A familiar and dominating form will miss this year’s U-23 World Championships.
According to the website Sports.ru, 20-year-old Russian phenom Petr Sedov is suffering from a heart problem, and will sit out next week’s races in Otepaa, Estonia.
The World Ski Championships in Norway in February are up in the air for Sedov, as well, the report says.
Tall and thin at 6’2” and 165 pounds, Sedov had been an imposing presence at the World Junior Championships over the past three years, collecting three individual titles and missing the podium just once in nine starts.
After competing in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, the 2011 season was Sedov’s first full one on the World Cup, and his results to date suggested a star on the rise.
He was fifth in the circuit’s opening race, a 15 k freestyle in Sweden, and never finished outside the top 15 in five individual distance starts.
According to the Sports.ru article, Sedov returned home after his final World Cup race in December and underwent routine medical tests with the rest of the Russian national team.
An EKG apparently turned up some kind of heart problem, which has yet to be diagnosed. The Sports.ru piece says that Sedov is currently visiting experts in Europe, trying to obtain some kind of explanation.
Had Sedov traveled to the U-23 Championships, he would have been a clear favorite in any event he entered there. But the Russian roster for that event, released on Saturday, does not include Sedov, and according to the report in Sports.ru, he will “most likely” miss the remainder of the season.
The piece does not cite a source for its information, but nonetheless, the news spread quickly in the European ski media on Monday morning.
Russian Eurosport commentator Andrey Kondrashov told FasterSkier in an e-mail that Sports.ru is a “quite respectable source,” but no official word from the Russian Ski Association had confirmed the news.
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.