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Off Topic and other Sports => Off Topic => Topic started by: Alan on January 04, 2014, 11:42:48 AM

Title: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on January 04, 2014, 11:42:48 AM
The Winter Olympics begin soon in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.  Except in the most northerly countries the Winter Olympics take second place to the Summer games, and the two events take place two years apart.

Plenty of women will be competing in ski and snowboard events.  The first-ever women's snowboard cross competition was held at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, and the Final remains a memorable race full of thrills and spills, with US star Lindsey Jacobellis losing a gold medal in the last 100 yards, Maelle Ricker crashing through the fence and Switzerland's Tanja Frieden staying on her feet to grab gold.

After failing to finish with concussion Maelle Ricker of Canada came back four years later to take the gold medal in the same event, while Jacobellis went out in the semifinal.

"If you're sat on your sofa, put your seat belt on!" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPCOin3l8OY

At Sochi Lindsey Jacobellis and the bronze winner in 2006, Dominique Maltais, will be racing while Maelle Ricker will also lead the Canadian snowboard team, so there is unfinished business remaining for 2014.

In the snowboard half-pipe the women's competition from 2010 is on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6UMXD7rxEg with the winning run by Torah Bright 36 minutes into the video.
Title: Norway's team for Sochi
Post by: Alan on January 09, 2014, 10:11:14 AM
Norway's team for the Olympics is taking shape, and Vibeke Skofterud, who won gold last time in the sprint relay, is out.  "That's how it looks.  Skofterud would have pull out an extraordinary performance to be selected", said Jann Post.  

Competition for places is tough for the relay and the team sprint.  "Marit Bjørgen will do the anchor leg if she is in form, but who will race with her is very open", said Post.  The cross-country team is allowed 18, which is 10 men and 8 women.

The likely composition of the different races is:

Freestyle sprint:
Definite: Marit Bjørgen, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, Maiken Caspersen Falla,
Plus: Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen or Celine Brun-Lie.  

10 km classic:
Definite: Marit Bjørgen, Therese Johaug, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen,
Probable: Heidi Weng,
Challengers: Kristin Størmer Steira, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg.

15 km with change of skis:
Definite: Marit Bjørgen, Therese Johaug,
Probable: Heidi Weng, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen,
Challenger: Kristin Størmer Steira.

30 km free style:
Definite: Marit Bjørgen, Therese Johaug,
Probable: Kristin Størmer Steira, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen,
Top challenger: Heidi Weng.

Team sprint (2 runners):
Definite: Marit Bjørgen,
Challengers: Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, Maiken Caspersen Falla.

Present team: Heidi Weng, Therese Johaug, Kristin Størmer Steira, Marit Bjørgen,
Challenger: Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen.

Likely Norway team, 8 allowed: Marit Bjørgen, Therese Johaug, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, Heidi Weng, Kristin Størmer Steira, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, Maiken Caspersen Falla, Celine Brun-Lie.

Anders Skjerdingstad http://www.nrk.no/sport/her-er-ol-kabalen-i-langrenn-1.11456444
Title: Østberg with high hopes
Post by: Alan on January 11, 2014, 08:41:36 PM
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg has high hopes of a medal at Sochi after her third-place finish today at Novi Mesto.

"The podium place says a lot for the Olympics.  I haven't been on the podium as frequently before, so this is good for the confidence", the 23-year-old division-1 footballer from Gjøvik told NRK.

A strong performance at Novi Mesto has brought the Olympics next month into her thoughts.  "Now it's a bit more definite in my mind.  There's some time to go but it will be a hard fight in Russia.  Before the season my target was to go to the Olympics, but now I have qualified a medal is what I dream of", said Østberg.  "It would be really great to bring a medal back".

In Italy she had no chance against the American Kickin' Randall, who went into the lead and held it.  "It wasn't looking good and I just went for the finish.  It feels fantastic to be back, it was difficult watching the Tour de Ski on TV", said Randall after the race.  She won 1.69 seconds ahead of the Swiss Laurien van der Graf, while Flugstad Østberg was 1.95 seconds back.

The other two Norwegians who entered the free-style sprint were Kathrine Rolsted Harsem and Celine Brun-Lie, and both were eliminated in the semifinal.        

Hans-Olav Rise, Jann Post
article/photo: http://www.nrk.no/sport/tredjeplass-for-flugstad-ostberg-1.11463928
Title: Steira challenging
Post by: Alan on January 20, 2014, 09:27:32 AM
Kristin Størmer Steira is more likely to go to Sochi after Sunday's win in Lillehammer.  Steira won the 15-km event in the Norwegian championships.

In the first half of the race, in classic skiing style, Steira hung in with Astrid Jacobsen, but after the change of skis midway she dominated the free-style half of the race and took an early lead which only expanded with distance.  "Kristin was only a reserve for the Olympics at this distance, but now she is challenging Heidi Weng and Astrid Jacobsen", said NRK expert Torgeir Bjørn.

Steira was pleased with her run.  "This was definitely my best this year, at any rate it feels like it", she told NRK.  "I have had one goal all year,
which is what happens in February.  Things are starting to fall into place, which suits me very well".

Magnus Joki Arild http://www.nordlys.no/nyheter/article7111611.ece
Title: Gold for Marit Bjørgen
Post by: Alan on February 08, 2014, 11:02:15 AM
Marit Bjørgen fought off a late challenge by Sweden's Charlotte Kalla to win today's 15-kilometre cross country race.  The first half was run in classic style and the rest in freestyle.  In freestyle the technique allows a skating motion with the skis for extra speed especially on uphill sections.

Kalla sat in third place for most of the race before a burst of speed took her to the front only minutes from the end.  Bjørgen was the only one of the leaders able to answer this surprise manoeuvre and she managed to battle back into the lead at the finishing line.

Norway took bronze as well as gold, with Heidi Weng in third place making her Olympic debut.  Fourth was Therese Johaug of Norway, fifth Aino-Kaisa Saarinen of Finland, sixth Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk and seventh Niskanen from Finland.

One of the Norwegian team, Astrid Jacobsen, lost her brother and training partner yesterday, and the Norwegians took part today wearing black armbands.  

