Monday, June 15, 2009


Nordic Walking in North America - No Longer Poles Apart!

Thank you to Mike "Walking Wizard" Gates for this 'Report' from the recent ground breaking "Santa Monica, California, USA, Nordic Walking Expo and Conference". The first event of it's kind in an English (as a first language) speaking country.

Mike Gates is a World reknown Nordic (Pole) Walking Pioneer & Ambassador who lives in New South Wales, Australia. He is the Managing Director of the Australian branch of an organisation headed in Europe by Finland's original Nordic 'Pole' Walking Pioneer, Marko Kantaneva. Mike is a legend in the 'Ultra Distance' Nordic Walking field; he currently holds the 'World Distance' records for both "24 hours" and "36 hours" of non-stop Nordic Walking.

"At the recent Nordic Walking Expo and Conference in Santa Monica, California, it was nothing short of sensational to be able to experience & witness with my own eyes & ears, one of the memorable moments in modern times within the activity of Nordic Walking. Just to witness the dismantling of the staunch exclusion barriers that stood individual organisation in direct competition with another individual organisation, which has stunted and confused potential participants throughout the years, was worth my journey from Australia.

Now to see the ‘exclusiveness’ make way for the coming together of Open Minds & Attitudes, that focused on ‘inclusiveness’ for all those who represented the ‘different flavours’ of Nordic Walking within North America, was nothing short of awesome. Plus to observe them all side by side, walking, talking and teaching each other and individual members of the public about their Nordic Walking techniques, methods and pole products, over the few days of the expo / conference, was shear brilliance!

It has been seen as a tremendous common advantage for all involved with Nordic Walking to be able to grow this great activity to its vast potential, within the least amount of time, for maximum community participation and uptake and to now unite on an inclusive front for Nordic Walking in North America; it is such a success for cause.

A - HUGE - Congratulations must go to the Nordic Walking Gurus of North America; “Malin Svensson”, “Suzanne Nottingham” and “Tom Rutlin” and for all other coaches and professionals that participated - “ALL YOU GUYS ROCK” for putting, above all, the interests of the Nordic Walking movement first before any of their own self interests, as these are the signs of “true sportsmanship” & “fair play”.

A special mention must go again to Malin Svensson and Gary Johnson of Nordic Walking North America (NWNA) for having the courage, vision and commitment in taking the first steps in reaching out to these other Nordic Walking experts within North America, to negotiate cooperation within the Nordic Walking movement to become ‘inclusive’ instead of ‘exclusive’ for the benefit of all.

So the pace has now been set by these “passionate leaders” to allow Nordic Walking to stride freely and unencumbered in North America. I wonder if other Leaders around the globe, that hold the power balance of Nordic Walking in other countries, will have similar courage & conviction to follow in the footsteps of our Nordic Walking Brothers & Sisters of North America, in the best possible interests of the community and Nordic Walking, before their own personal interests? Hmmm…..

It’s time to seriously consider the future of Nordic Walking - Do we globally let it freely stride out or do some amongst us still try and hold tight and end up strangling it, as in recent past years?

Warmest Regards from Down Under (Australia)

Mike “Walking Wizard” Gates


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