The strong feelings involved – for both winners and losers – is what makes sports interesting. Read on for some selected moments from WOC 2013 – both the winners in pictures and the disappointments in the athletes own words.
All photos from WOC 2013 are posted on the World of O Facebook page – sorted by country:
Middle Bronze for Merja Rantanen
Merja Rantanen’s bronze in middle distance tasted like Gold: Easily the most happy face in Vuokatti all week!
– This was awesome. The bronze tastes very good. This is the top of my career! I have been dreaming about becoming world champion, and then in the relay. The next goal was to get an individual medal and now I have it.
Relay Bronze for Ukraine
Another Bronze medal which tasted like Gold: The Relay medal for Ukraine. Very unexpected – even for 2nd leg runner Kratov after sending Denys Sherbakov out on the last leg in the lead.
Sherbakov was in his own “bubble” during the relay: - I just thought about run, read map, run, read map, run, read map. Not look at other runners. I did not think about medals.
After finishing the relay, he ran directly to the EMIT readout to get the race result confirmed – before allowing himself to really start celebrating…
Sprint Gold for Mårten Boström
Mårten Boström is the outsider who won Gold on the opening discipline – sprint. Fantastic atmosphere in the stadium – extremely happy athlete!
- The loud supporting crowd gave me a tailwind and with the course being extremely demanding my strategy was the right one. As I finished the race it felt like I had done a perfect race – a feeling one wish to have along the way to avoid any side thoughts.
Long silver for Jani Lakanen
Running the race of your life on home ground is something very special – Jani Lakanen understood already when crossing the finish line that this was something special.
- The best thing on the long distance final and silver was THE FEELINGS I COULD GIVE THE SPECTATORS. The feelings were much bigger than I expected. [...] - The long distance qualification and final were the best races for me this season. The final was even the best race for me ever, both technically and physically.
Relay Gold for Norway
7 races without medals – and then the Gold medal came in the last opportunity for Norway. Gold tasted very good for the Norwegian women in the relay.
Heidi Østlid Bagstevold: – An incredibly lovely feeling to succeed along with a team – not just the two other girls, but also reserve Tone, coaches, support staff and the boys. Thanks a lot to all contributing.
Mari Fasting: – Few things can be compared to winning Gold in the relay. Relay is special. You don’t run for yourself – you don’t run only for the girls – you run for the Norwegian team and for Norway! To do a fantastic performance along with the others – and be able to share the pleasure and your experiences with your team mates is just not possible to describe.
Relay Gold for Russia
A very happy Russian team after relay gold for Russia! A new team with Gold medalist from the middle distance the day before on the first leg.
Leonid Novikov – too surprised to be really happy after the middle distance, but with relay gold everything was perfect: - I feel really great now – the best in my life. Yesterday I could not believe that it was true, but this was what I dreamed about.
Last leg runner Dmitry Tsvetkov: - I was running with the Swedish team for about two kilometers. Then I decided it was time to just do my own job.
Relay Bronze for Switzerland
Simone Niggli won three gold medals alone – and one bronze medal with her team on the relay. The relay medal looked like it tasted at least as good as the gold medals… Coming from behind – and with a tight fight against Tove Alexandersson for the Bronze medal – this brought forward the strong feelings for the Swiss team.
(Updated 18/7) No news from Niggli on her webpage yet
Niggli: - I (luckily) did not notice that the Swedish runner was just behind me until I turned around at the TV-control in the open field, where I noted the dangerous situation. But I could change gears and run securely to the last two controls.
Read more at the webpage of Simone Niggli (in German).
Middle Gold for Leonid Novikov
Leonid Novikov was the big surprise of this championships – coming from “nowhere” and becoming the king of the championships with two Gold medals. The Russian surprised himself just as much as he surprised everybody else – and it took some time until he managed to show his happiness…
3 x Gold for Simone Niggli
With 3 x individual Gold, Simone Niggli was the big, big winner in this World Championships. With 23(!) WOC gold medals – and being the big favourite in all races – the feelings are not as strong as the first time.