The Norwegians know each other well and know each other's strengths and weanesses.  They are all very close but they are basically in competition and they do not discuss individual tactics among themselves.  Full results of the 15-km: http://www.nrk.no/sport/har-hemmeligheter-for-hverandre-1.11525372
Photo from the medal ceremony today: http://www.nrk.no/sport/1.11528024

TV coverage: In the UK the winter Olympics are being covered by BBC2 and not Eurosport.  In Norway coverage is being provided by TV2 which is normally a subscription channel but it is free for the period of the Olympics.  But a Norwegian IP address is needed to watch it.  NRK will be giving news-style coverage of the Olympics but can not circulate video clips outside Norway on the internet, and can not even circulate video clips from previous Olympics outside Norway.    
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 08, 2014, 01:11:12 PM
That's great!  Three of four, congratulations to them all and especially Bjørgen.  Tough day for Johaug but she at least came in front of the Pole.  Amazed Koawalczyk could even place in the top 10 if this truly was her foot a week ago:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t31/p180x540/1500873_726550267389332_1069598819_o.jpg (https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t31/p180x540/1500873_726550267389332_1069598819_o.jpg)

Another great trio story is the Dufour-Lapointe sisters.  All three placed in the top 10 to go to the medal round tonight in women's moguls.

http://olympics.cbc.ca/news/article/dufour-lapointe-sisters-audrey-robichaud-strong-moguls-qualifier.html (http://olympics.cbc.ca/news/article/dufour-lapointe-sisters-audrey-robichaud-strong-moguls-qualifier.html)
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 08, 2014, 05:24:38 PM
Norway took first, third and fourth places in today's 15-km cross-country ski race after the news came that one of their teammates has lost her brother.  "Astrid is extremely tough to take this situation so well.  She and her brother were best friends so obviously it has been difficult", said Therese Johaug after finishing in fourth place.

The Norwegians learned about the tragedy on Friday.  Astrid Jacobsen was not due to race on Saturday but she trained on Saturday morning.  The cross country team had a meeting on Friday night. "Many thoughts were going round in our heads.  You discover that a ski race is not the most important thing in the world.  We talked a lot with Astrid who said we must race for her and her brother.  That is what we did", said Therese Johaug.  For all the Norwegians the tears rolled at the end of the race.

"Today's race was special and full of emotion", said gold medal winner Marit Bjørgen.  "Today sport meant nothing.  We have got some perspective on things.  But Astrid and her family wanted us to race for her.  We stood together as a team and did that.  I am very glad about the gold medal but I also have mixed feelings".

Charlotte Kalla has trained a lot with the Norwegians and knows them better than most other competitors.  "I knew nothing about what happened before I turned up at the start today.  There were many feelings at the start.  If the Norwegian girls need someone to talk to, I will be here for them", said the Swedish silver medal winner.

Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 08, 2014, 07:27:45 PM
The youngest two Dufour-Lapointe girls just went gold/silver.

New Zealand's freestyle team also has the Wells brothers - Jossi, Byron and Beau James.
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 08, 2014, 08:08:18 PM
A picture of the Canadian sisters: http://direkte.vg.no/studio/vinter-ol-2014-3
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 08, 2014, 08:20:19 PM
Thank you!  And another great one here, taken moments before stepping up to the medal podium:

http://images.lpcdn.ca/924x615/201402/08/810037-chloe-justine-dufour-lapointe.jpg (http://images.lpcdn.ca/924x615/201402/08/810037-chloe-justine-dufour-lapointe.jpg)
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 09, 2014, 09:08:31 AM
Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (27) is ready to race in Norway's sprint team.  "The decision was taken with Astrid", said the sprint team trainer Roar Hjelmset.

The team was picked last Sunday but there has been some uncertainty around Jacobsen since the sudden death of her brother on Friday.  "What has happened has affected everyone.  We are very together as a group.  Now we will try to focus on the sports side", said Ingvild Flugstad Østberg.  On Saturday she watched her teammates take gold and bronze in the 15 kilometre skiathlon. 

The team sprint lineup will be announced at 13.00 on Monday, with Celine Brun-Lie ready to step in if necessary.  "It's even between Celine and Astrid, and Astrid knows that 99.9 per cent is not good enough.  She must be 100 per cent to go.  Celine is preparing to go as well", said Hjelmset.  "Astrid trained as planned yesterday and did a hard session that went well.  There was no problem".   

Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 09, 2014, 10:20:10 PM
Bronze medal for GB's snowboarder Jenny Jones today, the first ever Olympic medal for GB in any sport on snow.  So look out Marit Bjørgen . . . :).  Video clip: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/winter-olympics/26056289

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Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 09, 2014, 11:49:05 PM
How great is that.  Tragic I can barely find it on BBC.co.uk/sport
In a "winter" country it would be half the page...
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 10, 2014, 08:49:27 AM
It's on now: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/winter-olympics/26108458
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 11, 2014, 05:22:37 AM
Better late than never...

Petter Northug and Marit Bjoergen go in the sprints today, and oddly no Norwegians in the Ladies Long-Track 500m, Men's Half-Pipe, or Ladies Slopestyle.
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 11, 2014, 09:06:42 AM
Sprint event today for the cross-country skiers, with qualification rounds starting at 10.00.  For Norway #5 will be Maiken Caspersen Falla, #10 Astrid Urenholdt Jacobsen, #21 Marit Bjørgen and #22 Ingvild Flugstad Østberg the former division-1 footballer.  For GBNI #44 is Rosamund Musgrave.

All four Norwegians qualified in the prologue by finishing in the top 30:
1st Maiken Caspersen Falla
3rd Marit Bjørgen
6th Ingvild Flugstad Østberg
7th Astrid Urenholdt Jacobsen

Britain's Rosamund Musgrave finished in 42nd place.  The four Norwegians will race in separate quarter-finals later today (12.00) and will not meet until an eventual semifinal.
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 11, 2014, 12:11:08 PM
Falla won the first quarter final, Jacobsen won the second, in the third Østberg in a photo finish for first place with Swedish Ingemarsdottir, took second place.  The 5th and last quarter final won by Herrmann of Germany with Marit Bjørgen second and Kickin' Randall beaten into 4th place.  The other American Jess Diggins is also out.  Four Norwegians through to the semis.

Falla won the first semifinal, Østberg the second on a photo finish.  Marit Bjørgen fell and was eliminated in the second semi.  So Norway's chances in the Final will ride on Astrid Jacobsen and the young sprinters Maiken Caspersen Falla and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg.
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 11, 2014, 01:37:49 PM
Fingers crossed for Jacobsen to medal.

So close, looks like the other two went 1-2!
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 11, 2014, 01:39:11 PM
1-2-4 for Norway: gold medal to Falla, silver to Østberg on her second photo finish of the day, bronze Vesna Fabjan of Slovenia, Jacobsen in fourth place broke a pole on the way round.
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 11, 2014, 03:01:59 PM
I read an op ed piece from an American yesterday lamenting how they can never catch the Norwegians in the Winter Olympics because of the number of cross country and biathlon medals.  I just checked and don't buy it.

Alpine (10)
Freestyle (10)
Snowboard (10)
Ski Jumping (4)

Nordic Combined (3)
Cross Country (12)
Biathlon (10)

Figure Skating (5)
Short Track [8]
Long Track (12)

Skeleton (2)
Luge (4)
Bobsled (3)

Ice Hockey (2)
Curling (2)

There are more downhill and as many skating events as cross country.  And if you have 330 million people and that much money, do what you do in every other sport and create an uber program to dominate.  The real problem is, they can't.  No one can, for all the money and technology they throw at them.

