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Posts Tagged ‘Norway’

Norway Runs Away with Women’s Relay; U.S. Fights for Third

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Just over a year after placing third in Gallivare, Sweden, for a historic World Cup podium, the U.S. women repeated the feat in Sunday’s 4 x 5-kilometer relay at the World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway — with Jessie Diggins (US Ski Team) using every last ounce of her energy to hold onto third.

Marit Bjørgen capped off a commanding performance for Norway, which won in 58:38.9 with scrambler Heidi Weng, an aggressive second leg by Therese Johaug, and Kristin Stormer Steira. A minute and 15 seconds back, Krista Lahteenmaki anchored Finland to second. After Liz Stephen tagged the USA’s first team (they started two) in third, 15 seconds behind Finland, Diggins made a run for second and caught Lahteenmaki about two kilometers in. Bjørgen started the final leg with a 35-second lead and stayed smooth in sloppy, snowy conditions for a comfortable win.

With Lahteenmaki and Diggins skiing together for the rest of the race, the Finn skied away after the last big climb and final descent into the stadium. Diggins crashed, broke a pole but quickly got a replacement from the Norwegian team and held onto third, finishing 23.4 seconds after Lahteenmaki and nearly 11 seconds ahead of Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR II).

After Russia in fifth, Sweden in sixth, Norway III in seventh, Germany in eighth, Russia II in ninth, France in 10th and Poland in 11th, the USA’s second team of Sophie Caldwell, Ida Sargent, Holly Brooks, and Rosie Brennan placed 12th (+3:20.5).


Norway Dominates For Women’s 4x5k Gold

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Marit Bjoergen brings home the gold for the Norwegian women in the 4×5 k relay at World Championships on Thursday. Photo: Fiemme 2013.

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — Surprising no one, the Norwegian women’s 4×5 k relay team skied to an overpowering victory at World Championships on Thursday. Poland briefly gave them a run for their money in the second leg when Justyna Kowalczyk overtook Therese Johaug, but Kirstin Stoermer Steira promptly took the lead back in the third quarter. Norway had such a big lead at the very end of the race that Marit Bjoergen stopped in the stadium to pick up a flag from one of hundreds in the stands, still able to finish 26.2 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla. Russia, with a powerful anchor leg from Yulia Tchekaleva, claimed bronze and the United States took fourth, 26.6 seconds off the podium.

This is Norway’s second-straight victory in the women’s relay at World Championships (they were fourth in Liberec in 2009).



U.S. NoCo Relay Notches Third Behind Norway, Germany

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

The U.S. Nordic Combined relay of Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Todd Lodwick and Billy Demong made the podium Saturday at the World Cup in Schonach, Germany, placing third behind Norway and Germany, respectively, in the 4×5 k team event.

The U.S. men ranked sixth after the jumping portion, but skied the second-fastest ski leg to finish 57 seconds behind Norway’s team of Klemetsen, Moan, Kokslien and Grabaak, which won in 51:59.8. Germany (Rydzek, Edelmann, Kircheisen and Frenzel) was second (+38.0).


June 27 Roundup: Rydqvist Not Keen on OneWay Ad; Only Oslo Wants 2016 Biathlon Worlds

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Maria Rydqvist isn’t a fan of OneWay‘s recent ad campaign, and the Swedish cross-country skier wasn’t afraid to blog about it.

“They can do what they want. But I still think you should say what you think,” Rydqvist wrote in response to the Finnish company’s advertisement picturing a scantily dressed woman holding skis over the words, ‘Too hot for you’.

“You lift an eyebrow when you see this kind of campaign,” she added.

Fredrik Heikki of OneWay’s Swedish branch stood behind the marketing.

“It is positive that we dare to do something different even though we are aware that it is a controversial campaign,” he told

“We are not forcing anyone to buy this ski,” Heikki added, adding that the target group was 18- to 29-year-olds.

