The most prestigious end of the year awards go to the overall World Cup Champions – the top man and woman receive a large crystal globe and a boatload of cash.
Petter Northug (NOR) and Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) wrapped up the overall titles some time ago.
Kowalczyk accrued an impressive 2064 total World Cup points in 2010. She scored points in every race she entered, and missed just two events the entire season, the freestyle sprint in Dusseldorf in December, and the 30km in Oslo just last week.
She won six World Cup races and finished on the podium a total of 11 times. In 29 starts, she ended up out of the top-10 in just 5 races.
Marit Bjoergen (NOR) finsihed 2nd, 740 points behind. Bjoergen did not focus on the overall World Cup, skipping the Tour de Ski to focus on the Olympics. The move may have cost her any chance at the overall, but paid off as she won five Olympic medals, and has been nigh on untouchable over the last two and a half months.
Bjoergen actually had more victories than Kowalczyk, winning seven races, and finishing 2nd three times. But the overall World Cup is more about endurance over the course of the season than anything else. Bjoergen started 13 fewer races than Kowalczyk.
Petra Majdic (SLO) finished 3rd despite not starting a race since the Olympic sprint. Majdic was badly injured in a fall warming up for that event, and though she went on to win a bronze medal, her season was over.
The fact that she still ended up on the final podium is an impressive testimony to her success in the first two-thirds of the season. Majdic scored points in the first 19 events of the season, winning once, finishing 2nd in the Tour de Ski, and accumulating five podiums.
On the men’s side, Northug’s stats were a bit less impressive than Kowalczyk’s but he be topped her six win by one. And most impressively, in 19 World Cup starts, he finished outside the top-4 just three times.
Lukas Bauer (CZE), the overall champion two years ago, was back on the podium, finishing exactly 600 points behind Northug. He started his season slowly, not racing many World Cups, but came on strong starting with the Tour de Ski, which he won ahead of Northug. He won two races and finished 2nd once.
Marcus Hellner (SWE) also finished strong, passing Dario Cologna (SUI), the defending champion, with a series of excellent spring performances, to take 3rd overall.
Andy Newell (USA) was 19th, the best finish for an American since 1983. Ivan Babikov led the Canadians in 23rd.
Kowalczyk and Bjoergen also went 1-2 in the Distance Cup. Kristin Stoermer Steira (NOR) joined her teammate on the podium. Steira scored points in all 17 races she started (out of 20 possible), edging Charlotte Kalla by just 17 points.
The top-4 men were identical to the overall standings – Northug, Bauer, Hellner and Cologna, though Hellner was just 16 points behind Bauer.
Kowalczyk won the Sprint Cup as well, by 91 points over Bjoergen. Majdic also held onto her 3rd spot after leading at the time of her injury.
Emil Joensson (SWE) won the men’s Sprint Cup by a large margin over Northug. Nikolay Kriukov (RUS) edged out Andy Newell for the final podium spot.
Norway easily won the Nations Cup – the total of all World Cup points scored by all of a nation’s skiers. The Norwegian men and women were both ranked number one. Russia was 2nd and Sweden 3rd. Russia actually moved into the lead when Norway skipped the Rybinsk World Cups just prior to the Olympics, but at the end, it wasn’t even close.
Canada ended up 12th, and the US 15th.
23 different countries scored at least one World Cup point.
Northug earned 321,500 Swiss Francs – $303,732. NOrthug’s total was buoyed by the 100,000 CHF for 2nd in the Tour de Ski, 41,250 CHF for winning the World Cup Final, and another 29,750 CHF for the overall World Cup victory.
As expected the prixe money list mirrors the overall World Cup standings closely. Bauer was 2nd with 213,124 CHF and then a large drop to Hellner in 3rd with 91,500 CHF.
Kowalczyk bested Northug, taking home 366,250 CHF – $345,976. Bjoergen was 2nd with 207,250 CHF and Majdic 3rd with 197,250 CHF.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.