I read a book a month or two back called "We Die Alone" which was a fascinating tale of the human spirit that takes place in Northern Norway in the second World War.  The main saboteur a few times mentions as long as they got on skis they had no fear of the Nazis whatsoever.

Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 11, 2014, 05:51:14 PM
Some things money can't buy, but it must be a temporary thing to have just the right group of Norwegians together just now.  Eight years ago Bjørgen was on the point of giving up after not getting close in any of the races.  If it was just the environment the Swedes and Finns should match the Norwegians, but occasionally all the indefinable factors come together at once.  With the US team you have to look at the number of Americans who grow up in the mountains rather than the whole population. 
Title: Gold for Falla
Post by: Alan on February 11, 2014, 06:19:31 PM
Maiken Caspersen Falla took gold in the individual sprint event in Sochi today at the age of 23.  The girl from Fetsund outsprinted Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Solvenian Vesna Fabjan in Laura ski stadium.  As in the prologue and the heats Caspersen Falla took command from the start and held on to her lead throughout the 1.3-kilometre sprint course and crossed the finishing line first.  

Romerikes Blad met the gold medal winner in jubilant mood in Sochi.  "This is quite unreal, as if I have watched something on TV that I never believed would happen to me.  I am extremely pleased and this is the best day of my career.  It has happened in a season in which I have been in good form, but I never thought it would go so well", said the new Olympic winner to rb.no.

Caspersen Falla told how she watched the Olympics as a child and dreamed of winning.  "I never expected it to be a reality.  It's unreal", she said.  The 23-year-old from Fetsund had found it difficult to eat breakfast after rising at 09.30 Russian time.  "I alway struggle to eat breakfast on race days.  In a way that is positive because it means I am properly keyed up for the contest", she said.  "It was difficult to get food down, and it was a long time to wait because the racing did not start until 14.00 local time", she said.

She had been given shirt #5 in the prologue and clocked up the fastest time of 2 minutes 32.07, which none of the other competitors could match.  She was also the quickest in the quarter- and semifinals, and that was when she knew she might win gold.  "Several favourites dropped out and I knew there was a chance, but at the same time I didn't focus on that.  Ingvild and I talked about it before the Final and we were able to relax about it.  I would have been happy with a top-six place and this helped me to settle down before the Final", she said.

In Canada four years ago Caspersen Falla finished in 20th place, but the expectations were much higher this time for the girl who sprinted to World-Cup bronze last year.  She felt well prepared to fight for a medal.  From the quarter-finals onwards when she slid over the finishing-line the Fetsund girl was in charge of the competition.  "I have learned that I have to make the decisions about the run.  My goal from the start was to take charge immediately and hold on.  When you are behind, others can wreck your race.  I wanted to avoid that and I was pleased with how I steered the tactics", she said.

During the last few days she has had a good feeling about the Laura Stadium.  "It has worked well for me.  On the climb and on the final bend I felt I was in control", she said.

Caspersen Falla has become the ninth Romeriken to win Olympic gold.  Today's medal is Romerike's 19th Olympic gold in history.  

Romerikes Blad, Lillestrøm http://www.rb.no/ol/article7163054.ece

Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (27) had some words for the press on Tuesday after keeping a low profile for several days.  "I think I am the happiest fourth-placed racer in Sochi and it was tremendous that Ola, Maiken and Ingvild did so well", she said.  Maiken Caspersen Falla and Ola Vigen Hattestad took gold medals for Norway in the women's and men's sprint.

Jacobsen broke a ski pole during the Final but did not want make that into an issue.  "The broken pole might have prevented me reaching a medal, but a lost medal is not so important today.  For me it has been a win to go out and mobilise my powers to perform in ski sport", she said.


[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Our silver girl
Post by: Alan on February 11, 2014, 10:21:56 PM
Gjøvik girl Ingvild Flugstad Østberg took Olympic silver in Tuesday's sprint in Sochi.  The successful silver medal winner spoke to NRK after the Final.

"I am so utterly relieved and glad! I have always said that a medal was the goal.  Everything must be right to reach the podium in the sprint.  It's an unreal dream that has been fulfilled", said Ingvild Flugstad Østberg to NRK.

The former division-1 footballer who now plays with Raufoss in division-2 was more than happy with second place.  "Silver is like a gold medal for me", she said.  Maiken Caspersen Falla took the gold and Flugstad Østberg finished in second place.  She kept fans waiting for the result of a photo-finish.  Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen finished in fourth place despite breaking a ski pole.  Ingvild Flugstad Østberg controlled her semifinal heat, staying in front all the way.  Marit Bjørgen had a fall and did not reach the Final.  

The Gjøvik girl was involved in drama in her quarter-final when she was side-by-side with Laurent when the Italian fell and went out.  That race also ended in a photo-finish between Østberg and Sweden's Ida Ingemarsdotter, but both racers went forward to the semifinals.

Østberg ran in her very first Olympic Final today but the trainers were in no doubt about her readiness for top-level competition.  The 23-year-old has shown before that she can compete, with eight golds in the juniors.  "I tried to prepare myself as usual before this race, but I could not forget it was the Olympics", she said.  "For me it's my first time, and just to be here is a huge experience.  At the same time I am ambitious for good results".

Sprint chief Roar Hjelmeset was a hundred per cent certain that the Gjøvik girl would take the challenge head-on.  "Remember she was at the Liberec World Cup in 2009 and Val di Fiemme (Tour de Ski) in the winter.  The step up to the Olympics is not a big one", he said.  "Ingvild is fantastic in the way she loves being out on tour.  It's a good thing, except that of course you can't be out on tour the whole time".      

Østberg was optimistic before today's race.  "I would absolutely say that Marit is one of the favourites.  She has already shown top form.  But there are also many others - Swedes and Slovenians", she said.  "It would be stupid to just go for silver".

Her teammates in today's race were Maiken Caspersen Falla, Marit Bjørgen and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen who on Monday decided to stay in Sochi despite the tragic death of her brother on Friday.  "What has happened has affected us all.  We support each other and try as well as we can to focus on the sport.  I think we will manage it".  

Stian Grythaugen, ANB
Oppland Arbeiderblad, Gjøvik
Photos: http://www.oa.no/sport/article7163033.ece
Below: Igvild F. Østberg, the pride of Gjøvik:

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Title: 10-kilometre on Thursday
Post by: Alan on February 12, 2014, 10:05:47 PM
Thursday's race in cross country is the 10k in classic style with a staggered start.  There are 76 runners departing at 30-second intervals in order of their shirt-number, with the first pushing off at 10.00.30 (UK time).

#24 Anna Haag of Sweden starts at 10.12.  Finland's Anna Kylloenen starts at 10.18 followed by Aino-Kaisa Saarinen and Krista Lahteenmaki.  Charlotte Kalla from Sweden has a start time of 10.20 and Norway's first starter is Heidi Weng at 10.21 followed by Justyna Kowalczyk, Astrid Urenholdt Jacobsen, Marit Bjørgen and then #46 Therese Johaug at 10.23.  The last start is at 10.38.
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 13, 2014, 03:37:40 AM
On the men's side, I wonder how the Norwegian Ski Federation feels now about dropping the young and already qualified far-northerner Finn Haagen Krogh for Peter Northug, who has already been dropped from the 15k on the weekend for poor results in the first two events.

A more happy ending in a similar vein is Canadian Gilmore Junio who gave up his 1000m long-track spot yesterday to teammate Denny Morrison for today's race.  Morrison claimed a silver in it today, the country's first 1000m men's medal in 30 years.

"Denny and I are made of the same fabric - we both want to win and represent our country at a level that reflects that passion” said Junio, who finished third in the distance at the Canadian Olympic Team trials back in December [Morrison caught an edge and slid over the finish line in fifth]. While the decision was a tough one to make, Junio felt that “I believe it’s in the best interest of the team if he races. To represent Canada at the Olympics is a huge honour and privilege but I believe that as Canadians, we’re not just here to compete; we are here to win."
- Gilmore Junio

Pretty wise words from a 23 year old.
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 13, 2014, 09:52:47 AM
Northug has had support from John Arne Riise who said it's typically Norwegian to turn on stars when they have a drop in form: 'Petter, you are my idol'.
Title: Johaug takes bronze behind Kowalczyk and Kalla
Post by: Alan on February 13, 2014, 07:27:55 PM
"The more diffcult it gets, the better it is for me", smiled Therese Johaug after earning a bronze medal in the 10-km classic today.  A tearful Justyna Kowalczyk from Poland took gold and Charlotte Kalla of Sweden the silver. It was Johaug's first-ever individual Olympic medal and just the piece of luck she needed after a fourth-place finish in earlier in the week.  Now her attention switches to the 30-kilometre, the 'tremila'.

"I am looking forward very much to the tremila.  Now I have achieved a fourth and a third, and I am ready for the 30k which has been my best distance and the one I have trained for", Johaug told NRK.no.  She won the 30k at home at Holmenkollen in the World Championships in 2011, in front of a home crowd of 100,000.  

"I must admit I dream of an individual gold medal, and I have statistics on my side.  I have had good results in the 30k in recent years, so the chance is there", said the 25-year-old.

Perhaps her toughest competitor of all is Sweden's Charlotte Kalla.  Kalla has already won two silver medals at the Sochi Olympics and is another athlete who considers 30k her best distance.

The 10k run today was a lesson for all Norway's team, with most of the course bathed in sunlight.  Norway had their first drink station at a 10k run.  "It was really warm today.  It will be vitally important to have the right drink stations.  You need to drink a lot and stay in the shade whenever you can", said Therese Johaug.  

Article, photos and a full list of results of today's race: http://www.nrk.no/sport/johaug-ser-frem-til-tremila-1.11541956
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 13, 2014, 08:17:10 PM
... turn on stars when they have a drop in form: 'Petter, you are my idol'.

Had the spot not been promised to someone else I would agree.  The problem is it was.
Title: 5k relay Saturday
Post by: Alan on February 14, 2014, 09:59:16 PM
Norway's team in Sochi for the sprint relay on Saturday 4 x 5 km is Heidi Weng, Therese Johaug, Astrid U. Jacobsen and Marit Bjørgen.

Eurosport covers the ski season very well each year but lost the Olympics to the BBC this time, so viewers can watch Ice Hockey this morning.

Great that Tina Maze took gold in the women's downhill today in Sochi, also great that she shared it with Dominique Gisin, who had a spectacular 100 mph fall in the same event in 2010 in Vancouver. I remember four years ago the crowd going silent as they watched, and the roar that went up when she eventually sat up.
Gisin's 2010 run is at 34:15 on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-PhtxIWD_M
She is a pilot in the Swiss air force and I thought at the time that any crash is good when you walk away.
Title: 5k results
Post by: Alan on February 15, 2014, 11:03:34 AM
Sweden's Charlotte Kalla started a long way back on the fourth and last leg of the relay behind Finland's Krista Lahteenmaki and Germany's Denise Hermann.  In the final kilometres Kalla reeled them in slowly and in an exciting finish she went past to take gold.  

Finland took sliver and Germany bronze, with France 4th and Norway 5th.  Heidi Weng commented: "I didn't feel too bad today.  It's very rare for both me and Therese have a bad day at the same time.  It's difficult to blame the skis but there was something strange.  It's strange that Therese couldn't keep up with Emma (Wiken, Sweden) who has taken hardly any World Cup points this season".  A photo after the race showed Johaug's skis with clumps of ice on the runners.    

Norway's team leader admitted that the skis had been badly prepared for today's race.  But a great race and a top performance from Charlotte Kalla who now has a gold medal to add to her two individual silvers from Sochi.  With Finland and Germany in a duel for gold, Kalla made up ten seconds in the final 1.3 kilometres to overtake them both and win the race.
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 16, 2014, 06:01:27 AM
The knives are coming out and the critics are waxing poetic:

The outrage has reached such heights that Norway’s lead waxer, Knut Nystad, told one journalist: “Take us out behind the shed and shoot us” and told another newspaper that “my wife has (jokingly) told me that the best I can hope for now is that they fire me.”

http://www.canada.com/olympics/columns/fisher-norway-may-top-the-medal-table-but-critics-say-its-olympics-is-a-failure (http://www.canada.com/olympics/columns/fisher-norway-may-top-the-medal-table-but-critics-say-its-olympics-is-a-failure)
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 16, 2014, 08:39:00 AM
The knives are coming out and the critics are waxing poetic
It's the formula - simplify and exaggerate - and the Norwegian papers are no worse than in other places when the knives come out.  For me the outstanding performance was Charlotte Kalla's by taking gold after looking totally out of it when the fourth leg of the relay started.

Kalla started the last leg 25 seconds behind the leader, so she could see Lahteenmaki of Finland about 170-180 yards in front of her.  Any normal person watching would have said Kalla was deranged to even try it, but she tried it and won a gold medal.  That's what makes us watch sport, the unpredictable moment when something happens that's superhuman.

Interview: http://tv.aftonbladet.se/webbtv/sport/sportbladet-osextra/article33994.ab
Someone recorded the final part of the race off the TV screen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLiHSs4pxPY
Here's a better video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZZRvhFeOpM
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 16, 2014, 05:15:58 PM
Thanks for the link, what a machine.  It seemed in the end she was pulling herself past them with her arms.  I just realized why - she was:

http://www.girlswithmuscle.com/images/full/237321614.jpg (http://www.girlswithmuscle.com/images/full/237321614.jpg)
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 16, 2014, 06:29:45 PM
. . and: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzA3M0ciskQ :)
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 16, 2014, 08:17:26 PM
Those vertical sit-ups will rip your abdominals to pieces.  She looks like a great role model.
Title: Olafsen seriously injured
Post by: Alan on February 17, 2014, 09:39:37 AM
Snowboarder Helene Olafsen suffered a cruciate ligament injury at Sochi and is considering retirement.  

Bronze at the X-games in January made Olafsen a hot candidate for a medal at Sochi but on Sunday she fell and a short time later the news came that her left ACL had been torn.  Now the 23-year-old says she is thinking of giving up.  "Yes, I must be honest enough to admit that", she told NRK.  This is not the first time she has had bad luck.  In the snowboard-cross final in Vancouver four years ago she fell and finished fourth and since then has had time out with several injuries.  

On Friday she was taken to hospital with a head injury, which was found to be not serious, and she continued to train for her event but then came the next fall.  Olafsen says the decision will not be made for a while.  "I can't take a final decision now, but will have to wait until my knee is recovered.  Ask me again in six months", she said.

Setbacks in the last two championships have been tough for her.  "It's terribly sad.  I can't descibe how it feels.  I feel completely empty", she said.  "I have thought I could be good enough to win the Olympics since I was small, maybe six years old.  Everything you do is a step towards that goal".  This injury is one of her toughest.  "My worst experiences so far have been the disappointment after the last Olympics and the last time I tore a cruciate ligament.  Now I have both happening at the same time", said the accident-prone athlete.

She is uncertain about representing Norway in four years' time.  "Perhaps I'll be there in Korea, I don't know.  Maybe I'll be a student, maybe I'll get a job.  I don't know", said Olafsen.

There have been many injuries among snowboarders this year, the worst one a broken vertebra for the Russian Maria Komissarova on Saturday.  Both the other Norwegian medal hopes, Kjersti Buaas and Torstein Horgmo, have had to pull out with injuries.  The half-pipe course was described by competitor Shaun White as "dangerous".

Siss Kløverød Andersen, Mads Håby
Article/pictures: http://www.nrk.no/sport/olafsen-inne-pa-tanken-om-a-gi-seg-1.11548749
Title: Team sprint for Bjørgen and Østberg
Post by: Alan on February 17, 2014, 06:44:03 PM
Marit Bjørgen and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg will race for Norway in Wednesday's team sprint event, which leaves Maiken Caspersen Falla out despite her gold medal in the individual sprint last week.

"Ingvild has reached the podium in the last five international competitions.  In the sprint she finished second behind Maiken and she showed she is a good runner.  All in all we are hoping that this pairing will produce a good result", said sprint trainer Roar Hjelmeset at Monday's press conference in Sochi.  So there is no place for Olympic sprint champion Falla.  

"Maiken took this very well and understood the decision.  She is a super supporter", said the trainer.  He was in no doubt about selecting Marit Bjørgen, who said, "I decided today to go the distance.  I feel that I am ready".

"Everyone knows Marit's strength in sprint and all other distances.  Stamina is important", said Hjelmeset.  "She was an automatic choice for this provided she stayed in form, and she has done that by winning a gold medal".  The team sprint is in effect a six-leg relay with the two runners taking alternate legs in classic style.  The trainer would not say which of the two would take the first leg.  

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, who was beaten into second place by Falla in the individual sprint, is looking forward to going for gold with Bjørgen.  She made no secret of knowing that it could very well have been Falla who took the place beside Bjørgen for this event.  "When Maiken shows form and takes an Olympic gold it's obvious she could have run this race.  Both of us are excited and we talked about it.  Obviously we were both prepared to race or not to race", she said.  Both are 23 years old.

Hjelmeset explained the decision.  "The pair was selected after the relay.  Maiken was partly prepared for this because Ingvild has shown generally better form throughout the present season.  But when you take a gold medal you are on the cards", he said.  

Steinar Adre Danielsen, Anders Skjerdingstad
Article/photos: http://www.nrk.no/sport/bjorgen-og-ostberg-gar-lagsprinten-1.11549751
After the team sprint the final race for the cross-contry women is on Saturday, the 30-kilometre.

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 19, 2014, 12:30:51 PM
Invild Flugstad Østberg (23) and Marit Bjørgen (33) took gold in the team sprint at Sochi today.

As expected it was a battle between Norway and Finland.  Østberg was evenly matched with Finland's veteran Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, while Bjørgen got the better of Kerttu Niskanen and took command in the second of six legs.  It was a sweet performance by Norway after the disappointing 5th-place finish in the relay last week.  

Østberg ran a good third leg and finished 1.6 seconds ahead of Finland, and then Bjørgen produced an even better fourth leg to send her teammate out with almost a 5-second lead on the fifth leg.  "She looked as if she had plenty of power in reserve", said Svein Tore Samal on TV 2.

Østberg did her job in the fifth leg and Bjørgen left for the last time with a 4½ second lead.  Norway's lead at the finish was 9.09 seconds over Finland and 19.77 seconds over the Swedish pair of Ida Ingemarsdotter and 20-year-old Stina Nilsson, who outraced the Germans at the end to take bronze.  

Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 19, 2014, 12:46:18 PM
I've noticed they've been doing better lately.  Perhaps they've nailed the wax.
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 19, 2014, 12:49:08 PM
I've noticed they've been doing better lately.  Perhaps they've nailed the wax.
Yes, they said on TV during the race that the skis were running very well.

Marit Bjørgen just said on TV that it has been very painful to read all the criticism of the ski preparation team, they have been working extremely hard, 5-6 hours longer than the other teams, and she sent her thanks to them.
The mayor of Østberg's home town of Gjøvik has just raised the Flag in the town centre: http://www.oa.no/sport/article7179940.ece  
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 19, 2014, 04:25:09 PM
Expectations are the downside of fame.

Women win the biathlon relay but the men get pipped by Sweden for the bronze in sprint classic.  Painful.  Waiting to hear the comments on this.

Norway sit atop the medal standings.  Trivia note.  The IOC does not recognize country competition.  Athletes compete for themselves.  The Sochi website publishes country results, the IOC do not.
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 19, 2014, 10:48:02 PM
Norway took an imperious win in the team sprint at Sochi today.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg kept with Aino-Kaisa Saarinen from Finland on the first leg.  Marit Bjørgen went out looking dangerous from the start of the second leg and established a lead over Finland and Sweden.  In reality that was where the race was won.  Flugstad Østberg took over the third leg with a lead although Saarinen made up a little time on her.  But Bjørgen just widened the gap on leg number four, leaving Finland's Niskanen behind and giving Flugstad Østberg an even bigger gap for her final leg, the fifth.  Again the 23-year-old was evenly matched with Saarinen and maintained a lead of 4.48 seconds at the end of her run, after which Bjørgen blew the field away on the anchor leg, finishing with a 9-second lead over Niskanen and 17 seconds over Sweden's Nilsson in third place.

Today Marit Bjørgen took her second gold medal of these games to add to her three from Vancouver, while Flugstad Østberg added gold to the silver medal won in the individual sprint on her Olympic debut last week.  

