The 50 k classic mass start which wrapped up 2015 World Championships was punishing for everyone, and U.S. skiers Noah Hoffman and Erik Bjornsen were no exception. Hoffman didn’t feel his best and Bjornsen said he struggled with the slush and his own technique – but was trying to use the race as a learning experience. “I don’t think there’s any reason to sit out events like this,” he said.
When the French won bronze in the Sochi relay, it was the first championships-level relay medal ever in their history. But Norway had struggled then. Today they did not, and the French were still bronze. “Maybe we have some place in the newspaper tomorrow, but a little one,” Jean-Marc Gaillard said. “But that’s not the most important for us. The most important is to have fun with the team.”
Johan Olsson skied to a convincing victory in Wednesday’s 15 k freestyle in Falun, Sweden in front of a home crowd. The 34-year-old who focuses solely on championship race overcame what he called a “mission impossible” after facing a year of illness and time apart from his family. He was followed by Maurice Manificat who won France’s first medal in 10 years. Anders Gløersen of Norway finished third.
Just how anomalous was the podium in the women’s 10 k freestyle at FIS World Championships on Tuesday? We find that FIS points still provide a great overall correlation to the results – and that while the five unseeded early starters had an advantage, the biggest losers in terms of snowstorm effects appeared to be the Germans, not the Norwegians.
When Norwegian Therese Johaug threw down the hammer on Mördarbacken, a.k.a. “murder-hill”, in the last lap of the women’s 15 k skiathlon there was no hope for the rest of the competition. Using the hill to her advantage, Johaug skied to a World Championships gold ahead of teammate Astrid Jacobsen and Charlotte Kalla of Sweden.
American Jessie Diggins finished 17th after posting the fifth-fastest time at the 1.8-kilometer mark, while Liz Stephen — who finished fifth overall in the 2015 Tour de Ski — took 26th. Rosie Brennan came in 32nd and was just a few seconds from cracking the top 30, while Kikkan Randall finished 33rd.
Simi Hamilton made it to the semifinals in Saturday’s World Cup classic sprint in Östersund, Sweden, to end up 11th overall, and Andy Newell took 12th for his best result of the season. Sadie Bjornsen and Sophie Caldwell made it to the quarterfinals as well and ended up 22nd and 20th overall, respectively.