– Looks like there’s a good chance Oslo will host the 2016 Biathlon World Championships. According to NRK, the Norwegian city is the only bidder to have submitted an application on time. With all entries due by last Friday, the International Biathlon Union issued a list on Monday that verified Norway was the only candidate for the 2016 championships. NRK’s biathlon expert Halvard Hanevold said Oslo would almost undoubtedly earn hosting rights, but hesitated to say it was a done deal. The last time Oslo hosted biathlon worlds was in 2000.

“We have worked so hard to get there, so it costs little to stay the course,” Hanevold said. “But it will be a great championship, if it should happen. Also the foreigners think we deserve this.”

When it came to confidence in hosting the event, Norway’s biathlon president Tore Bøygard didn’t hold back.

“It has never happened that the World Cup has been given to an applicant who has not complied with the deadline. It would be unserious,” he said in a translated interview. “Now we can start planning in earnest.”

– Wondering what the Norwegian national teams are up to? As expected, they’re training — the men in Lillehammer and the women at the Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi in the Italian Dolomites – and head coach Åge Skinstad told Langrenn they’re right on track.

“We are where we should be about five months before the World Cup beginning in Gallivare,” he said in a translated interview.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian sprinters are gearing up for a two-week camp in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Several of the team’s athletes plan to race in Norway’s Blink Festival, a series of rollerski events, from July 19-21.

Brandsdal Delights Drammen Crowd with Victory, Valjas Takes Second

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

The men’s final strategically played out similarly to the women’s, but not with the names that one might have expected.  It would have been a safe bet to say Emil Joensson was going to out sprint the field with his powerful stride over the final meters.

Yet, it was Canadian Lenny Valjas that pushed the pace early bringing with him Norway’s Erik Brandsdal and Paal Golberg.

The three broke away midway through and gapped the others.  Then as they entered the finish lanes it was Brandsdal whose snappy striding gave him the victory in front of the passionate Drammen fans.  Canada still had much to celebrate as Valjas used his own long striding form climbing to the finish, for a career best second place.

American Andy Newell capped off a strong day on a course where he has seen success in the past.  He finished up in sixth place.


1) Eirik Brandsdal (NOR)

2) Lenny Valjas (CAN)

3) Paal Golberg (NOR)

4) Alexander Panshinskiy (RUS)

5) Emil Joensson (SWE)

6) Andy Newell (USA)

7) Simeon Hamilton (USA)

8 ) Nikolay Morilov (RUS)

9) Teodor Peterson (SWE)

10) Gleb Retivykh (RUS)

Complete Results



Men’s Semifinal

Heat 1:

The Norwegian pair of Eirik Brandsal and Paal Golberg set the pace early with the Swedish duo of Emil Joensson and Teodor Peterson drafted right behind.  About halfway through the course, though, Russian Alexander Panzhinskiy made a hard move to the front.  As they entered the final uphill climb to the finish it was a drag race to the line.  Brandsdal (NOR) led the way and Joensson (SWE) used his powerful and quick stride to move into second.

Heat 2:

From the opening gun it was Lenny Valjas (CAN) and Kent Ove Clausen (NOR) who set the pace as American’s Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell changed track right away to settle in.  Staying comfortable drafting throughout much of the early meters it was not until the courses short steep climb that Newell and Hamilton tried to move forward.  By the end Valjas used his long stride to keep at the front and Newell’s powerful double pole took him comfortably into second.  Hamilton kept pushing finishing third, but was not able to advance as a lucky loser as both of those positions were from the first heat.

Men’s Quarterfinals

Heat 1:

Erik Brandsdal (NOR) showed early form that he was in good shape today, besting the rest of the field by over two seconds in the first heat.  Russia’s Alexander Panzhinskiy was the next best in second over two seconds faster than Anssi Pentsinen (FIN).

Heat 2:

Norway’s Paal Golberg kept the home crowd happy as he was best to the line crossing with the same time as Germany’s Josef Wenzl.  Teodor Peterson (SWE) was third across, fast enough to gain a lucky loser position in the semifinals.

Heat 3:

Emil Joensson (SWE) controlled the heat for the first two-thirds of the race.  Then Yuichi Onda (JPN) took control as they worked through the bends before entering the stadium.  As they entered the stadium Len Valjas (CAN) moved to the front and Emil Joensson (SWE) and he used strong diagonal stride up the final grade to the finish to both advance.

