In The mid-90’s Second Place Was Different: Follow-Up

Given the comments on my last post, I thought I’d verify things by altering the second graph to display the race type:

Now the difference is very clear. I’ve combined the mass start and pursuit races into just one category (Mass). So clearly for the men the story here is different race tactics in mass start events.

I’m still curious, though, at why in the 90’s the men’s races saw a high degree of consistency in the margin between 1st and 2nd in interval start races, while the women saw less. Specifically, what we’re seeing here is that in the 90’s the gap between the 1st and 2nd woman in an interval start race was much more likely to be close than it was in a men’s interval start race.

That, I suppose, would more plausibly be related to the particulars of the fields at that time, or as one of my commenters pointed out the presence of Björn Daehlie (and Smirnov) whereas the women’s side didn’t have anyone quite so dominant. My recollection was that some of the Russian women were pretty darn dominant at that time, but maybe not as much as I’d remembered.

In The Mid-90s, Second Place Was Different

Sometimes you have some data and a specific question.  Other times, you have some data, and you just sort of noodle around with it aimlessly.  Sadly, I’ve been known to do that just for fun.  I know, I’m a nerd.

So I was looking at the gaps between 1st and 2nd place finishers in World Cup, Olympic and World Championship races (measured in percent back) in my free time.  You know, that’s just the sort of thing I do when I’m bored.

And here’s the plot:

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WJC & U23 Updates – North Americans

I’m a bit pressed for time at the moment, so not much commentary on these. They are just the updated versions of the graphs I showed on Wednesday, giving some historical context for the results at WJC & U23’s for the US and Canada.

WJC – USA

WJC – CAN Read more

WJC & U23 Sprints

World Junior/U23s are underway, of course, in the exotic locale of Turkey. Monday wasn’t a spectacular day for the North Americans in the WJC freestyle sprint. For some quick context, here’s a look at the historical results in each discipline for the US:

I’m just using finishing place here, rather than FIS points, since I think that’s often more understandable for people with World Juniors. Obviously, the first distance races were this morning (I wrote this last night) so I’ll update those on Friday.

As you can see, while the men didn’t have a great day, they really haven’t qualified more than 1-2 skiers in a long time. So while it’s not great, it doesn’t seem dramatically different from what we’ve seen over the past 5-6 years. What I notice with the women is that we’ve actually seen 3 straight years of declining results. While the median result this year isn’t much different than last, the top result has steadily decline.

And of course, here’s the same graph for the Canadians: Read more

Poland Sprints Recap

As always, thanks to Jan at worldofxc.com for the heat time data…

I’m beginning to get a feel for the relationship between heat times and sprint courses. It’s hard, cause I’m not actually there skiing on the courses, so I do the best I can reading about them. But it seems this course was pretty fast and mostly flat until the very end. That led me to guess that we’d see fast qualifying times, and then the heats would get progressively slower as folks get more tactical. Sure enough, the men’s finals:

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Race Snapshot: Poland 10/15km Classic

Race Snapshot: Poland Freestyle Sprint

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