Article/photos: http://h-a.no/Sport/Sportsmagasin/tabid/413/articleView/true/moduleid/226983/Default.aspx

After today's race the two Norwegian women were congratulated by King Harald V who had turned up in Sochi to check on Norway's progress.  "I was wondering whether my luck would change after the King arrived yesterday", smiled Marit Bjørgen to NRK.no after she had received her gold medal with Ingvild Flugstad Østberg.  She said the last few days had been difficult for the men's and women's cross-country team after trouble with skis in the relay events.  With the King as a spectator the waxing team made a special effort.  "I can only thank the boys in the preparation team.  Our skis were just fanatic today", she said.

"It was quite fantastic to win the sprint with Marit and take my first gold medal at the Olympics.  She has been my role model for many years and will continue as my role model", said a jubilant Østberg.  She said it was special to stand at the finishing line waiting to see how the race would end.  "I was so excited about whether Marit would stay on her feet round the last bend.  I thought it would go well, but you never know", she said.

Already in her first circuit Bjørgen established a significant lead ahead of Finland and Sweden.  She widened the gap in her second and third runs and the two Norwegians won by 9 seconds ahead of the Finnish team of Aino-Kaisa Saarinen and Kerrtu Niskanen.  Sweden took bronze after anchor woman Stina Nilsson outraced Germany's Denise Herrmann on the home straight.  Ida Ingemarsdotter was Nilsson's partner for Sweden.

Article/photos: http://www.nrk.no/sport/bjorgen-og-ostberg-vant-lagsprinten-1.11555089    
Title: Jacobsen gone home
Post by: Alan on February 20, 2014, 06:59:42 PM
On Monday Astrid Jacobsen decided to go home to her family in Oslo.  "Astrid has made this decision completely herself, based on what she thought was best.  After the relay she had finished what she thought she could achieve and had used up all her power of concentration.  She decided she could not complete another week", said the trainer, Egil Kristiansen.

He confirmed that Jacobsen was in competition with Kristin Størmer Steira and Heidi Weng for two places in Saturday's 30-kilometre race.  "Astrid felt she was thinking too much about other things and that the other two would perform better than her", said the trainer.

He was impressed with the way she had managed to concentrate for a week after the shocking family news from home that came just as the Olympics started.  "She has performed well.  She finished 4th in the individual sprint and could have done better if one of her poles had not broken.  She raced a good 10-kilometre race without top equipment, and put in a good leg in the relay".

The plan is for Jacobsen to complete the World Cup season as normal.  "We have spoken about it.  She herself must decide whether she is ready to go to Finland in the week after the Olympics", said Egil Kristiansen.

Anders Skjerdinstad http://www.nrk.no/sport/uhrenholdt-jacobsen-reiser-hjem-1.11549972
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 21, 2014, 02:41:24 AM
Very classy move.

From the other side of the Atlantic, Canada's women brought home the bacon today, winning gold in Canada's two premiere winter sports - hockey and curling.  The women's hockey team was down 2-0 to the Americans in the final with a few minutes to play in the game before scoring once and then again with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker.  Marie-Philip Poulin (who is the ice hockey version of Kristine Minde) scored the tying goal with under a minute left and then got the winner in overtime.

Tomorrow the Canadian men go for curling gold while the men's hockey team plays a perilous semi-final against a USA team that has been much sharper in Sochi.  Whereas the Americans are firing on all cylinders, Canada struggled to beat a Latvian team with one NHL player in their quarter-final.

While skiing, figure skating, cross country skiing and freestyle comprise about 25 medals each for a total of 100, if Canada comes home with single golds in curling and ice hockey, Canadians will be a happy lot.

Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star is a wonderful scribe.  This was his take on the game today:

"These have already been a very Canadian Games, but for one amazing evening it felt like we owned the joint.  

We’re good at a lot of things, but we have two core competencies — hockey and curling. Taking very different routes, our women’s teams proved Thursday that while we have always been happy to share them with the world, we take pride in ownership when it matters.

Canada was run ’round the rink for much of the game. Trailing 2-0 with less than four minutes remaining, a lucky bounce off an American player put them within one.

Over on the bench, U.S. coach Katey Stone was telling her team, “That’s okay.” It wasn’t.

Then, what deserves to be known as God’s most direct intervention in hockey history. Canada pulled the goalie. As the puck circled back to the blue line in the offensive zone, an errant lineswoman threw a pick on Canada’s Catherine Ward. American Kelli Stack snapped the loose puck toward the empty net.

That was it. That was the whole shooting match floating down the ice for about an hour and a half.

Just when we all knew it was headed in, the puck caromed off the right post and out. Please tell me Hockey Canada had an angle grinder out there an hour after the ice was cleared. We need to get that post home. It’s getting an Order of Canada. You should vote for it in the next election. That post stands for what we all believe in. That post has already defended our freedom.

Once the giant hand withdrew back into the sky and settled again, it was Marie-Philip Poulin’s turn to work small miraculous acts on His behalf.

She tied it with 55 seconds to go. Eight minutes into overtime, she was allowed the freedom of slot. The American goalie had drifted out of position. Poulin had the empty net Stack had missed. She buried it, and other things."

http://www.thestar.com/sports/sochi2014/2014/02/20/canadas_golden_day_hard_to_beat_kelly.html (http://www.thestar.com/sports/sochi2014/2014/02/20/canadas_golden_day_hard_to_beat_kelly.html)



Marie-Philip Poulin:
http://www.sochi2014.com/en/athlete-marie-philip-poulin (http://www.sochi2014.com/en/athlete-marie-philip-poulin)

About curling and ice hockey in Canada:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_in_Canada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_in_Canada)
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 21, 2014, 08:01:22 AM
I liked the cigars.  Was it four years ago that the Canadian hockey women celebrated with cigars, drank bottles of beer and went joyriding with a lap of honour on an ice machine? consternation among the officials . . kudos . . :)
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 21, 2014, 01:48:58 PM
Great memory.


Yes and they got the beer in their hands too, Molson Canadian.  Doesn't look like they found the zamboni for a cruise though.  In Canada a gold medal will easily get you the keys but in Russia it may get you the gulag.  Another bit of local trivia - every Canadian uses the term Zamboni for the machine, which is the name of the guy who invented it.  It actually shaves off the top layer of the ice and waters it.  One of the first people to buy one and create the legend was Sonja Henie who saw it and immediately bought two.  I've actually never heard the words "ice machine" or "ice resurfacer" in my life in Canada.  

Another reason the win was particularly satisfying was these two teams hate each other.  Actually I'm not even sure hate is a strong enough word.  Even reading about the Norway/Sweden rivalry seems tame by comparison.  Women invest emotionally far superior to men in sport.  That usually produces a higher level of sportsmanship, but cast the die in the opposite direction and the amplitude is greater as well.  

