Charlie Dee called me with the tragic news as I pulled up to the Superior Dome in Marquette, Michigan, late Friday afternoon. "Igor died today on the Birkie Trail," he said, sounding shocked and heartbroken.
This winter Charlie wrote three articles for Silent Sports; distillations of his conversations about Nordic skiing technique with Igor Badamshin, the Russian-born and Wausau, Wisconsin-based head coach for the Central Cross Country Ski Association (CXC). The first in the series appeared in the January issue, with the others set to run in subsequent issues.
News of the 47-year-old Russian National Team Olympic medalist's death traveled fast and all the way to the U.P. on the eve of the Noquemanon Ski Marathon. I stayed the weekend with Ken Schoville, long-time Lakeland Union High School ski coach and former president of the Wisconsin High School Nordic Ski League, and he spoke highly of Badamshin's expertise, energy, warmth and good humor.
A memorial for Badamshin will be held in Cable, Wisconsin, next Saturday, February 8. The organizers are collecting photos of the man for a slideshow and taking donations for a fund in his name to help junior Midwest skiers compete on the world stage. More information can be found on the Facebook page for the memorial.
A tribute to Badamshin posted by his colleagues at CXC can be found here.