn something from the good luck owners...

J.R: No. I very often do it the other way round (run first, orienteer afterwards...).

4. If you could create a terrain by yourself, what kind of terrain would you make?

T.G: Something pretty close to Tromso area (north norway) I suppose. Lovely terrain, full of small details.
But I like also diversity, so, maybe more different kinds of terrain on the same map.

P.I: It would contain both rocky terrain and suppamaasto. We have something like that at couple of places here in Finland. I would like to have bare cliffs and other rocky formations inside/beside depressions and knolls. If you find this kind of terrain, please inform: pasi_ikonen@hotmail.com

J.R: Quite good runability (Nordic standard), but still rough (lots of small hills) and technical.

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