Most Improved: Sprint 2011
Continuing on from my previous posts looking at some skiers who saw a lot of improvement (or not) in distance events last season, we turn our attention to sprinting. You can refer back to those posts for a more detailed look at the methodology we’re using. Of course, with sprinting we don’t have fancy percent back based measures, but I’m still going to use a proportional improvement measure, rather than absolute improvement so that the top skiers get a fair shake.
Here are the men who saw the biggest improvements (click through for larger version):
Fulvio Scola and Alex Harvey are the clear winners here, putting together a very solid season of sprint results over dramatically worse seasons previously. Most of the rest of these folks are sneaking into this list by smaller improvements over already impressive results (Hattestad, Jönsson) or an improvement in their best results rather than their median results (Cologna, Kozisek, Simonlatser, etc.).
As for the women (click through for full version):
For some reason I wasn’t expecting that Astrid Jacobsen would end up being the most improved female sprinter. Maybe it’s just because Bjørgen and Johaug stole so much of the limelight last season. Follis had a slightly off year in 2009-2010, so coming back very strong lands her in second on this list. And of course we have Kikkan Randall in a very deserving third.
Lesser known is Laure Barthelemy, who had barely managed to crack the top 20 and then cranked out 4 top ten results this year. Her bad days were still pretty bad, though, so it’ll be interesting to see how she follows this success up next year.
Finally, there are some interesting younger folks to watch here, like Denise Hermann, Maiken Caspersen Falla and Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg.