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Torin Koos in 3rd. Andy Newell in 4th.
We'll get back to our guys in the sprint... here are a few other shots from the weekend:
Kris Freeman in the distance race on Saturday. Kris arrived in Europe on Thursday. The weather here is nasty with wind blown snow and cold temperatures. Still the crowd was out in force.
Great crowds around the course in the distance race.
Axel heading toward the finish in the distance race. Axel won the distance race in his typical style - looking relaxed, skiing powerfully, starting controled and coming on strong toward the end. Axel has done a lot of dryland training this winter as much of Europe has had poor conditions. Kris too spent some time rollerskiing over christmas time. Basically if you want to do it, you just have to get out and actually do it.
Justina (here in the sprint race) won the distance race for women.
Angerer in the distance race.
Virpi leading the women out of the start in the sprint race. This was as close as they were going to get to her.
Virpi already well ahead with a big climb to go.
Our guys qualified 2nd, 12th and 14th in the prelim. We knew we were capable of a good day. But sprint racing is sprint racing and crazy things are bound to happen. So often we have been on the wrong side of crazy and got caught up in crashes. Staying out of trouble however is generally not luck. It is putting yourself in the safest place, being strong enough to hold position and relaxed enough at speed to be able to pay attention. Speed, strength and fitness play a roll in being lucky. That isn't too say you won't crash now and then, but it is the case that those who are most fit and most fast are often the same ones making it to the final.
Chris Cook skied a strong prelim and a good heat. He almost made it through as a lucky loser to the next heat but alas. He is in very good shape and doesn't have the same number of sprint starts and therefor experience as Torin and Andy. Sprint racing takes some practice. Still his 14th place is an excellent World Cup finish.
Kikkan didn't have a great day. She felt a bit flat in the prelim and wasn't moving as quickly as she normally can. There will be more down days to come. That is reality. But it is largely how you treat your down days that enable your up days. If you can learn all there is to learn and then move quickly on you can turn a down day into a few really great days down the road.
Torin koos (in white) doublepoling toward the finish in one of his heats. The crowds in the sprint race were great - cheering for everyone and especially loud for their home crowd. The Smigun sisters grew up right across the road from the ski stadium... no wonder.
Svartedal gets a toe on the line with Rotchev just behind him and Andy Newell and Torin just behind him. Getting two American's into the final was a major coup. Progress!
Torin gets a toe out in front of Andy with Rotchev making sure no one sneaks past him. Great racing!
We also had really good skis... thanks to these guys, our wax staff:
Per Erik Bjornstad...
..and Peter Johannson
It takes a team to get results like these:
Torin and Andy shaking hands on the podium.
Yesterday was a very special day for us. And then we were in the van and on our way to Tallinn. Today we got to the airport at 5:15am and arrived in Zurich at 10am and are now back in Davos ready to continue training. There is no end. No final podium... there is always the next day and therefor it is important to both savor those special days but also to enjoy the entire process, the training, the new places you go, the old places, even the long bus rides, because this is what makes up 99% of the experience and only a select few get to spend that final 1% of time on the podium. The rest of us spend that 1% of the time taking pictures or clapping.
Train well and enjoy the experience...