Following up from last time, we’ll look a little more closely at the individual trends among some of the top Swedish women in distance and sprint events.
First the distance skiers (click through for a larger version):
Not surprisingly, Charlotte Kalla is generally the top performer here. But notice that there’s a bit of a solid drop off after her and Anna Haag. Maria Rydqvist surprised many by coming back from a year off with some very solid results, but then seemed to hit a bit of a plateau last season. Sofia Bleckur took a large jump last season, but the move from 0.5-1 standardized percent behind the median skier to -0.5 to -1 standardized percent behind the median isn’t quite as challenging. The next jump will likely be orders of magnitude harder.
I believe I’ve commented on this before, but Anna Haag’s trend over the past three seasons is a bit worrying. The Swedish women had a very strong year in 2010, but both Kalla and especially Haag seem to have experienced a bit of “regression to the mean”. That makes me wonder whether Haag’s 2010 campaign (and to a certain extent even Kalla’s) was the best we’ll see from her.
As for the sprinters (again, click for full version): Read more
Reading the recent interview with Rikard Grip, the Swedish women’s coach got me thinking about how they’ve fared recently. From a very broad perspective for the whole team, we have the following in distance events:
Clearly their depth has greatly improved, as evidenced by the dramatic rise in the number of top 30 results per WC race. Most other categories are generally up as well over the last 4-5 seasons. I try not to read too much into the (rather noisy) year to year variations in these plots, but instead try to folks are broader trends over several seasons.
On the sprinting side: Read more
Hopefully there won’t be any more posts like this for a long while. Fredrik Karlsson died recently, I guess in a snowmobile accident. I didn’t know much about him, but I guess he was on Sweden’s development team. As you might expect for someone on Sweden’s development team, he hadn’t quite made a huge splash in World Cup races, having never cracked the top 30 in a distance race, and he’d only done one WC sprint race.
But if you look at his results with FIS points, you can clearly see that while he was relatively old (~27) he had not “stalled out” in terms of improvement:
No major jumps in performance, just a very steady, consistent improvement. By last season, his median FIS point result in distance races was good enough to be one of the top 15 Swedish men:
|Name||YOB||Median FIS Point||Total Races|
Unfortunately, we have a distinct theme for this week’s posts. Jenny Olsson also passed away recently, apparently from breast cancer. She raced, quite successfully, for Sweden for much of the mid-00’s:
These are just her WC level distance results (she didn’t sprint much). As you can see, 2002-2003 was her best effort, but it’s not clear to me that it was part of any particular trend, up or down. She finally got sick and stopped racing in 2005.
But for that one season, she was by far Sweden’s best female skier:
|Name||Median Result||# of Races|
In some very sad news, we learned recently that Inge Braten passed away rather suddenly. It is difficult (and probably slightly foolish) to try to quantify a coach’s impact on skiing results, so let’s consider this post a rememberance, rather than an analysis.
Perhaps most famously, Braten coached the Norwegian men during their “Golden Era”:
(My records only go back to the 1991-1992 season.) Norway has certainly continued to enjoy success since then, but I will always remember that period as one of extraordinary depth, as indicated by the number of top thirty results per race.
His next two major coaching stints were much shorter, first with the Swedish men: Read more
Sylvan Ellefson’s result from today is omitted in order to keep the plot visible. (I hope he’s ok.)