[Updated with some GPS-illustrations and GPS-animations of last leg] Sweden won both the men’s and the women’s relay at the last day of the World Orienteering Championships 2019 in Norway after a thriller relay. In the women’s class silver and bronze went to Switzerland and Russia – in the men’s Finland and France joined Sweden on the podium.
Both in the men’s and the women’s relay we had very tight battles for the medals – with mistakes on the last leg making it exciting for the viewers.
Women: Switzerland against Sweden
In the women’s class Switzerland’s Julia Jakob started out on the last leg a few seconds ahead of Sweden’s Karolin Ohlsson. Behind the two top teams there were three teams around 1:30 behind – Russia, Norway and Czech Republic. It soon became clear that the battle for victory was between Sweden and Switzerland who followed each other throughout the course (which was mostly unforked, only a small forking at the very start of the leg). In the end Ohlsson was stronger in the finish sprint, and could decide the race for Sweden with Switzerland in silver position. Behind Russia and Norway had a tough battle for bronze, with Russia’s Natalia Gemperle winning the finish sprint ahead of Norway’s Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg.
Men: Mistake by Dæhli – Bergman alone in the lead
In the men’s class Norway Norway’s Magne Dæhli started out alone on the last leg, but after a mistake early on the leg Finland’s Miika Kirmula and Sweden’s Gustav Bergman caught up with him. Some minutes later Dæhli did a bit mistake with Kirmula, and suddenly Bergman had a gap of more than a minute which he never let go off. From behind France, Czech Republic and Switzerland (nearly) got contact after another mistake by Dæhli, and suddenly there were four teams in the battle for silver. Finland and France got a gap at the 15th control which they managed to keep to the finish. Finland won this battle – with Czech Republic and Norway finishing 4th and 5th.
Here is Dæhli’s mistake on the 3rd control, allowing Bergman and Kirmula to catch up:
Here is the miss of Dæhli and Kirmula after the arena passage, where Bergman got away:
After control 7 Dæhli had a seemingly safe gap to the others in the battle for silver, but the mistake at control 14 allowed Finland and France to slip past:
Kirmula and Dæhli took different routechoices to control 16, and both were 20 seconds faster than Bergman. Dæhli however had some seconds to catch on Kirmula, and equal time with Kirmula was not enough.
Maps and GPS-tracking
That gps animation does’t show how Karolin Ohlsson decided the battle against Julia Jakob
Yeah, not easy to see in the GPS. She decided it by staying behind all the way and then passing in the finish sprint.
Wow, the last leg of the mens relay really turned the experience into a whole new thing. I was just about to summarize the whole race as lacking real challenges, having too much transport running and…Norway wins as usual anyway. But with the last years king of last relay legs, Magne Daehli, not only losing the battle for gold but also missing out on the medals altogether, I stand corrected…
I do not quite agree with this conclusion: “Finland won this battle ahead of France due to a better routechoice in the end”
Finland and France had the same route choice, as far as I can tell. If you are thinking about Finland versus Norway, I think there was only a 1 second difference on the last long leg.
That’s right – “Finland won this battle ahead of France due to higher speed from the second last control and over the golfcourse to the finish” would be more accurate.
Thanks, of course you are right. Updated now!