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Johaug and the Future of the Norwegian National Team

Johaug celebrates her second place finish in the 2013 Tour de Ski. (Photo: Fiemme2013)

Therese Johaug could be the Norwegian Ski Federation’s MVP. But can they keep her? “She’s going to make more money than both Petter Northug and Marit Bjørgen,” one expert says. “The girl has everything, so the sponsors will be willing to pay very much.”

Kowalczyk to Stay in the Game, Train Less, Focus on World Champs

Justyna Kowalczyk with her gold from the 10 k classic at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It was her second gold medal and fifth at the Olympics. Kowalczyk recently announced she plans to continue ski racing, but with modifications to her training. (Photo: FIS/NordicFocus)

Justyna Kowalczyk announced at a recent Polish press conference that she’s going to continue racing at the highest level for another season, but with some changes to her training. “Sixteen years of training left marks on my body and I need a rest,” she said. “The training will be aimed for the World Championships in Falun.”

Final Thoughts from World Cup Finals: Notes & Quotes

Kikkan Randall with her third consecutive Sprint World Cup Crystal Globe. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Still craving more of the World Cup? Here are some comments from a few of the U.S. skiers who closed their international-racing seasons at World Cup Finals last Sunday in Falun, Sweden. (And don’t fear, Spring Series is almost here!)

Harvey Third Overall in the World Cup; Sundby Wins Pursuit

6.03.2014, Falun, Sweden (SWE): Alex Harvey (CAN)
- FIS world cup cross-country, 15km men handicap start, Falun (SWE). www.nordicfocus.com. © Felgenhauer/NordicFocus.

Alex Harvey started Sunday’s 15-kilometer freestyle pursuit in Falun, Sweden, with one thing on his mind: a first- or second-place finish would put him on the overall World Cup podium. “I’m super stoked,” said Harvey of his podium. “That was a super-nice way to end the season.”

Johaug Fulfills Childhood Dream, Tops Bjørgen for Overall World Cup Crown

Norway's Therese Johaug celebrates a nearly 30-second victory over teammate Marit Bjørgen in the World Cup Finals 10 k freestyle pursuit on Sunday in Falun, Sweden, which sealed Johaug's first overall World Cup title. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Therese Johaug took a 15-second lead and literally ran with it, beating Norwegian teammate Marit Bjørgen by nearly 30 seconds in Sunday’s 10 k freestyle pursuit to win the World Cup Finals and her first overall World Cup title.

Three Americans Land Top 20, Four in Top 21 at World Cup Finals Skiathlon

The start of the women's 15 k skiathlon on Saturday at World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Liz Stephen led the U.S. in 15th to get closer to her overall World Cup and distance-ranking goals, and Noah Hoffman tried to ski more conservatively than usual to secure points in 18th. Kikkan Randall placed 20th and Sadie Bjornsen was right behind in 21st in Saturday’s skiathlon at World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden.

Harvey Having Season of a Lifetime, Wins World Cup Finals 30 k Skiathlon

Canada's Alex Harvey celebrates in his traditional fashion after winning his third World Cup race of the season, the 30 k skiathlon and second stage of World Cup Finals on Saturday in Falun, Sweden. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Alex Harvey rocked the 30 k skiathlon, executing a tried-and-tested strategy to a ‘T’ and staying out of the way of trouble. The Canadian won the penultimate race of World Cup Finals to put himself in podium contention for the overall World Cup, which would be the icing on his most successful season to date. Devon Kershaw placed 12th, and Ivan Babikov finished 23rd for Canada.

Two Weeks After International Debut, Hanneman Nabs PB’s at World Cup Finals; Diggins Also Close for U.S.

Reese Hanneman in spring-like conditions at World Cup Finals in Falun. (Photo: Reese Hanneman/Instagram)

Reese Hanneman came within 0.45 seconds of becoming the third American man to make the World Cup heats this season, and Jessie Diggins was just over a second shy of qualifying in her first race back since getting sick post-Sochi. The two logged top-40 results again on Saturday, along with Ida Sargent, in the World Cup Finals skiathlons.

Johaug Drops Bjørgen, Builds Lead for World Cup Showdown

FIS world cup cross-country, mass women, Oslo (NOR)

Therese Johaug of Norway took a major stride toward her first overall World Cup title, skiing away form teammate Marit Bjørgen in the World Cup Final 15 k skiathlon to build a 15 second lead for the final pursuit on Sunday. The winner of that event will take the crystal globe.

Swedes Sweep Podium, Harvey Fourth in Falun Sprint

Emil Jönsson lunges at the finish.  Photo: Fischer/Nordic  Focus

The Swedes swept the podium in Friday’s classic sprint race in Falun, Sweden. The final day of World Cup sprinting didn’t disappoint the local fans who had come to see their team win on home snow.

