Nations Cup Ranking: 17th (394 pts)
Men: 19th (25 pts)
Women: 11th (369 pts)
2010/2011 A Team (Best estimate)
What you may have missed last season
Much of Ukraine’s success on the World Cup this season came from one woman – Valentina Shevchenko. While the 35 year old police officer never stood on the podium, and struggled every time she took on a sprint race, she did have strong results, most notably finishing fourth in the 10 k freestyle in Canmore, Alberta. She was consistent, finishing in the top 20 in the Tour de Ski, and 24th in the race for the Crystal Globe. And, notably, she finished ninth in the Olympic 10k with an injury sustained during training a few days before – not quite outshining Slovenian Petra Majdic, but making headlines in her home country.
What You Should Know For This Season
Shevchenko has been on a pretty steady decline the last couple of years. Despite her point total, age is clearly catching up with her, and with the number of young women from other nations who are pushing hard, expect Shevchenko to struggle this season.
Also, make sure you don’t mistake the cross country skiing Valentina Shevchenko with this one. Completely different.
But you should check out Ukraine as a ski destination – Bukovel is kind of a big deal, although not for early season skiing. And the exchange rate is right too – one U.S. dollar is currently worth 8 Ukrainian Hyrvna.
Who You Should Watch
Unfortunately, the cupboard is pretty bare for Ukraine. They had no notable results at either World Junior Championships or Under-23 World Championships. Their men’s World Cup team is seriously lacking in talent, and there seems to be little to cheer about. The one possible bright spot is 23 year-old Maryna Antsybor. She raced well enough at the Olympics to race as the anchor of the women’s 4×5 k relay, and although she failed to race a World Cup in 2009/2010, this year will be an important one for her to step up.