Gold and Hardware in Falun
Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg dominated the cross-country team sprint and helped Norway to gold at the 2015 FIS World Championships. But there were plenty of highlights across the board this weekend.
Ingvild Flugstad Oesteberg (NOR) has dominated the sprints and the short distances ever since the World Cup started in November. She earned a gold medal in the team sprint and a silver medal in the individual sprint at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Sunday, she was back for more, helping Norway to the gold in Falun by a huge margin.
Oestberg went out determined on her first lap. She increased the gap on her second lap, and on her final lap, she appeared to gain a second on each pole plant. Norway won by almost 10 seconds in a sprint, where the teams usually are separated by fractions of a second.
“This means a lot to me. I have known Maiken (Caspersen Falla) for so long, we have pushed each other for years, making each other better. So winning this medal WITH her if huge,” Oestberg said after her race.
Oh So Close!
Championship rookie Didrik Toenseth (NOR) was looking at a podium finish in his very first FIS Nordic World Championships event, the 30km duathlon on Saturday. Now he’s looking at more pushups.
“I was leading for about half of the race, and thinking that ‘this is it.’ I’m going to nail it today,” Toenseth said about the first half of the race. But then about halfway through, Toenseth hit the wall.
“In the middle of the race, I was just thinking that I needed to just finish and go home and work on pushups,” Toenseth said.
But he fought his way back and with just a couple of kilometers to go, he was in the top three. Toenseth kept his position until the final stretch to the finish line, and barely missed the podium in the last five meters. He collapsed across the finish line. In a very impressive fourth place.
(Story continues below)
The gold that slipped away
Toenseth wasn’t the only case of “Oh So Close” this weekend. Magnus Moan and his Norwegian teammates were chasing the gold in the Nordic Combined team competition Sunday afternoon.
Norway was fifth after the jumping competition, and ended up taking home the silver medal, 23 seconds shy of the gold.
“We take home a medal. Right now we are just a little bit disappointed, but we’ll brush that off and look ahead,” Moan said after the race.
Moan skied the first leg for Norway, started 28 seconds behind Germany in first place, and sent his teammate out only 4.4 seconds behind Germany.
(Story continues below)
Chasing a medal
Heidi Weng (NOR) is not entirely satisfied with the start of the championships, and seventh place in the women’s 15km duathlon (7.5km classic +7.5km skate) on Saturday was short of her own expectations.
“My body just wasn’t there. The classic portion of the race was really tough, and it’s almost never hard for me to ski classic. Then after we switched to skating, I wasn’t even really racing. I just wanted to get to the finish,” Weng said after her race, admitting that she had higher expectations for the World Championships.
“I had a really races in Tour de Ski. I thought I would have even better races now. But it didn’t turn out like that,” said Weng.
Tuesday, she has another shot at a medal in the women’s 10km skate, one of her favorite events.
Schedule for the rest of the 2015 FIS World Championships in Falun (SWE)
All times are Central European Time (CET)
Feb 24: 10km freestyle women, at 1:30pm
Feb 25: 15km freestyle men, at 1:30pm
Feb 26: Relay women (4x5km), at 1:30pm
Feb 27: Relay men (4×7.5km), at 1:30pm
Feb 28: 30km Classic mass start women, at 1pm
March 1: 50km Classic mass start men, at 1:30pm
Feb 26: Gundersen Large Hill/10km, jumping at 10am, XC at 3:15pm
Feb 28: Team Sprint Large Hill/2×7.5km, jumping at 10am, XC at 4pm