With the Olympics starting Thursday and jam-packed week behind us, it’s almost futile to try and recap it all. But here’s the lowdown of what happened: The Junior/U23 World Champion began in Val di Fiemme, Italy, the final World Cup weekend before the Olympics took place in Toblach, Italy and NorAm racing continued at the Eastern Canadian Championships in Cantly, Quebec.
The top results at the U23/Junior Wolrd Championships came from Jessie Diggins who started the competition off with a bang last Wednesday as she skied her way to second place in the U23 skate sprint after qualifying third. Erik Bjornsen led the U.S. men with an 18th place finish in the sprint and a 17th place finish in the 15 k classic.
Bjornsen would soon be making headlines again, as he traveled to Toblach to compete in the final World Cup before the Olympics. He garnered the top U.S. result in the men’s 15 k classic with an 18th place finish, a career-best. The race was won by Alexander Legkov (RUS), who was followed by comeback-kid Dario Cologna (SUI) in second. Sweden’s Marcus Hellner finished third. Canadian Alex Harvey finished fifth.
In the women’s 10 k classic it was Marit Bjørgen (NOR) who showed her strength before the Olympic Games with a roughly 36 second win over teammate Therese Johaug. Charlotte Kalla (SWE) finished third. The U.S. women demonstrated their improving shape with five in the top 22, led by Liz Stephen in 11th.
The second day of World Cup racing brought the anticipated skate sprint. Once again it was Bjørgen who was able to top the strong women’s field. She was followed by German sprint-superstar Denise Hermann and Ingvild Østberg. American Kikkan Randall finished fifth.
Norwegian Ola Vigen Hattestad won the men’s race and was followed by teammate Eirik Brandsdal and German Josef Wenzl. American Simi Hamilton was the top North American in 14th.
In the Eastern Canadian Championships, Graham Nishikawa (Canadian Senior Development/Para-Nordic Team) and Alyson Marshall (AWCA/NST) both won two of three races to complete a successful championships in Cantly, Quebec.
There was also some sad news that the nordic ski community faced this week. Torin Tucker, a native of Sun Valley, Idaho and a Dartmouth College skier passed away while racing in the Craftsbury Marathon this past Saturday. A memorial service will be held at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center this Thursday, February 6th at 4pm.
Torin, you will be missed.
In other news, Todd Lodwick of the U.S. Nordic Combined Olympic team was chosen to be the flag bearer for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team at the Opening Ceremonies in Sochi, Russia.
U23/Junior World Championships, Val di Fiemme, Italy
Friday’s Junior 10 k and 20 k skiathlons report
Saturday’s U23 15k and 30 k skiathlons report
Sunday’s Junior 5 k and 10 k classic report
Monday’s Junior 4×3.3 k and 4×5 k relays report
FIS World Cup, Toblach, Italy
Eastern Canadian Championships, Cantly, Quebec
Friday’s freestyle sprints press release
Saturday’s 10 k and 15 k freestyle press release
Sunday’s 15 k and 20 k classic mass starts press release