Read more at the webpage of Simone Niggli (in German).
Winner & loser: Gold and silver for Thierry Gueorgiou
After Gold on the long distance early in the championships, everything looked like Thierry Gueorgiou could become the big winner of the Championships with his favourite discipline the middle distance left – along with a relay with excellent medal chances for France. However, Gueorgiou “failed” in the middle distance and “only” took silver – and nobody will remember that Gueorgiou did a fantastic race at the last leg of the relay – winning the leg with 3(!) minutes, taking France in to 8th spot.
There wasn’t room for all winners here – but Edgars Bertuks (3rd in Long), Gustav Bergman (3rd in middle, silver in relay), Lena Eliasson (3rd in long), Yannick Michiels (12th and new Belgian record in Sprint), are definitely worth a read. Also nice reads: Miguel Silva (Portugal), Tomas Dlabaja (Czech Repulic), Helen Palmer (Great Britain).
Update: See also Tove Alexandersson’s blog (2 x silver and the big woman star of the WOC in Vuokatti except for Niggli – on the way to be the next “Simone Niggli”), Cat Taylor’s blog post (10th on long, 1st long qualification, good first relay leg for Great Britain)- focusing hard, steep curve upwards – look out for her the next years…
The disappointments: More blog entries about WOC 2013
At the World Champs there are many, many athletes working hard to achieve high goals – and many don’t manage to reach their goals. If you are like Anders Nordberg, you find it even more interesting to read the stories about the ones not achieving their goals than the winners. Most of them have already started preparing for WOC in Italy in 2014 – writing about it on their blog is just part of the travel to the next big goals. Here are some of the stories in their own words:
- Frederic Tranchand: WOC 2013 – I didn’t find the flow. - It’s again a huge disappointment in sprint in important competition after several other crashes (miss punch…) the last few years. [...] - The relay is an elimination race: every team start in the same line and use to run in a front group until some team miss and are eliminated. For us, it already happened on my way to the 2nd control.
- Milos Nykodym: I had just one chance and I screwed it up. - After my analyses I found out I made almost all route choices wrong. And this caused a huge gap after incredible Mårten [...] Unfortunately my worst sprint performance this year.
- Carl Waaler Kaas: Am I allowed to be disappointed? (Norwegian) - The feeling after the races was disappointment. Over not getting out 100% of what I was good for.
- Daniel Hubmann: Missed the goal narrowly (German) – Good and solid, but not super – and therefore no medal.
- Anders Nordberg: 13 on long – 16 on middle (Norwegian) - During the championships I had problems finding the good feeling, the fast legs and the pleasure at finding the controls.
- Tue Lassen: Game over - This WOC has been different and more difficult, than I have tried before.
- Ross Morrison: O-no! My last (real) WOC. - This time around things seemed to unravel rather than culminate – making it my worst WOC (result-wise) since Denmark in 2006. It’s especially annoying to have this ‘bad year’ when due to the new changes by the IOF it could be the last chance I get to compete in a WOC middle or long.
- Matthias Kyburz: Flowers, paper and leather (German). – The disappointment after the sprint was big. The title was my goal, it was enough for a 5th place. I wanted a medal, I got flowers.
- Fabien Pasquasy: Game over. - It was not the end I was aiming for but bad days happens (just to be polite). I was probably back in really good shape (we’ll never know) after 2-3 years of family project. But a really bad injury happened after 15min of running in long qualification.
- Lina Strand: World Champs 2013 – All that glimmers (Swedish). - The World Champs was far away from what I hoped for about the races. The results. The number of controls I hit and legs I did well. Dreams were crushed and tears came. On the other hand the World Champs have been just as good as I barely hoped to dream about. Everything around has been very, very good.
- Rahel Friedrichs: No Sotkamo party for me (German). - I ran a race without mistakes, but often a too long route and did not have the fastest legs.
There will probably be even more of these stories on World of O the coming days and weeks – but now WOC is over for this time for the author of this article – holiday is calling – so you’ll have to dig the stories out from here yourself.