Were the Olympics just a dream? After a whirlwind couple of weeks on the ground in Sochi, Russia, it certainly feels so for us. However, just because the Olympics are over doesn’t mean the season has ended, and as this past weekend proved, we may have some of the most exciting skiing of the season ahead of us.
World Cup action kicked off with Saturday’s freestyle sprint in Lahti, Finland, where the women of the U.S. Ski team made history. For the first time two American women sat upon the podium, with Kikkan Randall in first and Sophie Caldwell in third.
For Randall, the win was redemption for a disappointing two weeks in Sochi where she finished 18th in the freestyle sprint, an event she was favored to win.
For Caldwell, it was her first World Cup podium. The podium adds to what has been a momentous season for the 23-year-old, who placed sixth in the Olympic sprint. In doing so she achieved the top result for an American woman at an Olympic Games.
Completing the podium was Slovenian Katja Visnar, who finished second, placing her in the middle of an American sandwich.
On the men’s side, Canadian Alex Harvey pushed through his post-Olympic 50 k exhaustion to place seventh. American’s Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell also placed in the top 30 in 20th and 28th. Hamilton, who suffering from illness, and Newell, who lost both a pole and a ski in his heat, were unable to advance from the quarterfinals.
The race was eventually won by Norwegian Paal Golberg. He was followed by Russian Alexey Petukhov and Norwegian teammate Eirik Brandsdal.
Sunday’s World Cup races were dominated by Norwegians fighting to become the overall World Cup Champions. For the women, Marit Bjørgen skied a smart and controlled race to finish first in the 10 k freestyle by a whopping 26.9 seconds. Behind her was Charlotte Kalla in second and a frustrated Therese Johaug in third. While Johaug still holds the overall World Cup lead, Bjørgen is closing in with every race.
Randall was the top North American in 21st followed by teammate Liz Stephen in 32nd.
In the 15 k individual freestyle, overall World Cup leader Martin Sundby of Norway extended his lead by outpacing second place finisher Daniel Richardsson of Sweden by over ten seconds. On the podium for the second day in a row, Petukhov placed third.
Harvey took 8th place, proving that he’s still on form and hungry for results in the final weeks of the World Cup season. The Canadian said it was the result he was most proud of in the season so far.
This weekend also marked the start of the IBU Youth World Championships in Presque Isle, Maine where American Sean Doherty claimed gold in both the 7.5 k sprint and 10 k sprint. This marks the third Youth World gold medal for the 18-year-old, who was fresh off his first Olympic start in the 4 X 7.5 k in Sochi.
American Maddie Phaneuf placed fourth in the women’s 5 k sprint and finished 24th in the 7.5 k pursuit. Canada’s Danielle Vrielink was the top North American in the pursuit with a 15th place finish.
The Vasaloppet also took place this weekend in Sweden. John Kristian Dahl waited to the last minute to make his move, chasing down fellow Norwegian Laugaland to win his first Vasaloppet. Laila Kveli of Norway won the women’s race in an impressive of display of double poling strength to become the first women to win the race without kick wax.
FIS Cross Country World Cup, Lahti, Finland
IBU Youth World Championships, Presque Isle, Maine
Saturday’s 5 k and 7.5 k sprint report
Sunday’s 7.5 k and 10 k pursuit report
Vasaloppet, Mora, Sweden Report
- 2013 IBU Youth and Junior World Championships
- Alex Harvey
- Alexey Petukhov
- Andy Newell
- Charlotte Kalla
- Daniel Richardsson
- Danielle Vrielink
- Eirik Brandsdal
- John Krisitian Dahl
- Katja Visnar
- Kikkan Randall
- Lahti World Cup
- Laila kveli
- Liz Stephen
- Maddie Grace Phaneuf
- Marit Bjorgen
- Paal Golberg
- Sean Doherty
- Simi Hamilton
- Sophie Caldwell
- Theres Johaug