Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sizz-What and Boos for Bjoergen

While I have literally no idea how to actually pronounce this weekends' World Cup venue, there is no doubt in my mind that Poland will put on a show.

There are also loads of questions swirling about performances, at least in my mind.

Here are a few of the potential headlines:

- Can Kikkan Randall bounce back from illness and a weekend off of racing to win another skate sprint? Which is a must if she wants that Sprint Cup title...

- The American women batted .500 last weekend - Saturday was sub-par, but they responded well with a killer relay. While it says just how far American skiing has come this year to describe a World Cup point-free day as 'sub-par' - including Diggins finishing 33rd - will the hottest ladies on the circuit scoop up some much-needed points to ensure a berth at World Cup Finals in Sweden?

- The enigmatic Chandra Crawford. Before Christmas she lit the trails on fire. Aside from the city sprint in Milan, she's been asleep. Judging from her recent blog activity, she has had some difficult times in her personal life, and while the NCP wishes a speedy and full recovery for Crawford's mother, the questions regarding her racing form remain.Link
- What will the crowds be like? First-ever World Cup in Justyna-mad Poland - if the World Cups that I have been to and the few rabid Polish fans I've met are any indication, it's going to be a circus. Also - will we hear boos for Bjoergen? The ferocious debate between the fans of both camps makes NFL, MLB and NHL rivalries look tame (read the comments - the one about Kowalczyks parents feeling threatened is especially funny).

- And speaking of Justyna, will Kowalczyk respond to her home fans adoration by knocking the races out of the park? As the skate sprint and classic middle distance are arguably her two best events, the FIS has certainly tried to keep it fair...

- Devon Kershaw. We all know why, but thanks to Statistical Skier for summing it up so nicely.

- Can Emil Joensson regain his former unbeatable speed? This season sprinting has come up all Alexei Petukhov and Teodor Peterson because Joensson hasn't had the jam. Last seasons' Sprint Cup champion sits 18th in the Sprint Cup rankings - closer to missing the cut for World Cup Finals than a big honkin' paycheque.

- While we won't get to hear Andrew Musgrave's name 10,000 times as the quick Brit isn't starting, the Chinese are showing up with three men. Are they going to do well? Probably not, but who doesn't like rooting for an underdog?

Finally, while I do quite poorly in the prediction game most days, that doesn't stop me from making some...

Half Arsed Predictions


Suber1 said...

This is way late, but I was in Szklarska Poreba. Courses opened for ski testing at 9:30 for a 12:30 race, and the stands were 2/3rds full. The announcer made a point of saying that he'd talked to Marit Bjoergen before the race, and she said she was excited to race at such a great venue in front of such great fans. Of all the skiers there, only Bjoergen and Kowalcyzk rated police escorts through the venues.