Saturday, March 26, 2011

Retiring Skiers

The last races at Falun were something, pretty much laying waste to the fields. Here's the finish area as the also-rans come in from the women's 10k:

The race was the end of the great Petra Majdic's career, which led to some silliness, like Kowalcyzk's headband:

Madjic's suit:

and the donation of some home-making supplies to the Slovene:

I can't quantify this, but the XC skiing news streams seem to suggest that a greater-than-usual number of racers are retiring this spring. Below, a list of WC skiers who are retiring now or have already retired this season.

Jens Filbrich (Germany)
George Grey (Canada)
Tor Ruud Hofstad (Norway)
Jaak Mae (Estonia)
Börre Naess (Norway)
Jens Arne Svartedal (Norway)
Andrus Veerpalu (Estonia)
Vincent Vittoz (France)

Arianna Follis (Italy)
Petra Majdic (Slovenia)
Pirjo Muranen (Finland)
Kristin Størmer-Steira (Norway)

The retiring men are an accomplished group, but clearly beyond their best days. Some of the women, though, are going out on top. Ms. Fourth Place, Steira, has been a front-pack racer for years (though she earned more wooden medals than metal ones). Follis took the silver in the WC sprint and finished third in the overall WC, with six podiums this season, including a win in the freestyle sprint in Dusseldorf. Majdic won the bronze in the freestyle sprint at the World Championships and took the sprint WC this year, finishing on the podium seven times, including wins at Obersdorf and Toblach in the Tour de Ski and Otepaa and Stockholm in regular WC races.

Figuring that Follis and Majdic accounted for more than a dozen podium finishes this year, the racing - especially in the sprints - should be quite a bit more wide open next year. Right, Kikkan?


kuan said...

Brett Favre...

kuan said...

Oh wait wrong blog ;)

I'm gonna miss Majdic. I had really high hopes for her but felt like her busted ribs prevented her from doing better this season. I was really looking forward to seeing her next year.

Unknown said...

Vincent Vittoz from France is also retiring after 16 years on the WC stage and a last podium in Lahti.

yvesson said...

Hej, I can't believe KSS retires, havn't read that anywhere else.
Last year she wanted to qualify the 5000m track-and-field at the european championships but failed to qualified because she was injured and thus didn't record the required time. But it seemed like motivation for more seasons of high level sports. Maybe she's feeling her body can't do that as she had less good results this year and so many young norwegian talents may let her out of the A-team, or at least the Norway I relay next year.

Christopher Tassava said...

I don't believe Favre stays retired, but I'll bet he doesn't switch to skiing!

Steira's retirement was talked about at Worlds, and the Eurosport commentators were chatting about it during the Falun races. Maybe it's not 100% for sure, but a likelihood?

I can't believe I missed Vittoz - reading the articles about his retirement was what motivated me to write this post! Aargh.

Anonymous said...

I think KSS is considering it but haven`T decide.

Out of the retirees im gone miss Madjic the most i really feel bad for her she never got a championship gold despite been the best sprinter on the world cup for many years.