OpinionProduct NewsSensational Sprint Finals In Drammen, Norway

FasterSkierMarch 9, 2005

[Author's note: the views and opinions expressed in this piece are not necessarily those of me, and stand an even less-likely chance of being claimed by fasterskier.com. Any complaints can be directed to the non-existent email adress of your choosing (for those requiring assistance in coming up with an address, please contact noonehere@fakemail.net.) If commentary is not your cup-of-tea, you can draw your own conclusions from the less-detailed, final results by clicking here: http://www.fasterskier.com/racing2086.html ]

The World Cup turned its focus to the Norwegian city of Drammen today, where thousands of ski-crazy spectators packed in along the 1-kilometer man-made course to watch the fastest cross-country skiers in the world push eachother–sometimes literally–to top a tougher pace than ever.

Tor Arne Hetland: Good At Going Faster Than Other People On Skis

The four fastest men in the qualifying round were all Norwegian. Eldar Roenning outskied everyone with an incredible time of 2:16.21. Silver medalist from the World Championship sprint, Tor Arne Hetland had the second-fastest time followed by the young Boerre Naess who won the previous World Cup sprint. Anyone who gave less than 105% of their maximum effort was left behind. For example, Keijo Kurttila of Finland ended up 0.01 seconds too slow to make the quarterfinals. (For full results from the qualification round, see the previous article: http://www.fasterskier.com/racing2084.html )

With the qualification round completed, it was time to get down and dirty with the head-to-head elimination heats. With four skiers in a heat, only the top two would advance to the semifinals, and once there, only the top two in each semifinal would earn a spot in the A-final to fight for the overall win.

The first quarterfinal of the day simply featured Virpi Kuitunen skiing a whopping four seconds faster than she did in the qualifying round. Kuitunen easily advanced to the semifinals along with Norwegian Guro Stroem Solli.

Women's Quarterfinal 1:

1 1 Kuitunen Virpi FIN *15:30:00 2:36.0 0.0 Q
2 8 Solli Guro Stroem NOR *15:30:00 2:36.5 +0.5 Q
3 9 Vaelimaa Kirsi FIN *15:30:00 2:38.2 +2.2
4 16 Skofterud Vibeke W. NOR *15:30:00 2:40.1 +4.1

It was in quarterfinal two that the first of many “incidents” occurred. Slovenian Petra Majdic got tangled up with Madoka Natsumi of Japan and they both went down. This meant an easy ticket to the semis for Mona-Liisa Malvalehto of Finland and Ella Gjoemle of Norway.

Women's Quarterfinal 2:

1 5 Malvalehto Mona-Liisa FIN *15:35:00 2:42.5 0.0 Q
2 12 Gjoemle Ella NOR *15:35:00 2:47.8 +5.3 Q
3 4 Majdic Petra SLO *15:35:00 2:57.5 +15.0
4 13 Natsumi Madoka JPN *15:35:00 3:17.7 +35.2

Then it was time for Canadians Beckie Scott and Sara Renner to face off against the huge home favorite, World Champion, overall World Cup points leader, virtually-undefeated sprint queen: Marit Bjoergen. With Olympic and World Championship medals of their own however, the Canadians charged fearlessly to the front and almost succeeded in keeping Bjoergen out of the semis. Bjoergen came charging back in the final uphill finish to grab a qualifying spot just half a second in front of Renner, who would end up 11th overall.

Women's Quarterfinal 3:

1 10 Scott Beckie CAN *15:40:00 2:36.0 0.0 Q
2 2 Bjoergen Marit NOR *15:40:00 2:36.3 +0.3 Q
3 7 Renner Sara CAN *15:40:00 2:36.8 +0.8
4 15 Peraelae Kirsi FIN *15:40:00 2:40.0 +4.0

Tor Arne Hetland: Good At Going Faster Than Other People On Skis

Classic sprint ace Jens Arne Svartedal (Norway) zoomed to the front of the final quarterfinal heat, with the young Boerre Naess (also of Norway, believe it or not) staying right behind him. This heat turned out to be the tightest of the day, with all four competitors hitting the finish within one second second of eachother. Naess and Svartedal came out the right end of the battle.

Marit Bjoergen

Jens Arne Svartedal: Good At Going Faster Than Other People On Skis

Off the start it was Svartedal ahead of Naess at a tempo that perhaps several people in the world had dreamed possible at some point, but that was still somewhat impressive to most of those who were watching. Just before the final finish straight, Tor Arne Hetland was at the back of the group, when suddenly (as things tend to be in an all-out sprint) Hattestad and Svartedal got enough of their limbs and/or extensions thereof involved in an inharmonious pattern of movement in order to successfully crash out. Hetland cruised in for an easy A-final ticket along with Boerre Naess.

Jens Arne Svartedal: Good At Going Faster Than Other People Except When Not On Skis . Photo from www.newspower.it

Men's Semifinal 2:

1 2 Hetland Tor Arne NOR * 2:11.2 0.0 QA
2 3 Naess Boerre NOR * 2:12.8 +1.6
3 7 Hattestad Ola Vigen NOR * 2:44.2 +33.0 QB
4 11 Svartedal Jens Arne NOR * 3:11.7 +1:00.5

Moving on to the women's B-final, Marit Bjoergen had a more encouraging lap this time around, winning the heat comfortably ahead of Guro Stroem Solli, while Beckie Scott held off Ella Gjoemle to place third in the heat, and seventh overall for the day.

Women's B-Final:

1 2 Bjoergen Marit NOR *4 2:33.4 0.0
2 8 Solli Guro Stroem NOR *4 2:34.0 +0.6
3 10 Scott Beckie CAN *3 2:35.8 +2.4
4 12 Gjoemle Ella NOR *3 2:39.5 +6.1

Tor Arne Hetland: Good At Going Faster Than Other People On Skis

Men's A-Final:

1 2 Hetland Tor Arne NOR *1 2:09.4 0.0 FD
2 1 Roenning Eldar NOR *1 2:09.4 0.0 FD
3 3 Naess Boerre NOR * 2:10.3 +0.9
4 4 Iversen Trond NOR *2 2:16.3 +6.9

And that's all I have to say about that.

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