Another interesting observation.  Norway leads the medals table in Sochi, but take out the cross-country skiing medals (including biathlon) and they are 20th with a gold and two bronze and tied with Great Britain, and have five medals less than Italy.  Go another step and take out the incredible Kjetil Jansrud and Norway are last in the medals table, tied with Kazakhstan with one bronze.
Title: 1990s generation succeeding for Norway
Post by: Alan on February 21, 2014, 07:05:35 PM
Three of the Norwegian gold winners in Sochi are only 23.  Cross-country skiers Maiken Casperesen Falla and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, with biathlete Tiril Eckhoff, are part of the the new order that could bring Norway a lot of excitement in the years to come.

"It's great that we are a new generation that is coming up like this", said Østberg to NRK.no.  They are a lot less well known than some of their distinguished teammates, and would have been recognised in the street by very few - before the 2014 Winter Olympics.  Now that has changed.  Falla took gold in the individual sprint, Østberg in the team sprint and Eckhoff in the mixed relay.  As well as that, Østberg took silver in the individual sprint and Eckhoff bronze in the mass-start event.

Falla and Østberg give credit to the tough competition they have been through for their successes.  "I trained a lot with the boys at my ski club.  We were also enthusiastic members of the junior team and we did not want to be any worse than the boys.  Really we trained more than them", said Østberg.  They were also given chances in the senior squad, where Falla and Østberg debuted at the Liberec World Championships in 2009, as 18-year-olds.

"In one way things have gone quickly, in another really slowly.  I was on the podium when I was 18, but was not highly praised for that.  There were still many distances I had not succeeded at and there was a lot left to learn - but early success gives you belief in yourself and you want to continue with what you have done", said Østberg.  "Maiken, Tiril and I are from environments in which we are allowed to go at our own pace".

Biathlete Eckhoff has made her breakthrough this season, with a podium place in the World Cup series before Christmas and two medals at Sochi.  "It would be good if I could make an impression on the sport in future", she said.  "It's great that athletes from my year are beginning to be as good as the older ones".

Falla and Østberg came into the senior cross-country squad at a time when competition was less severe.  After a downturn in 2009 Norway took only one medal in cross-country and expectations were nothing like so high.  

"How important was it to get your chance when there was less competition?" - "Looking back, it was very important", said Østberg, who this season had two wins in the team sprint before the Olympics started.  In the years since Liberec she has gathered experience and despite her age she considers herself an experienced campaigner.  

"At the start, when everyone said we must get more experience, I thought: 'experience, that's a boring word', but now I realise how important it is.  We are experienced even though we are 23 years old", said Ingvild Flugstad Østberg.  

Article/photos: http://www.nrk.no/sport/1990-generasjonen-har-suksess-1.11557902

It seems that most of Norway's medal winners are Liverpool FC supporters, and Ingvild Østberg (who plays football in the Norwegian women's second division) received a signed shirt from Jamie Carragher in the week.
Title: Kalla the favourite
Post by: Alan on February 21, 2014, 07:30:37 PM
Sweden's Charlotte Kalla has had a brilliant Olympics so far.  Gold in the relay and silver medals in both the 10k and 15k events have caused many to describe the 26-year-old as the favourite for Saturday morning's finale of the cross-country championship - the 30-kilometre.  "I have named a Swede as the favourite.  I think we have some outsiders that can compete for the medals", said the Norwegian team's trainer Egil Kristiansen to the press on Thursday.  

But success has come at a price for Kalla after some rumours about the mental and physical load she has had to carry for her country.  "She has been relaxing and has done alternative training.  She has not been on skis", said Sweden's trainer Rikard Grip to the Swedish paper Aftonbladet.

"Had I been at home in Sweden I would have rested more, but we are at the Olympics", said Kalla herself.  "I have not slept well and a lot of thoughts have been going round in my head".

Kalla was rested for the team sprint, in which Sweden's Ingemarsdotter and Nilsson took the bronze medal.  The plan is for her to join the rest of the team in a light ski trip today.  "She is feeling better and better.  Charlotte will be ready to compete for medals", said Grip.

Marit Bjørgen also has Kalla as the favourite.  "Charlotte has had some days off to clear her head.  I know her situation and there has been a lot of pressure", she said.  She knows Kalla well and they trained together before the present season, something they have done for several years.  "We had some tough sessions together and I noticed she had improved since a year ago.  She was quick in all the hard training we did", said Bjørgen.

Norway's runners for the 30k are: Marit Bjørgen, Therese Johaug, Kristin Størmer Steira and Heidi Weng.  

Englund Smørdal http://www.tv2.no/2014/02/20/sport/vintersport/ol/langrenn/5340983#.UwXGB_l2tZg

The 30k is on BBC2 from 09.30 on Saturday.
All the runners: http://www.nrk.no/sport/ol/?page=/cross-country/event/women-30km/phase=ccw730100/index.html

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 22, 2014, 12:43:38 AM
Tempted to get up at 4:30am and watch this before a family breakfast watching the hockey final at 7:00am.

Bib #3 is Justyna Kowalczyk.
Title: Norway 1-2-3
Post by: Alan on February 22, 2014, 10:54:31 AM
The 30k was won by Marit Bjørgen in 1:11:05.2, Therese Johaug 2nd, 2.5 seconds back, while Kristin Størmer Steira took bronze 23.6 seconds back.  Kerttu Niskanen of Finland took 4th place, 1 min 21.7 behind the winner.

The three Norwegians went ahead of the field early in the race and opened a gap that left them in a tight group and out of sight to the others at times.  

Kristin Størmer Steira takes her first individual Olympic medal after winning a gold in the relay in Vancouver four years ago.  In previous Olympic games she has had four 4th-place finishes so today's medal is a big milestone in her career.  For Bjørgen this is her sixth Olympic gold and this is the first time that this event has been won by a Norwegian.

Heidi Weng stayed with the mortals and finished in 19th place.

"I have tried hard for so long.  It's a very long time since I won a medal at a championship", said Kristin Størmer Steira on TV2.

Photos: http://www.vg.no/bildespesial/spesial.php?id=11417

Dagen idag, den kan bli vår beste dag
Title: Success for Norway in the 30k
Post by: Alan on February 22, 2014, 02:15:03 PM
Marit Bjørgen beat Therese Johaug into second place in the end, while Kristin Størmer Steira took the bronze medal that had eluded her for so many years.

"This distance has been a target for me this season.  This has been a dream and I achieved it", said Bjørgen (33) after taking her third gold at Sochi.  "30k is the distance I most wanted to win at the Olympics.  I felt really good waking up today, it felt like a good day and I felt ready for it", she told TV2 after the race.  "We had a downturn after the relay but that's forgotten now".

