Confidence builds on itself. Despite having a cold earlier this week, Rosanna Crawford took Sunday’s fifth-place finish on the biathlon World Cup and turned it into a fourth-place follow up, finishing the 7.5 k sprint 36 seconds behind winner Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic.
Arnaud Du Pasquier, a member of Colorado University’s 2014 squad to NCAA Championships, will be a senior next year. For now, though, he’s taking a year to complete his mandatory military service in his native Switzerland – which he’s doing by skiing full-time, including in the Nations Group at the Davos World Cups.
American Caitlin Gregg had big plans to before heading to the World Cup this winter as the SuperTour leader, with qualification for World Championships at the top of the list. Disappointed in her results the last two weekends, she’s got one more World Cup weekend then will try to make a statement at U.S. nationals.
Park City hosted the first Nordic Combined Continental Cup of the season last week with jumping at Utah Olympic Park and the 10 k races at the Gorgoza tubing hill, moved there because of a lack of snow. Taylor Fletcher posted the two best U.S. performances in fifth and eighth place, followed by Billy Demong.
Three women in the quarterfinals and one just barely outside? U.S. Ski Team coach Matt Whitcomb was thrilled with Ida Sargent’s and Sophie Caldwell’s quarterfinal appearances and pleased to see Kikkan Randall a bit more like herself, he also stayed realistic: “I wouldn’t use any other word that celebrates it more than [good].”
Which Norwegian and by how much? That seems to be the ongoing question in the beginning of the 2014/2015 World Cup season, with Norwegian dominance for both the men and women since the first race in Ruka, Finland. Sunday in Davos, Switzerland, it was Ingvild Flugstad Østberg who came out on top in the 1.3 k freestyle sprint – and it wasn’t even close.
It has been a year and a half since Lenny Valjas last made an appearance in World Cup sprint heats. Let that sink in. The tall Canadian is thrilled that not only is he back and feeling like himself, but he didn’t just squeak in – he qualified tenth and missed a lucky loser spot in the semifinals by just 0.03 seconds.
Liz Stephen wants to ski like skiing really matters: “I was focused on that aggression, and wanting to win more than I’ve ever wanted to win.” That took her to 20th place in the 10 k classic, leading teammates Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen who all finished within a few seconds. Erik Bjornsen led the U.S. men in 48th place in the 15 k classic.