After concluding its national championships this weekend, Sweden has picked its team for World Championships. The country is hosting this year, with the event set to take place in Falun in mid-February.
The team features past World Champions Charlotte Kalla, Ida Ingemarsdotter, Johan Olsson, and Marcus Hellner, as well as World Cup Sprint Cup champions Emil Jönsson and Teodor Peterson. There are also newcomers, like Jennie Öberg, who won her first World Cup competition in January, and Stina Nilsson, who has broken onto the scene in the past two seasons.
Here’s the team named, and then a summary of the national championships results and what they might mean for Worlds.
Charlotte Kalla, Piteå Elit
Emma Wikén, Åsarna IK
Anna Haag, IFK Mora SK
Ida Ingemarsdotter, Åsarna IK
Sofia Bleckur, IFK Mora SK
Stina Nilsson, IFK Mora SK
Hanna Falk, Ulricehamns IF
Magdalena Pajala, Piteå Elit
Jennie Öberg, Piteå Elit
Maria Rydqvist, Älvdalens IF
Calle Halfvarsson, Falun-Borlänge SK
Johan Olsson, Åsarna IK
Lars Nelson, Åsarna IK
Daniel Richardsson, Hudiksvalls IF
Marcus Hellner, Gellivare Skidallians
Martin Johansson, IFK Mora SK
Emil Jönsson, IFK Mora SK
Teodor Peterson, IFK Umeå
Johan Edin, IFK Mora SK
Anders Södergren, Hudiksvalls IF
Carl Quicklund, Östersunds SK
Swedish National Championships Rundown
Skiathlons, January 28
Charlotte Kalla owned the women’s 15 k skiathlon, racing to a 59-second win over Stina Nilsson. Emma Wiken placed third and Anna Haag fourth. Colorado University alumna Maria Gräfnings placed eighth, 1:48 off the podium.
In the men’s 30 k skiathlon, Marcus Hellner gave a hint that he’s back on form, beating Lars Nelson and Johan Olsson in a sprint finish. Calle Halfvarsson, who has been the top Swede in World Cup racing all season, placed ninth – two and a half minutes back. Both he and Anders Södergren had crashes which took them out of contention, while Johan Olsson had binding issues and had to get a new ski partway through the race.
Although he would have preferred to beat these rivals in a sprint finish to prove that his shape is really back, Hellner said that the victory was a good sign.
“I tried to grill the others on the long hill, but I was not so strong that I could ski away,” he said, according to Langd.se. “The rest of the trails ere a little too easy to be able to do something. But the race gave me good news. Now I think I will become more alert and energetic moving forward to the World Championships.”
Relays, January 29 – were not used in World Championships decisions.
10/15 k freestyle, January 31
Kalla repeated, and even bested, her previous win by demolishing the woen’s field in the 10 k skate. She beat runner-up Haag by a minute and 19 seconds; Wiken was seven more seconds behind. Gräfnings was sixth but still over a minute off the podium.
Kalla said that the race was “very easy”, according to Dagbladet, and that she felt great all week. She feels well-prepared for World Championships. She’s off to Seiser Alm to put in an altitude training block.
“I feel and know that the largest job is done,” she said. “The biggest part of the training is made, but it comes to keeping a continued focus on the workouts that still have to be done. There will not be any huge changes in technical terms, but still a bit small parts that can sit even better when the real shape come around… But above all it has been a desire to stand on the starting line at the World Championships once it arrives, and we try to enjoy the journey to get there as well.”
In the 15 k, Halfvarsson bounced back to his previous form while Hellner faltered – showing that if anything, he’s simply inconsistent this season. Halfvarsson posted a 37.9-second victory over Daniel Richardsson, with Anders Soedergren third.
Classic sprints, 1 February
In the women’s sprint Hanna Falk won qualifying and then marched straight through to the final, which she also won. Magdalena Pajala placed second and Maria Nordström third. Sprint favorites Nilsson, Kalla, and Ida Ingemarsdotter did not compete. Linda Danvind-Malm of the University of Vermont placed tenth.
Finally, in the culminating event of the championships, Emil Jönsson proved that he’s not going anywhere when he captured the men’s sprint title. Teodor Peterson was the runner-up and Jesper Modin placed third. Neither Jönsson nor Peterson have been totally on form this season, but they say that things are coming around.
“It was fantastic, how I am at the final stretch and still feel pretty fresh,” Jönsson told Expressen. “It was also important to get to the final, I’ve barely been in the finals this year.”
Johan Edin missed the final of the sprint, but was still selected for the team ahead of several other racers who had better results at the National Championships. He explained to Expressen that his skis iced at some point during the heats, and that he was sure his shot at Falun was gone.
“It has been an emotional roller coaster,” he said. “The feeling when you think everything is going wrong. I had packed bag and was about to go home. They were lucky that Richard had time to catch me before I did it.”
Chelsea Little is FasterSkier's Editor-At-Large. A former racer at Ford Sayre, Dartmouth College and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, she is a PhD candidate in aquatic ecology in the @Altermatt_lab at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. You can follow her on twitter @ChelskiLittle.