From 18th February -1st March the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships took place in Liberec 2009. As noted by FIS President Gian Franco Kasper, these Championships in the region of Bohemia in the Czech Republic "marked a milestone in the history of FIS Nordic Championships". Altogether, 20 medal events were on schedule in Liberec. Of those, Cross-Country had twelve (six female and six male) events in Vesec, plus - for the first time - the qualification race for the individual start competition for competitors with less than 120 FIS points (for the ladies) or 90 FIS points (for the men).
Also a premiere was the mass start race which included for the first time the chance to change the skis. The ladies had two ossibilities to change their skis in the stadium while for the men the chance was offered 4 times. "I changed my skies twice and I think it's a very good thing. Most girls used this opportunity", said Valentina Shevchenko, the bronze medalist in the 30 km race, who was satisfied with the new rule.
In the end the spectators and TV viewers saw great races in the Cross-Country Stadium Vesec. The weather was not always optimal but the thanks to the great job of a lot of volunteers under the lead of Michal Lamplot, Sports Manager and Peter Mach, Chief of Competition the conditions were good and allowed fair competitions.
The Queen of this World Championships is 28-year-old Aino-Kaisa Saarinen from Finland, who was able to win three gold medals and a bronze medal. Justyna Kowalczyk, the strong Polish skier, showed equally great performance and is now double World Champion with an additional bronze medal. As well notable is the first medal for an US-American female skier in the history of the World Championships. Kikkan Randall from Anchorage, Alaska made the surprise silver medal in the sprint competition. In her sixth World Championships the Ukrainian Valentina Shevchenko was able to finally take a medal at a big event, the bronze medal in the 30 km mass start race. It was also the second medal at World Championships ever for a Ukrainian skier after the bronze medal of Irina Terelia in 1999 in Ramsau (AUT).
On the men's side, 23-year-old Petter Northug from Norway was the hero of Liberec. The five-time Junior World Champion has now also three gold medals from the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. His finish on the last few hundred meters is unique and makes him really dangerous for the other distance racers. The Finnish men also delivered great performances and made their first medals since 1999 in a World Championships competition with the bronze medal of Matti Heikkinen in the 15 km Interval start, bronze in the team sprint for Sami Jauhojärvi and Ville Nousiainen and team bronze medal in the relay.
The medal table of the Cross-Country events in Liberec was won by Norway with five gold medals and two silver medals followed by Finland (3-0-5) and Poland (2-0-1).
For more information visit www.liberec2009.com
World Champions from Liberec (CZE)