Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Røiseland already a legend. A lesson to everyone that someone who wasn't a child prodigy or very good as a junior can still become the greatest by hard work and hard headed will.
True and Fillon Maillet is a similar example in the men's side even if didn't have the same level before this year. Today's performance from Olsbu was brutal, she had lost 20 seconds to Elvira Öberg in Ruhpolding and now beats her by 30 seconds, she should become one of athletes of these Olympics. Great race from Rezstova too, one of the strongest on the track today if she improves her shooting she should get a medal in the next 2 races
 
Got to be happy for Niskanen especially after what happened with his sister yesterday. I wouldn't rule out Finland to get a medal especially for the relay where they seem to be favourite for bronze.

Bolshunov wasn't as good but he still did a very good race, he can't reach 5 golds anymore in these games but 5 medals seem likely (maybe 4 golds!) which should make him the athlete of the games.

Klæbo really strong this time to get his first individual distance medal ever but this is historically his best race so I can't see him getting a medal in the 50km only in the team sprint and in the relay, although Norway will have a hard time for the latter one especially if they don't have Krüger for the third leg.
France is also looking like a contender for Bronze in tge men's relay.
 
I might be happy with that. Feels strange, but in the relays Norway should have good chances in both of the biathlon relays and in nordic combined. In xc it is hard to see us as anything else than medal contenders at best.
It's a shame the women weren't here, that would be another 2 guaranteed golds (individual and relay) 3 if there was a mixed relay.
 
The big risk for the Russians is whether or not to put in Ustiugov in the relay. In form, he wouldn’t have too many problems, but currently nobody knows where his form is at. By the results so far, it seems logical to have Chervotkin, Bolshunov, Spitsov and Maltsev as the relay team. The hope would be to blow up the race during the classic legs. I wonder where the Finns put Hyvarinen, on the first leg or one of the skate legs? If he’s the first leg, he could hand over to Niskanen close to the lead, then Bolshunov and Niskanen could work together to break the race open.
 
It's a shame the women weren't here, that would be another 2 guaranteed golds (individual and relay) 3 if there was a mixed relay
It is a shame that they aren't there regardless of who would take the medals. And the women ski jumpers should be allowed to compete in the big hill. The quality and competition is good enough. The excuses from FIS and IOC are no longer valid. I'm sure it is room in the program as well. Hopefully they will all be there in the next olympics.
 
Interesting lineup for the Finnish women, Kyllönen, Matintalo, Niskanen and Pärmäkoski. They really don’t have strong distance skate skiers, apart from Niskanen and Pärmäkoski, and those two are better in classic. There hope is that they won’t lose too much in the first half and then they’ll try to make up whatever deficit they have.

The Russians have Stupak, Nepryaeva, Sorina, and Stepanova. The same lineup that won in Lillehammer in December. I am wondering if having Rygalina instead of Sorina would have been a better pick, because she was 8th in the skiathlon and had the third fastest time in the skate part. Perhaps they think that 5km is a bit too short for her. Having a youngster as your anchor in the Olympics could be seen as risky as well, but Stepanova has shown strong resolve and is tactically very astute for someone with her youth and inexperience. I am also wondering what the weather will do in the second half of the Olympics. If it continues to get warmer, it could be tricky conditions. Though I suppose it would be worse if it snowed, because wax technicians have said that’s the most difficult part of the area, if new snow comes in it totally changes the complexion of the snow, even when it clears out and it’s sunny. Also interested in seeing how Nepryaeva has recovered from that tough result yesterday. Hopefully it only motivates her to give everything tomorrow and get herself a second medal at these Olympics.

Sweden going with Dahlqvist, Andersson, Karlsson, and Sundling. That is the logical quarter, and while I first thought why Karlsson as the skate skier and not Andersson, I think now that because Andersson had a better race yesterday and finished more than 30 seconds ahead of Karlsson. Karlsson looked dead at the finish yesterday. She was on the snow for a while. Can she recover physically and mentally? Sundling as the finisher makes sense, she’s the best sprinter in the world at the moment, and it seemed like she could have gone another heat or two in the sprint race. I don’t think lasting the 5km will be too difficult, although you never know at altitude and that sort of snow and toughness of the course. Perhaps Ribom as the first leg skier instead of Dahlqvist was a better option, but Dahlqvist is still in decent form.

There’s the Norwegians with their quartet. They are obviously hoping that Weng doesn’t lose too much time and that Johaug has a strong leg. Putting Haga in fourth may seem strange, but without Heidi Weng and Kalvå, they really didn’t have too many choices. They are hoping that she’s given a lead and can maintain it, but apart from Johaug, the Norwegian women are just not skiing well at the moment. They could be out of the medals completely. That said, any team could be out of the medals if they miss the wax or someone loses a big chunk of time. On that altitude and those courses, it can happen.

