Athlete of the Month – February 2012

Name: Morihiro Horie
Country: Japan
Discipline: Ski Orienteering
Career highlights: World Ski Orienteering Championships: 23rd (sprint 2007, sprint 2009), 9-times Japanese Champion

Even if our Athlete of the Month, Morihiro Horie, has to train on roller skis the whole winter, he is aiming towards better results than before. “My daily training could have been better, but I think I can improve my results from last winter”, the Japanese says.

The 30-year-old ski orienteer has had good results in international races for some years now, but last winter was very tough for him because of the big earthquake in Japan just before the World Ski Orienteering Championships in Sweden.

“We couldn’t prepare enough for the World Championships. Now people focus on reconstruction rather than sports. However I hope that I can lift people’s spirits by sports-challenging the world.”

The big goal

The Ski Orienteering World Cup 2012 has just started with first events in California, USA. Morihiro Horie isn’t taking part in the first round of the World Cup. His big goal is at the end of February: “That is when I will compete in the World Cup events in Ukraine.”

So far, Morihiro’s best results at the World Championships are two 23rd places, both in sprint: first in Russia in 2007, second two years later on home ground in Japan. But he is not satisfed yet: “I want to continue to challenge the world.” This winter he also aims to be the national champion for the tenth consecutive year.

New daily life

Morihiro Horie currently lives in Tokyo, where he works full-time – and often also over-time.

“To go fully for ski orienteering is not that easy. It takes for me more than three hours each way by car or train to get to ski. Still I would like to continue to train and do it as well as possible. I also think I can do better than last winter when I became a full-time employee of the company and my lifestyle changed a lot.”

As there is no snow in Tokyo, Morihiro trains with roller skiing even in winter time. He is also a member of Arc Communications Ski Team, a team which trains and supports athletes that compete around the world in cross-country skiing and ski orienteering.

Morihiro Horie at last year’s World Ski Orienteering Championships in Sweden.

The athletes’ questions

Athlete of January was Alison Crocker, who just finished 4th in the Ski Orienteering World Cup season opening. The American had two questions for Morihiro Horie:

Have you ever had to use the spare equipment stop in a ski orienteering race? If so, why and how far did you have to travel to it with one ski or pole?

“Yes, it was at the World Championships 2007 in Russia on long distance. I destroyed my stock basket by banging on the walls. Then I had to ski with one pole one third of the course.”

How do you train for ski orienteering during the summer months? By foot orienteering? Roller skiing? Any fun drills? Have you ever done a roller ski orienteering race?

“I have never done a roller ski orienteering race. I train foot orienteering sometimes. But most of my training is just endurance-based training, like road biking and running. Funny drills are welcome!”

Athlete of March will be Polina Malchikova, Russia. The Russian had her big break-through last winter when she won two World Championships gold medals: on middle distance and in mixed relay. Morihiro has two questions for her: “When and why did you start ski orienteering? Do you have any sponsor for your equipment and so on? If you have, what have you done to get sponsorship?”

Text and second photo: Erik Borg

Previous Athletes’ of the Month

January 2012 Alison Crocker (USA)


February 2011 Olga Novikova (KAZ)
March 2011 Olli-Markus Taivainen (FIN)
April 2011 Emily Benham (GBR)
May 2011 Søren Saxtorph (DEN)
June 2011 Tove Alexandersson (SWE)
July 2011 Olav Lundanes (NOR)
August 2011 Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA)
September 2011 Erik Skovgaard Knudsen (DEN)
October 2011 Lauri Kontkanen (FIN)
November 2011 Annika Billstam (SWE)
December 2011 Anna Füzy (HUN)


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