Top News Stories

Recent Videos

50km Victories – A Harvey Tradition

by Jack Sasseville

March 08, 2017 – This past Sunday, as I was getting ready to go for a ski I sat with my phone continually updating the Live FIS site as I followed the World Championship Men’s 50km F race from Lahti, Finland. The last checkpoint before the finish was at 48.2 km and it showed Alex Harvey near the lead, as he had been all day.

Alex and Pierre Harvey [P] CCC
As I was waiting for the skiers to ski the last 1.8km I couldn’t help but think back to another 50km race back in 1988 that I had the privilege to watch in person in Oslo, Norway.

On that day Alex’s father, Pierre won the 100th edition of what is likely the most prestigious single day race in the world – the Holmenkollen 50km Classic.

In those days the 50km was an interval start race over a 25km course. The skiers started one by one every 30 seconds. Pierre got out to a very fast start and by the end of the 1st lap of 25km he was the leader by 30 seconds over the 2nd place skier Vegard Ulvang (Nor), who had started 30 seconds in front of him. They were now skiing together and we all believed that as long as Pierre stayed with Vegard that he would win the race.

Canada's Pierre Harvey wins the 100th Holmenkollen 50km Classic in 1988 - the first non-European to claim this prestigious title. [P]

However, at the back of the field an Italian skier, Silvano Barco, had started to make his move forward and by the time Barco reached my timing station at the 13km mark on the course he had closed to within 30 seconds of Pierre and was gaining fast.

I frantically called to our other coaches on my walkie-talkie to let them know of the situation but the only one who could hear me was our head waxer, John Plummer, who was in the wax room and rushed out to let Pierre know. Head coach, Marty Hall who was in the stadium, got wind of Barco via a PA announcement and sent a message to Senior Team Coach Laurent Roux who was able to inform Harvey. With three km to go Pierre put in a final push to the finish and ended up winning by 13 seconds. It was the greatest win of his career and one of my best memories as a coach with the National Team.

Rare Holmenkollen Diplom presented to Pierre Harvey by the King of Norway following his victory [P] Harvey Collection
For a larger version of this rare and historic 100th Holmenkollen Diplom 1888-1988 click here.

Sitting in the locker room on Sunday the seconds ticked by slowly as I waited for the moment that I could refresh my screen and see the final results. When they flashed on the screen showing that Alex had won I screamed YESSSS! and started running around the room.

Canada's Alex Harvey takes the Men's 50K Free race [P] Nordic Focus
Canada's Alex Harvey is 50K World Champ [P] Nordic Focus
Alex said that this was the greatest race of his life. He said that he had been feeling good all week but was missing the magic. For the 50km F finale he had the magic and will forever be a World Champion in an individual event. He and his father are the two greatest male skiers in the history of xc skiing in Canada. What a tradition.

Canada's Alex Harvey savours GOLD [P] Nordic Focus

The famous Holmenkollen 50km Classic in Oslo, Norway, is coming up this weekend on March 11 and we look forward to adding another chapter to the Harvey Tradition – bonne chance Alex.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Philyski, Québec, Canada says:

    I am so happy for Alex. His talent and work ethic are monumental. Ditto for Pierre. Thank you boys for putting Canada 🇨🇦 on the ski map!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.