From the cross-country World Cup in Davos, Switzerland, to U.S. Nordic Combined’s best team-sprint result in Ramsau, Austria, to five straight days of biathlon races in Annecy, France: here’s everything you didn’t get to read about over the weekend in simple thumbs-up-thumbs-down fashion. And if you missed the recaps, check out our digest.
“Skiing super fast [feels] awesome. This is definitely the strongest I’ve skied in a little while and definitely very appreciative of it. It’s a great feeling to be able to move up through the ranks like that and just builds to your confidence.” – Bryan Fletcher (U.S. Nordic Combined), on placing fourth with Todd Lodwick in Saturday’s World Cup 2 x 7.5 k team sprint in Ramsau, Austria
“The energy was good, and our skis were so fast. We were working hard on pushing over the top of the hills because if you just add one more skate, you’re flying down the hill.” – Jessie Diggins, 12th in Sunday’s World Cup skate sprint in Davos, Switzerland
“I tried to go out really hard right from the start and just hold on. It worked out well for me and I ended up feeling better today than in any of my previous races this season. I ended with the 3rd fastest ski time, so I am very happy with the direction my skiing is headed.” – Tim Burke (US Biathlon), 16th in Sunday’s IBU World Cup 12.5 k pursuit in Annecy, France
Qualifying for the 2014 Sochi Olympics:
In an email, Megan Heinicke explained that, in placing fourth with Canada’s relay at the IBU World Cup last Thursday, she completed her Olympic qualification (with teammates Megan Imrie, Rosanna Crawford and Zina Kocher):
“I am incredibly relieved to have that finalized and just so happy to have Sochi in my plans. This girls on this relay team will be our Olympic team and I think this result gives us a lot of confidence and motivation, which is awesome!” – Heinicke (Biathlon Canada)
“I knew it was likely to be painful so I was mentally prepared for a hard fight and as motivated as ever to give it my all. The result altogether was amazing…I couldn’t stop smiling. We saw that we had this kind of potential in our relay last weekend and we all knew that a relay without penalty loops would be enough to fight for a top 6 finish. I am so proud of all of us! I think the coolest thing for our relay is that this wasn’t a miracle race – it was just 4 good to normal races which means that this is a result we can realistically repeat and even improve on.” – Heinicke
“I could have played my cards a little bit different to give us another chance to be up there on the podium, but nevertheless fourth place is awesome and we had the fastest time out there.” – Todd Lodwick (U.S. Nordic Combined), on Saturday’s team sprint
“Nordic combined was actually the one who invented the team sprint. It actually began in 1993, and then it kind of went away from the program in the ’90s until it came back in 2011. I think they brought it back as a World Cup event after cross-country took it on and did it as an event and showed it’s a good spectator event.” – U.S. Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett
“It’s a strength, and [it was] a medal event in the World Championships last year. It was the first time it was a medal event, but it won’t be a medal event in the Olympics. We tend to rally around each other when it comes to team events and certainly Todd and Bryan were clearly in a good place and they did a good job.” – Jarrett
Women’s 15 k races:
The women’s 15 k individual race on Saturday in Davos, Switzerland, was only the second one on the World Cup in the last 10 years, with the other in Davos two years ago. What gives? Bring on the distance!
Note: Bjørgen won that race, too, but Norway swept the 2011 edition’s top four. On Saturday, they took three of the top four, with Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla placing third.
“Davos is really nice and the cheering was great. There were lots of fans out there with big bells which is fun.” – Ida Sargent (US Ski Team), 41st in Sunday’s Davos World Cup sprint
“[Sunday] was the second best qualifying result I have ever had in a WC sprint, classic or skate, in terms of both FIS points and total time back from the leaders but it was just super tight today. There are just a lot of fast women out there.” – Sargent
Note: The top 30 women were separated by 3.6 seconds in Sunday’s 1.5 k freestyle sprint qualifier. The men’s top 30 on the same course was separated by nearly six seconds.
Teammates tearing it up:
“It was awesome to watch the heats in the sun and see all of those girls ski so well. Kikkan is obviously so strong and Jess and Soph skied awesome quarterfinals. It was fun to see.” – Sargent, on Sunday’s World Cup skate sprint
“I was really hoping we’d actually see a couple of Americans in the final, and it was close. So it was really cool to see those girls just coming on and coming on, and it’s really fun to have a team component. I think everyone should be pretty psyched.” – Kikkan Randall (US Ski Team), second in sprint
Last Thursday, the U.S. women tied a team-best eighth in the IBU World Cup relay:
“Getting 8th again shows that our result last week wasn’t a fluke – 8th can be our new norm, and in the next relay we can do even better! I think that we had a really really good year of training this year, and the fact that we mostly had poor results in the first few races doesn’t mean anything. We’re just starting to hit our stride, and I think that we will all continue on an upward trajectory into the second trimester of the season.” – Hannah Dreissigacker (US Biathlon)
“I still feel like I am in my youth in the way I’m skiing and competing. I have so much fun doing it. It’s a blast. I love the sport and [Saturday’s team sprint] was just a culmination of really, really good teamwork. ” – Lodwick, 37
“The wax techs did an awesome job … providing us with really, really fast skis. They did a heck of a job and allowed us to ski our own race.” – Lodwick
“The range conditions were excellent. There was almost no wind. It was totally calm with stable light. I would say it was perfect.” – Heinicke, 50th in Saturday’s 7.5 k sprint
“The course here is really fun and it suits me well. Shooting has also been quite easy here.” – Annelies Cook (US Biathlon), after anchoring U.S. women’s relay to team-best eighth
Missing a relay:
With just three guys on the IBU World Cup, the Canadians had to sit out the men’s relay on Friday in Annecy, France:
“Unfortunately we didn’t start enough WC’s last year and subsequently didn’t rank high enough in Nation Cup points to have 4 start spots this WC season. There are selection trials next week in Canmore, Dec 20-21 and they will be used to selected the final Men’s Olympic spot and the next IBU Cup tour which will see those athletes compete in Oberhof and then continue onto the IBU Cup. Anyone who is not qualified is at home getting ready for those races.” – Scott Perras (Biathlon Canada)
“Having not raced the relay is kind of bitter sweet. Sure it’s great to get a whole week to rest up (mentally) but I think things would have gone better had I raced [Friday]… I guess it is also a plus to have rested a week physically, but maybe not so great to maintain that race shape and speed.” – JP Le Guellec (Biathlon Canada), 49th in Saturday’s IBU World Cup 10 k sprint
Davos sprint course
“I don’t really like this course just because I’m not a huge fan of two lap courses. I’ve never figured out how to pace them and I don’t think I have ever qualified in a two lap skate sprint.” – Sargent
“Flat courses with bumps like here or Antholz [Italy] give me grief with my back. I think it’s all the one skate followed by tucking and opening again for more one skate that takes its toll. So I could feel my back being pretty tight in standing, which definitely is an issue.” – Le Guellec, on Saturday’s sprint
“… Little things like hitting a patch of ice on the final corner and almost going down and then skiing a horrible transition into the hill on one the laps really adds up.” — Sargent
“I’ve taken a very hard look at my suits and measured myself neck to ankles in 5 cm increments as well as spent a good deal of time sewing and trying to understand how it all comes together. As far as the bib fiasco part II well? Sh*t happens;)” – Billy Demong (U.S. Nordic Combined), ninth in Sunday’s individual competition, a week after being disqualified for forgetting his bib in Lillehammer, Norway
Alex Kochon (email@example.com) 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.