Greatest Race Ever?

So the title probably gives this away, but bear with me. Consider a skier with the following distance results profile in major competitions:

olsson1

So by the end of the 2011-2012 season this guy has just turned 31. As you can see, he’s had quite a solid career. Things were good but fairly steady from 2004 to 2008. Then there’s an obvious peak in 2008-2009. Things tailed off slightly the following year, and then more significantly the year after that. Even so he never really dropped below his “baseline” level of performance from that 2004-2008 period. What does he follow this up with?

olsson

 

2011-2012 is by far his best season yet, essentially at age 32. Now, I’m by now means saying that once you turn 30 you’re doomed. But it is actually just more rare for people to improve dramatically at later ages. Not impossible. But certainly unusual.

And then, of course, he treats us to a stupendous performance in the 50k at World Champs.

Don’t quit, Johan Olsson! I want to keep watching you race for another few seasons.

Related posts:

  1. Can Bjørgen Repeat Her Dominant Performance?
  2. Erling Jevne: The Greatest Classic Specialist?
  3. Most Improved: Distance 2011
  4. Most Improved: Men’s Distance
  5. Race Snapshot: Kuusamo Classic Sprint

About Joran

Comments

4 Responses to “Greatest Race Ever?”
  1. Nat says:

    What do you think we would make of that results profile if it belonged to an eastern European?

    • Joran says:

      I’m not sure. Olsson’s been good, but with the exception of that 50k I don’t think he’s ever really been unusually good, relative to the field.

  2. Nat’s semi-suspicious question is apt. The difference for me – admittedly, someone who might be a naif – is that there’s no structure or context for doped-up Swedes, unlike, say, Estonians or Russians. But you both knew that.

  3. Peter Ahlvik says:

    We should realize that Johan has been plagued by injuries and sickness (e.g. airways) from time to time; particularly so in the 2010/2011 to 2011/2012 seasons. Perhaps it is so simple that this season he has reached his “true” capacity. He is certainly not capable of being consistent and stable with 5-10 WC podium finishes each season but perhaps 1-2 times per year on the podium could be a realistic expectation. Without the mentioned trouble in the past, he would most likely have achieved such results also during the two past seasons. Perhaps his statistical peak would then be at around 30 (or 30+ something). After the 50k race, he got sick again (airways) and has not fully recovered yet, which again points out the particular problem he has.

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