Friday, December 14, 2012

Rest Day

If I had forgotten how beautiful Canmore was, it is not the case anymore. The World Cup stop here has run very smoothly, with great conditions and weather. It's amazing to see what countries thrive when in Canmore. It is the 4th World Cup start here since 2005 and there really is a consistency to who stands on the podium. Yesterday's results with two German's on the podium. Tobias Angerer of Germany won here 7 years ago, and was third yesterday. It has been a while since a German was on a World Cup podium. This result was great for the sport of Cross Country skiing. Germany is by far the largest television market. On the women's side Anne Kylloenen of Finland recorded her first ever podium in second place and it was the first podium for a Finn since the World Championships in February 2011. Kikkan continued to ski strong finishing 6th yesterday. She finished in a pack that stretched from 3rd - 7th. She made a move on the final climb but put herself under and it cost her on the long homestretch. 6th place ties her best ever classic distance result. It's no fluke anymore, and she is definitely not just a sprinter. Pretty exciting to see her in the mix each weekend. What Canada lacks in a deep history of hosting World Cups, we have made up for with the enthusiasm of hosting. Quebec, brought thousands to watch an "event" more so than just a ski race, and celebrated with champagne and the anthem on the podium. Neither occurred on the previous World Cup stops. Here in Canmore the annual stop of the CP Rail Christmas Train was timed for last nights awards for the top 10 skiers from each gender. This train travels all the way across the country fully decorated with Chrismtas lights and stops in towns all along the way. There is a band on the train that plays on a stage that folds out from one of the freight cars. It was a huge hit for the athletes and spectators to see the train arrive and then go up on stage for the awards. Unique for a World Cup for sure.
My colleague Michal Lamplot and I looking official during the Quebec World Cups.
German Trio Katrin Zeller, Hanna Kolb, and Denise Hermann with Cross Country Canada's mascot Klister. Sault Ste. Marie's own Brady Dunne in the costume.
Vibeke Skofterud of Norway trying to climb Klister
Kikkan with Tim Tscharnke, yesterday's winner. His first ever World Cup podium, and it was a win on his birthday. The crowd sang happy birthday while he was on the Christmas Train.

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