Germany’s Victoria Carl was happy with silver on Monday. Imagine how she felt Wednesday, on the second day of competition at the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic, when she won the 5-kilometer freestyle individual start by 4.3 seconds.
The 17-year-old had a tough time describing it.
“I fulfilled my dreams and hopes with the silver medal in the sprint,” Carl said in a Liberec 2013 press release. She finished second in the preceding classic sprint final by 1.9 seconds to Swedish World Cup skier Stina Nilsson.
“I cannot describe how happy I am about the gold medal today,” Carl continued. “I still cannot understand and I can’t fully comprehend what I have achieved. It is a great day for me.”
After starting 72nd out of 76, Carl posted the fastest split at the halfway point on the two-lap course. Sweden’s Julia Svan, the daughter of four-time Olympic gold medallist cross-country skier Gunde Svan, was in the hunt through that point, starting 60th and holding the lead at 2.5 k. Svan ended up ninth, 22.3 seconds behind Carl, who won in 12:35.3.
“I am happy with my position,” Svan said. “It is my first championship, and I also had some health problems last year and hardly competed at all. Dad was considering coming to Liberec, but I persuaded him to stay home.”
Austria’s Teresa Stadlober captured second (+4.3) and Russia’s Anastasia Sedova was third (+11.4).
“I did not expect to be on the podium today but I hoped for a good result,” said Stadlober, who turns 20 next week. She was fourth at the 2.5 k checkpoint.
“I got the split times from the coaches almost each 200 meters,” Stadlober added. “It’s a great achievement for me. For the next competition I hope to be again in top three.”
After winning gold in the 2012 Youth Olympic Games 5 k classic last year, Sedova, the sister of World Cup skier Peter Sedov, was pleased with third on Wednesday on what she considered a tough course. Temperatures were cold around -8.5 degrees Celsius (16 degrees Fahrenheit).
“I started slower and was around 13th place after the first intermediate. In the second 2.5 km lap I speeded up and could go for a bronze medal,” Sedova said in the press release. “It feels great to be on the podium.”
Russia had four in the top eight, with Natalia Nepryaeva in fifth trailing Slovenia’s Lea Einfalt, who was fourth. Jonna Sundling (SWE) was sixth, Nadezhda Shuniaeva (RUS) was seventh and Viktoriya Kalinina (RUS) took eighth. After Svan in ninth, Germany’s Julia Belger was 10th.
Canadian Cendrine Brown of the Pierre-Harvey National Training Centre (CNEPH) in Quebec was 16.5 seconds out of the top 10 in 15th (+40.3).
Junior World racing continues Friday with 10 and 20 k skiathlons.
Russia dominated the junior men’s 10 k freestyle with 19-year-old Dmitry Rostovtsev beating teammate Artem Maltsev by 16.8 seconds. Rostovtsev competed the three-lap course in 23:32.5, 17.5 seconds ahead of Germany’s Martin Weisheit in third.
Kazakhstan’s Sergey Malyshev raced to an early lead at 3.3 k, but fell to the fourth-fastest time after the second lap. He ended up sixth behind Simen Hegstad Kruger (NOR) in fourth and Roman Tarasov (RUS) in fifth.
At 6.6 k, Rostovtsev, who started last, took over – already more than 13 seconds faster than his teammate, Maltsev, who had led up to that point.
“I hoped to win today,” Rostovtsev said in the press release. At last year’s Junior Worlds in Erzurum, Turkey, his best individual result was fourth in the 20 k skiathlon.
“I felt strong and could ski technically well. I got all the information about split times from my coaches and it helped me a lot to find a good rhythm. I followed my coaches advice to start easy and speed up the tempo in the second and third laps.”
Maltsev, 19, who had the third-fastest time on the first lap and edged Weisheit by 0.8 seconds for silver, was happy with his performance.
“I gave everything I had in the last 3.3 km,” Maltsev said. “I try to ski fast but I got tired towards the end. I felt very good during the whole competition. Of course I hoped for victory but I am happy with silver.”
A gold medallist in the 7.5 k freestyle at the 2011 European Youth Winter Olympic Festival in Liberec, Weisheit in his second Junior Worlds was generally pleased with how things played out Wednesday.
“I did not feel that good in the first lap but then I could find a good pace and ski for bronze medal,” the 19-year-old said. “I think I have laid down a good base for my future career. For the next competition, which will be skiathlon, I hope to be top 3 or 6. I am little bit weaker in the classic but if I stay with the group then everything is possible.”
He was seventh in the event last year in Erzurum.
Four Russians occupied the top seven on Wednesday, with Alexey Chervotkin in seventh. He was followed by two Norwegians in eighth and ninth, Magne Hagaa and Haavard Solaas Taugboel, respectively. Roman Schaad led Switzerland in 10th.
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.