The Germans I expect to challenge for a medal as well. They have two strong classic skiers, Sauerbrey and Hennig, Carl is a solid skier, and then Krehl, who is their weakest skier in that quarter, but again, if all 4 can put down a good performance they definitely have shot at the medals.

The last team with a chance are the Americans. They’re just hoping that Swirbul doesn’t lose a lot of time on the opening leg. If she loses 30 seconds or more, than that will be very hard. They perhaps should have put Diggins in third to maybe ensure a high position before the last leg and hope that McCabe can hang on, but it’s still a decent team with a chance.
 
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Røiseland already a legend. A lesson to everyone that someone who wasn't a child prodigy or very good as a junior can still become the greatest by hard work and hard headed will.
Seems a similar career path to Tora Berger, who hadn't won a race until nearly 26 either. The way she suddenly went from a shoot-first athlete you hide in a leadoff role to a ski-first athlete and one of the best anchors in the sport so suddenly at the Holmenkollen Worlds in 2016 is crazy, but she's basically been that athlete ever since. And putting 20 seconds into everybody on the skis and hitting 10 targets, there was no chance anybody was going to get close.

Ida Lien putting in a top 5 ski time is eye-catching too, although she is fresh having not done the Mixed Relay or Individual. Unfortunately for her, though, in comparison to those other top skiing athletes, she shot with all the pace of Elvira Öberg and all the accuracy of Hanna Sola.

Reztsova's ski time is pretty eyebrow-raising too, she's been way better this season than even had she had a linear progression from her relatively promising 2019-20 showings (she skipped 2020-21 due to motherhood), but even so, top 3 is outlyingly strong for her, and she will be a major threat in the pursuit, as she has most definitely not inherited the family trait for falling apart in head to head racing and pressure shoot situations.
 
Looks like the german team used honey as wax today. Herrmann only 15th course time. Vanessa Hinz almost missed the pursuit. And the plan b option Anna Weidel is even worse.

Skiing like this can probably now miss 3 in the pursuit (maybe even 4), everyone else shoots clean and she still wins.
Twenty years ago Kati Wilhelm dropped from 1st to 2nd with missing 4, while Olga Medvedtseva shot 19/20 and won coming back from 1:03 down in the Sprint. Normally it is very difficult to catch up more than a minute to win a pursuit. Happened only seven times in the history of women's biathlon.
 
Norwegian commentators made a point today that Reztsovas mother was the first olympic champion in a woman's sprint 30 years ago on the exact same day. They speculated in the fact that her daughter could repeat the achievement. Former Norwegian coach, Stein Gruben then had a dry reply: What do you mean "repeat"? Winning or doing 3 penalty laps? (Reztsova won the gold in 92 even though she missed 3 shots in the last shooting)
 
Interesting lineup for the Finnish women, Kyllönen, Matintalo, Niskanen and Pärmäkoski. They really don’t have strong distance skate skiers, apart from Niskanen and Pärmäkoski, and those two are better in classic. There hope is that they won’t lose too much in the first half and then they’ll try to make up whatever deficit they have.
I don't think it's the right approach, especially with Stupak likely to put the hammer down from the start. In skating, I struggle to see Kerttu closing biggish gaps on a what's gonna be sth like 4 or 5 teams ahead.

I'm pleasently surprised how the German's are handling it, though: maximize the potential of the first three starters, launch Krehl close to the lead, and hope for the best.
 
Yeah I find that ridiculous. The men’s race today used two laps of 7.5km, the women’s race was 2x5km. They clearly want the teams tightly packed for as long as possible. I don’t want to see huge margins either, but making the loops shorter and easier is not good, you can’t force closer racing, it has to develop on its own. Same thing with the sprint course. It has way too much flat in the stadium area, no big hill which also means no downhill.
 
I don't think it's the right approach, especially with Stupak likely to put the hammer down from the start. In skating, I struggle to see Kerttu closing biggish gaps on a what's gonna be sth like 4 or 5 teams ahead.

I'm pleasently surprised how the German's are handling it, though: maximize the potential of the first three starters, launch Krehl close to the lead, and hope for the best.
I think that’s a good set up. Last season they had Gimmler in first and Fink in third. That was also a good lineup, but Gimmler hasn’t skied as well this season, particularly in distance races, and Sauerbrey has been a revelation for them. Krehl is a good sprinter and is a bit better in skate so that’s a logical pick. Last season the Germans were close to a medal in Oberstdorf, but Carl just couldn’t quite hang with Pärmäkoski and Diggins the second time up the Burgstall climb and they ended up 5th. The conditions were tricky for classic last season, and many struggled the second part of the 5km. It should be easier waxing. The course itself wasn’t too tough, but once you start losing kick, you can really start to lose time quickly, even on a milder course.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen the Finns putting in Niskanen on leg two to try and push the tempo, Joenssu on leg three. It’s too bad they don’t have a good skate skier or two, then they’d almost certainly put Kerttu or Krista on one or both of the classic legs, then we really would have seen some fireworks in the first two legs.
 

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