World Champs have come and gone and I’m still having trouble finding the best words to describle the experience. It was downright amazing and an event on a level above anything that I’ve ever seen. Norway loves Nordic skiing. The atmosphere at Holmenkollen was a testament to that devotion. There were usually more spectators lining the trails and cheering on training days than one sees at your average race in the United States making it hard to not hammer around all the time. The enthusiasm and energy was contagious! Despite having horrible races, I left Oslo feeling more fired up and motivated than ever before! Here are a few pictures from Holmenkollen and World Champs 2011!
Big thanks to my parents who came to Oslo (and took a lot of these pictures). Here is a view of the stadium including the final steep climb of all of the courses. The cheering in the stadium was deafening and turning onto the final homestretch took the noise to a level that has probably never before been associated with Nordic skiing.
Athletes warming up for the sprint
A few of the people who came out to cheer
And it wasn’t just Norwegians
A few of the days it was incredibly foggy and visibility was basically nonexistent but that didn’t deter any of the fans.
Jean Koons at the front of the pack with a New Zealand and an American flag.
The distance courses made big loops away from the packed stadium giving ample room for camping and partying.
There were flags everywhere but nobody cared where you were from and everyone cheered for everyone. Lots of people had downloaded start lists and knew all the athletes’ names so HEIA IDA HEIA IDA followed me around the course.
Here I am racing in the skate sprint. It was a really frustrating day for me personally as it didn’t go as well as it could have or should have but I was psyched to be there and looking forward to doing it again two years from now!
Matt Whitcomb and I test skis before the classic race. Our coaches worked incredibly hard throughout the championships with ten consecutive days of racing. Huge thanks for all their efforts! We had a great team with lots of positive energy!
Team USA in our hotel. Where’s Waldo?
The 10km classic was held on an extremely hard 10km loop. I’ve seen a lot of very hilly courses this winter but Holmenkollen took it to a new level!
It was also very fun and inspiring to join the crowds as a spectator and watch the other races of the championships. Our Athlete bibs and credentials gave us full access to the Holmenkollen venue. Here Sweden, Norway, and Slovenia battle it out in the final of the women’s team sprint.
The Men’s 30km pursuit
Even the Norwegians had labelled Kikkan as the favorite in the sprint and we were all pretty bummed when that day didn’t turn out for her as well as it should have. But she’s an amazing competitor and teammateand was all smiles despite the huge disappointment and battled back skiing really well here in the team sprint.
By far the best day of cheering and watching occured when the Canadians won the team sprint over the Norwegians. Later that day we joined the crowds, which numbered close to 100,000 in downtown Oslo, to watch the medals ceremony.