Well, I caved in and subscribed. The TV presentation isn’t perfect – the producer doesn’t always manage to be showing us what it is that the commentator is talking about, but it’s not a bad replacement for being there, at a fraction of the cost…

So, today it was the “sprint“, in other words about 3 km in about 15 minutes. Catherine asked me what I was watching, and then she asked me if she could sit on my knee and watch the women’s race with me. 🙂 The men’s and women’s courses were almost identical – out of the centre of Trondheim, over the bridge and up to the castle before returning downtown – with several legs requiring a quick decision about which way to go. It was a good day at the office for the three British runners, all of whom finished in the top 20. Meanwhile I felt sorry for last year’s winner, Helena Jansson of Sweden, who led all the way round only to outsprinted on the finishing straight by Simone Niggli-Luder, the Swiss runner who seems to make a habit of winning gold medals.

The men’s race was even more competitive, with six runners finishing within five seconds of each other. Again, we saw the importance of pushing hard right to the line: the eventual winner, Matthias Müller, was in fourth place about 30 seconds out from the finish. Martin Johansson is gutted that he got squeezed out of the medals. Of the GB runners, Scott Fraser was just outside that leading group, but got disqualified for failing to dib control 17. If it hadn’t been for that, all our men would’ve been in the top 20 too. You have to hand it to the Swiss team, though: two races, two golds plus a silver. They know how to win medals.

Finally, more thoughts on those route choices. The problem with them is that if they’re obviously not equidistant, giving the choice is pointless, and if they are (almost) equidistant it’s unfair, since none of the runners (except perhaps those that live in the town) will know what advantage, if any, can be gained by going left or right. So I think it’s fair to consider that the sprint race, when compared with the cross-country races, is somewhat of a fun event. To win the sprint is no mean achievement, but it may be more luck than judgement that saw the medals go to Müller, Hertner and Tranchand, rather than to Østerbø, Johansson and Wingstedt…

Follow the rest of the week’s action at http://worldofo.com/.

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