Bjørgen Wins Falun Sprint at World Cup Finals; Randall Earns Third-Straight Sprint Title

Today's Sprint Podium in Falun, Sweden at the World Cup Finals. Ingvild Flugstad Ostberg (NOR, Marit Bjorgen (NOR), Stina Nilsson (SWE) (l-r) (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Norwegians Marit Bjørgen and Ingvild Østberg took the top two spots in the classic sprints in Sweden today, with Americans Kikkan Randall and Sophie Caldwell making the final heat. Randall walked away with the heavy crystal Sprint Globe from the overall World Cup sprint win, while Bjørgen is now only three points behind teammate Therese Johaug for the overall World Cup chamionship.

Johannes Bø Takes Kontiolahti Sprint Victory; Smith Leads Canadians

Tim Burke crests a hill in today's 10 k sprint in Kontiolahti, Finland. (Photo: US Biathlon/NordicFocus)

It was warm, wet and calm in Finland on Thursdsay requiring perfect shooting and strong legs. Norwegian Johannes Thingnes Bø delivered, shooting clean and beating France’s Martin Fourcade, who also cleaned, by 7.1 seconds. Canada’s Nathan Smith led the North Americans in 21st.

Makarainen is Top Woman at Home in Kontiolahti; Dreissigacker Posts Best-Ever World Cup Finish

Hannah Dreissigacker shoots to a best-ever World Cup 28th-place finish. (USBA/Nordic Focus)

Local girl Kaisa Makarainen took the top spot in today’s World Cup sprints in Finland, while two Canadians, Rosanna Crawford and Megan Heinicke, got into the top 15.

Late-Season Calculations Play into World Cup Strategies: Harvey Improves to Top 6 Overall, Hoffman Goes for Points

Start of the men's 50 k freestyle mass start at Holmenkollen on Saturday in Oslo, Norway, with Alex Harvey (3) trailing overall World Cup leader Martin Johnsrud Sundby (yellow bib). (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

For many, the Holmenkollen 50 k freestyle mass start on Saturday was all about larger goals — not just the race itself. But to achieve those goals, one had to do well enough in the challenging six-lap race. Alex Harvey improved from 46th to 14th with that mindset, and Noah Hoffman put it all on the line for bonus points.

Bjørgen Stomps the Competition in Holmenkollen 30 k; Jacobsen Has Nasty Crash

Marit Bjørgen celebrates after winning the 30 k classic in Holmenkollen today. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Marit Bjørgen proved her dominance today by winning the 30 k classic at Holmenkollen by nearly two minutes ahead of second-place teammate Therese Johaug.

Randall, Bjornsen Capture Top-14 Distance Career Bests in Holmenkollen 30 k

Americans Kikkan Randall (c) and Sadie Bjornsen (r) ski with Norway's Marthe Kristoffersen (l), and Germany's Nicole Fessel 
in the Holmenkollen 30 k classic mass start on Sunday in Oslo, Norway. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Teammates on the U.S. Ski Team and Alaska Pacific University, Kikkan Randall and Sadie Bjornsen tallied the best distance results of their respective careers on Sunday at Holmenkollen, the ultimate distance race of the season. Randall worked her way up and attacked late to finish 12th, and Bjornsen skied consistently with a pack of Norwegians to place 14th.

Richardsson Triumphs at Holmenkollen 50 k, Sundby Secures Overall World Cup Title

Daniel Richardsson. Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus

Daniel Richardsson of Sweden carefully waited until the last 800 meters to make his attack, winning the Holmenkollen 50 k. Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway led for much of the race, keeping the pace sky high. “I’ve never seen anything like that, where the best skier in the world decides to go not even 10 k into the race,” said Noah Hoffman.

Cheating in Drammen? ‘Classic Skiing Took a Step Backwards,’ Says Whitcomb

Russia I's Maxim Vylegzhanin leading Norway II's Paal Golberg in Sunday's World Cup 6 x 1.6 k classic team sprint in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

How much skate skiing should be allowed in a classic sprint race? Quite a bit, if Wednesday’s race in Drammen, Norway was any indication. “I think classic skiing took a step backwards,” said USST Coach Matt Whitcomb. “I don’t think the line between what’s legitimate for classic technique was respected yesterday, and I think it opens a can of worms that makes the line very fuzzy now.”

Randall Grabs Redemption in Drammen

U.S. teammate Kikkan Randall (l) and Sophie Caldwell celebrate the first U.S. double podium in Saturday's World Cup skate sprint in Lahti, Finland. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Kikkan Randall’s disappointing elimination, by a hair’s breadth, from Wednesday’s classic sprint final in Drammen, Norway, was more than made up for when she found out that she was crowned the world’s best sprinter for the third consecutive year.

Falla Triumphs in Drammen; Randall Secures Third-Consecutive Crystal Globe

Marit Bjørgen, Maiken Caspersen Falla in Drammen, Norway.  Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus

Closing in on the finish it was Falla and Bjørgen neck and neck, with Nilsson gaining ground. At the line it was Falla’s foot that crossed before Bjørgen’s. Falla said after the race, “Marit [Bjørgen] and I train a lot together and Marit usually wins when we practice the finish. It is nice to beat her.”