"Marit is a fantastic athlete.  She is the greatest and I am very happy she has another gold from these games.  I have looked up to her since I was ten, she is part of our team and a very good friend.  I am very happy for her", said Therese Johaug at the press conference.  "I am really pleased with the run and the team effort.  We had gone hardly ten kilometres when we took a lead, and we used it as a team", Johaug told TV2.

Steira at last has taken an individual Olympic medal, and smiled broadly at the finish.  "I had a very bad day in the duathlon and I don't know what went wrong.  I have kept quiet about my thoughts that it was just a bad day, and I have confirmed it here today", said Steira to TV2.  "It went pretty well as far as 25k, but I had enough to do to stay in it and run evenly.  That is really my strength.  I had hopes of being able to do a quick finish, but couldn't manage it", said Steira, who ran out of the energy needed to compete for a win.

It quickly became clear that the Norwegians were having a good day and would live up to the heavy expectations placed on them.  After ten kilometres Bjørgen, Steira and Johaug drove away from the rest of the field, and they raced together in full control until the time came for them to contest the medal places among themselves.  At 20 kilometres the trainers wanted them to change skis, but they sped past the ski station and the outstretched arms of the preparation team.  

With a 50-second gap behind them it was not a reckless gamble to continue with the same skis.  "Therese and I decided not to change skis", said Steira.  "Marit was undecided, but she looked round and obviously thought that if she stopped, we would get away.  We got the message from the trainers at 15-17 kilometres that we should change skis, but we shouted back that we were not going to", said Steira at the press conference.  

At 28 kilometres Steira accepted that she would have to settle for bronze and that her teammates would battle for gold.  The ski trip with friends turned into a battle for supremacy.  Johaug made the first move but at 29 kilometres Bjørgen established a lead of several metres, which Johaug could not answer.  Bjørgen now has six golds in total plus three silvers and a bronze, which makes her the most successful woman at the Winter Olympics.  


Norway's cross-country ski results:
15k duathlon: gold Marit Bjørgen, bronze Heidi Weng
Sprint: gold Maiken Caspersen Falla, silver Ingvild Flugstad Østberg
10k classic: bronze Therese Johaug
Relay (5th)
Team Sprint: gold Bjørgen & Østberg
30k: gold Bjørgen, silver Johaug, bronze Kristin Størmer Steira.

Gold 4, silver 2, bronze 3.  
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: law10 on February 22, 2014, 03:09:36 PM
A clean sweep, and some great salve for the wounds.  They've really turned things around.  I woke up and watched the first 5k and then fell back asleep on the sofa.  Charlotte Kalla was right with them at that point.  What blew my mind was how fast they were going, I think it was 11 minutes or something ridiculous like that.  It was like they were sprinting.

Hopefully the men can close out the 50k tomorrow with something special as well.
Title: Steira's success after years of trying
Post by: Alan on February 22, 2014, 05:00:53 PM
Kristin Størmer Steira (32) got a good hug from her father Kjell Arne Steira today after her first individual Olympic medal - six years after he persuaded his daughter to continue her skiing career.

After four 4th-place finishes in previous games Steira reached her goal at last, and there were tears when she met her parents after the race.  "I'm so glad you're here", she told them.  She is well known for finishing in the bitter fourth place, the winner among all those who do not get a medal.  At the Olympics it has always been 'nearly'.  So it was a sweet moment for the family from East Finnmark when Steira took bronze in the grand finale of the women's competition in Sochi, the 'tremila'.

"This is a big day for me", she told NRK.no.  "I have tried so many times without success.  I have medals from the World Cup series, but the Olympics are special".  In 2006 in Turin she had three 4th-places, but her worst experience came in the Vancouver games four years ago when she was tipped for bronze in the final stages of the 15-kilometre duathlon but narrowly beaten by Justyna Kowalczyk in a photo-finish.

One of her worst moments came after a poor finish in a World-Cup event in Italy in 2008.  "I shared a room with Therese (Johaug) and sat on my bed weeping.  I said to her, 'I don't want any more of this'".  Then her father phoned.

"I was at the junior Norwegian championship with our youngest daughter", said Kjell Arne Steira.  "I said we would say no more about skiing until she had calmed down, come home and done some ski trips in fine weather.  'Then you will see if you want to continue', I said".

Six years later Steira said there was a party that night in Bormio, which helped her mood.  "We had a good party and the next day I felt all right to continue", she smiled.  But the road to Sochi has been a long one and the tears rolled when she met her parents today.  "When I realised there would be a medal I thought it would be an experience that no-one would begrudge Kristin.  This bronze is as good as a gold for her", said Kjell Arne Steira.

Today's bronze-winner did not allow herself to think of a medal before the final slope.  "I have tried many times for a good day when the skis run perfectly.  Now it's happened I can only go round smiling", said Kristin Størmer Steira.

Anders Rove Bentsen http://www.nrk.no/sport/steira-tok-etterlengtet-medalje-1.11562761  
Title: Re: Winter Olympics 2014
Post by: Alan on February 23, 2014, 11:16:37 AM
After becoming history's best woman Winter Olympian on Saturday by winning the 30-kilometre cross-country event, Marit Bjørgen said that it is unlikely she will be competing in the next Olympics in 2018.  "The years are going by and I would like to start a family.  I have already said that I would not want to come back if I eventually become a mother because I could not give it my full concentration", said Bjørgen to NRK.no.

NRK expert Fred Børre Lundberg, a former Olympic champion, has been her partner for many years, and admitted that a family had been a theme that they had discussed.  "We talked about it to each other but she must keep on with skiing as long as she wants.  I am not pushing her one way or the other.  That's all I will say about it", said Lundberg.

While Marit Bjørgen has been enyjoying the highs and lows of Norway's fortunes in Sochi, her partner has been working for NRK in Oslo.  Bjørgen admitted that she was feeling very far down after the 10-kilometre and relay races, but then she staged a comeback with gold in the team sprint and the 30k.  "I was not worried after the 10k because it wasn't a bad run.  They finished 5th.  But it can quickly attack the confidence.  The win in the team sprint was very important", said Lundberg.  The mood was high after the 30k.  "I spoke a little with all of them and they were very pleased with the run.  They are looking forward to coming home, and I take that as a good sign", he smiled.

Although Bjørgen is not sure about 2018 she is looking forward hugely to the World Championships in Falun next year.  She will try to capture gold in the only event she has failed in so far, the 10k freestyle.  "It's difficult to sit here and say what will be happening in four years.  What is certain is that I am highly motivated for Falun.  Then we'll see", she said on Saturday.

First of all Bjørgen will be gunning for Therese Johaug's lead in the overall points total in this season's World Cup series.  Johaug has a 206-point lead over her teammate, while Astrid Urenholdt Jacobsen is only 19 points in front of Bjørgen.  The contest continues in Lahti, Finland, next weekend with the sprint and the 10k freestyle.      

Arriving back at Gardermoen, video: http://www.nrk.no/sport/videoklipp/gulljentene-motatt-med-klem-og-gratulasjoner-1.11566986

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