2.24.13 World Champion in the house!
2.24.13 World Champions in the house. This is Jessie's latest post, written the day before she became the World Champion in the Team Sprint with Kikkan Randall. -AC
Hello MYSL Kids! This week something pretty special and exciting is going on
– the World Championship races! Everybody knows that the Olympics are held every 4 years, but the World Champs is every 2 years – the year before and the year after the Olympics. This year the World Championship series is in Val di Fiemme (where I wrote to you from the Tour de Ski) and once again the US Ski Team is staying in Predazzo, a town near the race courses. There are Ski Jumping events, Nordic Combined (ski jumping + cross-country skiing) and Cross Country races.
Everyone has been training hard and preparing all year for these races…they are the highlight of the season, and this week some people will reach their goals, some will be disappointed, some will have a surprise breakout performance, and everyone will have a chance to race against the very best in the world. In Cross Country, the races being held are (in order): classic sprint, 15km skiathalon (where you ski the first half classic, then switch to skate), skate team sprint, 10km skate, 4x5km relay (first two people classic, second two people skate), and the 30km classic. The men race the same events but the distances are longer (30km skiathalon, 15km skate, 4x10km relay, 50km classic) and their sprint course is 0.3km longer as well.
The events I am most excited about are…the team events! No surprises there. I even chose to skip the classic sprint and skiathalon events in order to rest up for tomorrow’s skate team sprint. I will be racing with Kikkan (who also skipped the skiathalon in order to rest) and we know that if all goes well, we have a chance to medal. Sprinting can get crazy, and you never know what will happen, but believing in yourself and your teammate and knowing that you can do it bring a lot to the start line. So hopefully all the pieces fall into place tomorrow! The other events I am racing in are the 10km skate, the 4x5km relay (I’ll be one of the skate legs), and the 30km classic race. I’m really excited to see how the week plays out.
Skiers from Around the World:
In order to get a start right at the World Championships, you need to have skied a FIS race and scored a certain FIS point-value that is low enough. So there were skiers from some countries that hadn’t yet skied fast enough in a race to qualify. To give them a chance to earn a starting bib, there were qualifying races right before the start of World Champs: a 5km skate for girls, and a 10km skate for boys. The top-10 finishers from each race would be allowed to start in the individual races at World Champs. I think that’s really cool because it lets even more people get a chance to race!
The fans of Nordic Skiing in Europe are pretty amazing, and especially the fans from Scandinavia. Right by the side of the trail is the Norwegian “Viking Camp”, where about twenty tents are set up with Norwegian flags all over the place. The fans of the Norwegian skiers take up their own section of the stadium, and I think it’s pretty fun because although they’re not cheering for our team, they still make a ton of noise!
Cool things about Predazzo/Val di Fiemme:
Every day, from about 1-3:30 in the afternoon, all the shops here close down, and the owners go home to eat lunch, take a nap, have a coffee. It definitely slows down business, and you have to time your shopping just right because a number of times I’ve walked to the store only to remember that it’s closed, and then I have to sit and wait!
The USA Women’s Ski Jumping coach, Paolo Bernardi (pronounced “Pah-low”) is from Predazzo, and has a house here! He has been working with the women’s team for a couple years now, and before that he worked for the Nordic Combined USA athletes. This week, USA’s Sarah Hendrickson won Gold in the ski jumping competition, and is now the World Champion! This was extremely exciting for the whole team, and especially Paolo, since he saw his athlete win in front of his hometown crowd. It was definitely a very inspiring moment!
The race venue at Val di Fiemme was the site of the 2003 World Championships, and the race organizers here are no strangers to big races. Since the Tour de Ski ends here and they’ve hosted World Champs before, the race trails are really hard, challenging, well-groomed, and wide enough for 6 classic tracks!
Training Tip: I hope you got a chance sometime in the last few practices to try using the 3-point checklist we talked about in the last training tip! Training your mind is just as important as training your body to go fast, but this week’s tip is more about what to work on while you’re skiing. Speed! In honor of the sprints going on this week, when you are at practice this week try doing some ten-second speeds. When you only do a sprint for ten seconds, it’s not enough to make you super tired, which means you can do a couple of them, as long as you rest well in-between. Sprinting for a short time teaches your arms and legs to move fast and be coordinated. And maybe best of all…going fast is FUN!
Have fun powering up those hills!
US Ski Team sporting their MYSL tshirts