Heat 4:

Andy Newell (USA) controlled much of the heat including, he positioned himself decisively at the front as they worked through the left and then right turn before the final homestretch.  He strided well and seemed to have good skis.  As they approached the final pitch Nikolay Morilov (RUS) just slipped past Newell as Newell seemed to struggle just a bit over the final few meters.

Alex Harvey (CAN) crashed midway through the course on a gradual down just before a right turn.  He skied admirably to regain contact finishing fourth in the heat.

Heat 5:

Again the American squad had good skis as Simi Hamilton (USA) battled at the front with Norway’s Kent Ove Clausen.  The two took the lead into the homestretch where Clausen gained an edge and Hamilton battled with Nikita Kriukov (RUS), just getting the better of the Russian.

Canada’s Devon Kershaw also had some bad luck as he broke a pole early in the heat.

August 10 Roundup: Northug wins again at Rollerski Worlds; Mayer on trial

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

– The FIS Rollerski World Championships continue after kicking off Tuesday in Aure, Norway. On Wednesday, Norway’s Petter Northug claimed his second consecutive title, winning the 24 k freestyle mass start, 2.7 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Anders Svanebo. Italy’s Simone Paredi was third, 9.5 seconds behind Northug, who won the 10 k classic uphill race the day before.

In the women’s 17 k freestyle race on Wednesday, Sweden’s Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Kalla pulled away at the halfway point to beat Norway’s Heidi Weng by 49 seconds, according to the FIS website. Ksenia Konokhova of Russia was third, 1:19.8 seconds out of first.

The Norwegians swept Day 1 with reigning World Champions Northug and Marit Bjoergen winning the men’s and women’s 10 k classic mass starts.

In the men’s race, Northug broke free from the pack at 8 k and finished in 25:32.2, about 15 seconds ahead of Russia’s Ivan Marchenkov. Svanebo was third (25:49.9). Bjoergen won Tuesday’s small field of 16 women by taking a commanding lead. She finished in 27:39.9, ahead of Kalla (20 seconds back) and Weng (28:28.2).

Racers have one day of rest before competition resumes Friday with the freestyle relays in Kristiansund. Saturday marks the final event: the 200 m freestyle sprint.

– Austria’s former Nordic skiing and biathlon coach, Walter Mayer, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of providing athletes with doping substances from 2005 to 2009. The 54-year-old went on trial with four others and faces up to three years in jail, according to Reuters. He was banned in 2002 after a blood-doping scandal at the Salt Lake City Olympics, and ran into trouble when he defied that ban at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy. The trial is expected to last a week.

– The Norwegian explorer who skied across Antarctica last year, Cecilie Skog, told the Chicago Tribune her stint on “Dancing With The Stars” was more intimidating than her 70-day unassisted journey.

“When it was live on TV, it was so scary,” the 37-year-old said. “I couldn’t breathe.”

The first woman to reach both poles and the highest points of each continent, Skog made it to the eighth round of Norway’s version of the reality show. She withdrew after breaking two ribs.

August 8 Roundup: A Melting Pot of Skiers in NZ; Rollerskiing on the Autobahn

Monday, August 8th, 2011

— There are big international names galore currently sharing the trails at the Snow Farm, including Russians, Americans, Canadians, a Pole, and of course Kiwis. According to Alexei Sotskov, reporting to, the Russians are enjoying the snow and dining room food so far.

When coach Yuri Kaminsky was asked how the dining hall dynamic was playing out, he replied that his athletes haven’t spoken much yet with Andy Newell or Devon Kershaw, but have maintained their friendly relationship with Justyna Kowalczyk.

— Some people dream of driving on the Autobahn, others of crossing it on their rollerskis. When the Norwegians ran out of gas near Oberhof, Germany, where they had been training, they were apparently close enough to a gas station for it to make sense to hop over there on rollerskis. An unidentified member of the team made it the short distance to the station and was on his way back with the gas when he was stopped by the police only a few hundred meters from the van and had to pay a fine.

