Gelsenkirchen and the Veltins Arena pulled off arena biathlon as only the Germans can on Saturday: a field including 11 Olympic medalists from around the world flew around the trails and shot their way through fierce competition. But the day also featured fireworks, gluhwein, and the World Championships Snowball Fight.
When Holly Brooks traveled to Livigno, Italy, the former U.S. Ski Team member was focused on the La Sgambeda 42 k freestyle that marked the first FIS Marathon Cup race of the season. As fate would have it, however, Brooks exited the weekend as a member of a professional Norwegian team, Team Santander, alongside famed skier Anders Aukland, wax tech Magnar Dale, and manager Nils Marius Otterstad.
The USST was ready to make some big moves Sunday when five of its athletes had strong qualification in the 1.4 k freestyle sprint in Davos, Switzerland. However, with four of five athletes crashing, the American squad was left wanting more. Kikkan Randall led the day in 9th, making her first semifinal appearance of the year. “It was a weird start to the season so I’m glad to be feeling like I am coming back,” she said of the day.
There was no shortage of action in the men’s 1.3-kilometer freestyle sprint on Sunday as 24-year-old Federico Pellegrino fought his way to his first-ever World Cup win and Italy’s first victory of the season. “I hope it’s a good omen,” he said after the race. “I hope it is the first in a long series of triumphs.”
In the Spotlight, Crawford Pulls Off Seventh in Pokljuka Pursuit; Domracheva Comes Out Strong (Updated)
Darya Domracheva was the big winner on Saturday in the IBU World Cup 10 k pursuit, but there were some personal victories Canadians Rosanna Crawford and Megan Heinicke achieved throughout the race as well. For one, Crawford clawed her way back into seventh after two early misses, and Heinicke went from 41st to 14th as one of two women to clean.