Well, not me, but partly because I’m more interested in the guys…
Whew. It’s been a couple of days, let me tell you. Norwegians are a bit superstitious about relays - it ain’t over 'till it’s over. And this year that definitely proved true.
Take the women’s 4x5K relay, for instance. With Bente Skari still down with stomach problems, the Norwegian team wasn’t given much of a chance. But at the start of the third leg, Hilde G. Pedersen was 20 seconds in front of her nearest competitor. Until she fell! The team never really recovered after that, but held on for bronze. Gold to Germany, 23 seconds ahead of second-place Finland.
Then there’s the men’s 4x10K relay. You ready for this? Norwegians feeling sorry for the Swedes. Sweden had this one in the bag… everyone thought. Russia was well behind as the final leg began, and it was possible they would catch up, but the Russian skier fell further and further behind Jörgen Brink. Behind him, Axel Teichmann of Germany and Norway’s Thomas Alsgaard seemed to be taking it easy, engaged in a tactical battle for bronze. But out of the blue everything changed. The Russian skier (can’t find his name!) seemed to run out of gas, and Alsgaard and Teichmann picked up speed. Now they were in a three-way battle for second… but not for long, they were alone… and they caught up to Brink. Then Brink just faded out. Alsgaard and Teichmann were left to battle it out right to the finish line - Norway took gold by a hair over Germany, and Sweden had to settle for bronze.
I forgot to mention the Nordic combined team event - two jumps per team member off the normal hill (K95), followed by a 4x7.5K relay. I didn’t mention it because it was such a yawn - any suspense there might have been was over long before the finish. The two closest finishers were Austria (who took gold) and Germany (silver), twelve and a half seconds apart. Behind them the gaps just seemed to get wider and wider. Finland took the bronze, over a minute behind Germany.
Tomorrow it’s the sprints - FIS’ concession to television viewers with sixty second attention spans.