Norwegian coach Trond Nystad confirmed the story with the NRK, but refused to identify the skier.

— David Landgraf, one of the only three skiers to have competed in every Birkie since the first race in Hayward, WI in 1973, died on Monday afternoon after he was hit by a car while riding his bike. He was a middle school phys ed teacher and ski coach for over 40 years and completed his 38th Birkie this year second in the 60+ age group.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that this was the sixth bike fatality in Wisconsin this summer.

Cyclists and rollerskiers, please remember to wear bright colors and stay to far right of the pavement. Drivers, please be alert and share the road.

May 5 Daily Roundup: Team Jumping on Tap; Northug Leaves Camp

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Lots going on in the ski world over the past two days:

–According to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, the preliminary ski jumping program for the next season includes two mixed-gender team competitions. Both men and women will compete together, much like the mixed relay event in biathlon.
–The Norwegian skiers are in the middle of a training camp on Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. The women are recently returned from vacations – Vibeke Skofterud was in Africa and Bali, Therese Johaug went to Dubai, and Marit Bjoergen was in the Carribean – while Petter Northug just went home. He’s sick.

–Speaking of the Norwegians, NRK is reporting that a number of past greats were asked to apply for the job of the national team men’s coach, including Oddvar Bra, Frode Estil, Thomas Alsgaard, and Pål Gunnar Mikkelsplass. All of them declined, leaving Fredrik Aukland and Trond Nystad the only Norwegians in the pool. In other Norwegian news, Johaug just had her debut as an underwater model.

Swedish sprinter Mats Larsson is retiring.

APU is back in training.

–A charitable trust has raised about half the funding necessary to purchase the Snow Farm, in New Zealand, from its current owners. The Snow Farm is where the U.S. and Canada typically travel for their summer on-snow training camps.

–The Canadians apparently will get to go for a ride on a sweet train.

–Rather than make snow, the organizers of the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014 have opted for a system that relies primarily on saving the white stuff from the previous season, using technology from Finland. According to this article in the Voice of Russia, half of the facilities for the Sochi Games are ready.

–Justyna Kowalczyk will begin her first training camp in Ramsau in two weeks.

April 28 Roundup: Pichler Hired by Russians; Veerpalu Gets Date

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

–Wolfgang Pichler, the one-of-a-kind German biathlon coach, has left the Swedish team after agreeing to become the leader of the Russian women’s squad for the next three years.

–Germans Axel Teichmann, Jens Filbrich, and Tobias Angerer are apparently forming a high-powered masters training group.

–Russian Ski Federation (FLGR) President Elena Vyalbe has been nominated by the federation to become the country’s head coach, the country’s press reported Wednesday. However, the nomination is only preliminary, and must be approved by the Russian Sports Ministry – which doesn’t sound particularly excited about the idea.

There are 20 applicants for the position of Norwegian men’s head coach.

–Estonian skier Andrus Veerpalu will go before the International Ski Federation’s doping panel on June 5.

–If you weren’t in Russia, you missed French biathlete Martin Fourcade busting a move.

No Surprises: Norway Runs Away With Women’s Relay

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

After Marianna Longa of Italy finished the first leg of the women’s 4 x 5 k World Championships relay in first place, Therese Johaug took the lead in the second leg, and she and her teammates never looked back. Kristin Stoermer Steira extended Norway’s lead to over 30 seconds and Marit Bjoergen was unchallenged as the anchor; she looked in control and paused in the stadium to grab a flag before crossing the finish line.

The Swedish team of Ida Ingmarsdotter, Anna Haag, Britta Johansson Norgren and Charlotte Kalla were second at every exchange. Finland was third at every exchange; going into the last leg, the two teams were separated by only a second, but Kalla attacked almost immediately and by the finish had put more than 20 seconds on Krista Lahteenmaki, the Finnish anchor.

Italy had one of the wildest rides of the day, dropping from first to eighth on the second leg before skiing back up to finish fourth.

The Americans overcame a rough start to finish ninth, while Canada was fourteenth.

Full writeup to follow.