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Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 17:15 UK

Olympic push from Britain's telemark captain


An introduction to telemark with Andrew Clarke

Britain's telemark skiing captain Andrew Clarke is calling for the sport to be included in the Winter Olympics.

Telemark currently has a World Cup programme, but is some way off being included in the Olympics.

"I want it become an Olympic sport," Clarke told BBC Spotlight. "And I know a lot of other people who do as well.

"There are thousands of people doing telemark, but because it's not a Olympic sport, money is limited because sponsors want to be behind the glitz."

He added: "The Olympics are the ultimate in sport really.

"It's the ultimate ambition is to compete for your country at the Games, and there's nothing above walking out into the Olympic arena."

Clarke, 35, re-formed the British telemark team in 2006, and there are now 12 members on the squad.

Telemark skiing is a fantastic way of getting around a mountain

Andrew Clarke

He said: "For us it's really difficult because a lot of our guys would love to be able to go away for four to five months to train, but we just don't have the money to do it.

"Twenty to 25 years ago it was very unfashionable, but more people are doing it these days because it's the cool thing to do."

The British captain, who works as an army commando in Plymouth, is also hoping to become the world representative for telemark with the Federation of International Skiing [FIS].

If Clarke is elected to the role, he will have influence in lobbying the Winter Olympic Games Committee to include the sport, although he admitted the process can be long-winded.

He said: "The FIS put the bid forward to the Winter Olympic Games Committee and it then takes around four to six years to get a bid through."

At the heart of Clarke's campaign for Olympic inclusion is a love for a sport which has its roots in Norway, where it was started by Sondre Norheim in the 1860s.

He said: "Telemark skiing is a fantastic way of getting around a mountain.

"I really love it because it's enjoyable and it means you can go many more places that you wouldn't be able to go on alpine skis."

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