Here are some of the relevant statistics showing the records of the leading competitors in cross-country skiing in the major events.
The table is organised mainly by the number of wins in major races such as the world cup which is the first column. This is followed by the number of season-long World Cup titles in Distance World Cup, Sprint World Cup and Overall World Cup titles. Next come the championships with columns for World Championships (WCH) and Olympic Games (OG). This table only shows individual event titles as the numbers are distorted if you include team and relays in favour of those from strong nations. It should also be remembered that the World Cup was only started in 1979 and Sprint and Distance World Cup titles were only awarded from 1997 onwards which gives more titles to modern skiers. I have included in the tables the outstanding skiers from before the world cup showing their titles. There are also more events in the programme in modern times. The sport is more competitive than it used to be which offsets things to some extent. Taking these factors into account means that for me the most important columns in deciding the greatest cross-country skiers are the last three.
|Martin Johnsrud Sundby||2005-active||30||3||3|
|Johannes Høsflot Klæbo||2016-active||14||2||1||1|
Dæhlie is a fairly clear number one with the next two in the table second and third in my eyes though possibly with Svan in second. Fourth and fifth are Smirnov and Cologna with the bottom two names on the list,the champions from the 1950s and 1960s, next in my rankings.
|Manuela Di Centa||1982-1998||15||2||2|
Marit Bjørgen is easily the greatest female cross-country skier of all-time with Valbe second even though she didn’t win an Olympic gold. Kowalczyk, Skari and Lazutina are closely matched for third with the skiers from earlier years Kolchina, Matikainen, Kirvesniemi and Kulakova.