FasterSkier’s coverage of the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden, is brought to you by the generous support of L.L. Bean, now featuring a complete line of Kikkan Randall training wear.
Norway’s Didrik Tønseth was looking at a podium finish in his very first FIS Nordic World Ski Championships event. Now he’s looking at doing more pushups.
Twenty-three-year-old rookie Tønseth was leading for part of the way in the men’s 30-kilometer skiathlon on Saturday.
“I was thinking that, ‘This is it. I’m going to nail it today,’ ” Tønseth said to Norwegian reporters about the first half of his race.
But then about halfway through, he hit the wall.
“In the middle of the race, I was just thinking that I needed to just finish and go home and work on pushups,” Tønseth said.
But he fought his way back and with just a couple of kilometers to go, he was in the top three. Tønseth kept his position until the final stretch to the finish, and barely missed the podium in the last five or so meters after Canada’s Alex Harvey passed him before the line. He collapsed across the finish, 1.8 seconds back from third in fourth place.
“In a way, I’m happy with the race, but fourth place is nothing,” Tønseth said afterward.
“The race was good but the sprint wasn’t so good,” he told FasterSkier.
But he didn’t spend much time thinking about the ranking. Tønseth raced as hard as he could. He squeezed every ounce of energy out of his body, and he is gearing up for the rest of World Championships.
“It’s the 50 k a week from now that I’m really here for. That was the original plan anyway,” Tønseth said, noting that the skiathlon was a warmup event for him.
And while fourth place is no podium, Tønseth was rewarded with a spot on the Norwegian relay team for the 4 x 7.5 k relay next Friday.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.