Brian McKeever and Graham Nishikawa came back from all odds after McKeever went down in Wednesday’s sprint, then surged ahead for gold — his first with Nishikawa alone, second of the Sochi Paralympics, and ninth total. “That was stressful,” McKeever told Cross Country Canada. “Once the cuss words were out, the only thing you can do is get back up and race.”
Late-Season Calculations Play into World Cup Strategies: Harvey Improves to Top 6 Overall, Hoffman Goes for Points
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.
Canada’s Mark Arendz battled through brutal race conditions on Tuesday to capture bronze in the men’s 12.5-kilometre standing at the Sochi Paralympics, just days after taking silver in his first competition of the Games. In doing so, Arendz, 24, became the first Canadian to win two Paralympic biathlon medals.
The International Biathlon Union has for the first time confirmed that two athletes under investigation for doping since January are indeed Irina Starykh and Ekaterina Iourieva of Russia. The IBU announced that both women’s “B” samples had tested positive for EPO, and disciplinary hearings will be held in the next few weeks.
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.
Oksana Masters won silver in the women’s 12 kilometer cross country race in the second day of competition at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi. The medal ends a 20 year medal drought for U.S. women’s paralympic cross country skiing. Masters reacted her medal saying, “I really have to thank my training from rowing because it prepared me well for skiing; I am so happy right now.”
Bjorn Ferry may have mis-timed his Olympic peak, but that meant he has been able to enjoy an incredible weekend of World Cup racing in Pokljuka, Slovenia. Ferry bested Martin Fourcade of France with an elegant and well-timed downhill pass as the pair neared the stadium, followed by a furious sprint. “I can beat Ferry 99 times out of a hundred,” Fourcade said – but today he was wrong.
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.
It would be easy to relax now that the Olympics are over – but the U.S. men’s biathlon team is doing anything but. Lowell Bailey placed 10th and Tim Burke 13th in today’s pursuit, while Leif Nordgren scored his first World Cup points of the season. “They still give the same amount of World Cup points for a win, and the prize money is still the same,” Burke laughed.
When Zina Kocher passed teammate Rosanna Crawford late in the game in today’s World Cup pursuit, it spurred both Canadians to rev up their engines and go for season-best results. Meanwhile, Susan Dunklee of the U.S. put Thursday’s rifle disaster behind her and rode the fourth-fastest ski time of the day to 20th place, and Sara Studebaker scored World Cup points again.