Stockholm, SWE-Canada’s Beckie Scott, who was in Canada last week to attend the Keskinada Loppet in Gatineau, Que., rejoined her teammates for a rare mid-week World Cup cross-country ski competition in Stockholm, Sweden on Wednesday. The Olympic gold medallist finished 10th in the 1.1-kilometre sprint. Norwegians Jens Arne Svartedal and sprint world champion Marit Bjoergen won the classic technique sprints Wednesday night around the Royal Palace.
Scott was one of 16 athletes in the field of 51 who moved into the sprint finals after qualifying 10th with a time of two minutes 41.21 seconds, nearly six seconds off the leading pace. The finals consist of four heats of four athletes, with the top-two athletes in each heat moving onto the next round.
The Vermilion, Alta. native was not able to move further up the rankings, as her podium run was ended after finishing third in her quarter-final heat.
The Norwegian men and women dominated the event in Sweden. On the women’s side, Norwegian athletes finished first and third with Marit Bjoergen winning the gold medal and her teammate, Ella Gjoemle, stepping onto the final step of the podium. Anna Dahlberg, of Sweden, was sandwiched between them on the podium after finishing second in front of her hometown crowd.
On their way to sweeping the medals, the Norwegian men’s team had six athletes in the top-eight. Jens Arne Svartedal grabbed the gold, while teammates Jon Kristian Dahl finished second and Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset rounded out the top-three.
Sara Renner, of Canmore, Alta., was the only other Canadian woman competing in the sprints. The 27-year-old, who has posted a number of strong results since December, struggled to a 28th-place finish after posting a qualifying time of 2:46.59. USA's Wendy Wagner was 42nd.
Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA), who was completing classes at the University of Utah a year ago, collected his first World Cup points in two seasons, finishing 21st for the top U.S. result. Andrew Newell was 43rd.
Koos described his race to FasterSkier.com this way:
“Imagine yourself in the starting gate of your first World Cup in three years.Â Before you is thirteen hundred meters of rock solid snow.Â To the left, the Royal Palace of Sweden.Â To the left big steamers and yachts coming and going through the downtown Stockholm waterways.Â Now imagine climbiing a running steep city street and just killing it and having Trond Nystad yell, “youre leading”Â Sliding around a high speed hairpin corner turned to aÂ glare sheet of ice from the women and 58 men starting before, you know maybe you lost a precious two secodns.Â Coming up the final uphill climb you can feel that your goal (top 16)Â is stillÂ within grasp.Â The announcer and the crowdÂ knows it too.Â You slide your rightÂ foot so far forward theres poles and skis and you sprawled out.Â The announcer and the crowd are into it… ” and torin koos of the united states of america has qualified for the round of sixteen.Â what a great race…” then, ten seconds later, “no it looks as if the american just missed out.”Â I missed the rounds by just under two tenths of a second, finishing in 21st place.Â Im still smiling; and looking very much forward to the streets of Trondheim.”
Canada’s two World Cup rookies, Chris Jeffries, of Chelsea, Que., and George Grey, of Rossland, B.C., were the only two athletes wearing the maple leaf in the men’s competition, which had 63 of the world’s best. The 26-year-old Jeffries finished 56th with a time of 2:26.44, while Grey, 24, was right behind his teammate in 57th (2:26.99).
Top-5 Women and North American Results:
1.Marit Bjoergen, Norway; 2. Anna Dahlberg, Sweden; 3. Ella Gjoemle, Norway; 4. Virpi Kuitunen; 5. Manuela Henkel; 10. Beckie Scott, Canada; 28. Sara Renner, Canada; 42. Wendy Wagner, USA.
Top-5 Men and North American Results:
1.Jens Arne Svartedal, Norway; 2. Jon Kristian, Norway; 3. Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset, Norway; 4. Joergen Brink, Sweden; 5. Haavard Bjerkeli, Norway; 21. Torin Koos, USA; 43. Andrew Newell, USA; 56. Chris Jeffries, Canada; 57. George Grey, Canada.
The World Cup tour races over the weekend in Umea, on Sweden's northeastern coastline. Then it's into Norway for two sprints — Tuesday in Trondheim (make-up from Linz, Austria) and Thursday in Drammen — followed by the Holmenkollen Skifestial Feb. 28 in Oslo for the men's 50K freestyle and women's 30K free.
Sources: Cross Country Canada, US Ski Team, Torin Koos