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Most Improved: Women’s Distance

As before, we’re looking at the change in the average of a skier’s best five distance races (by FIS points) from the ’08-’09 to the ’09-’10 season.  You must have raced in at least five major international events (WC, WSC, or OWG) to be considered.

Here’s the table of the ten most improved women:

[table id =8]

Not so many medium speed women improving to super fast on this list, as we saw with the men.  Still, Hanna Brodin is a seriously talented skier, with quite a few impressive performances at World Juniors recently.  I believe she’s more of a sprint specialist, though.  Congrats all the same, Hanna!  Keep up the good work!

Elena Kolomina, hailing from Kazakhstan, has been around quite a while (~1998 I believe) so her presence on this list is interesting.  It turns out that she’s had one absolutely stupendous race this past season, placing 2nd (0.07 FIS points) in the 10k classic mass start portion of the Tour de Ski in Italy.  But the rest of her races, stretching back to the late 90’s have basically all been at ~50 points or higher.

Czech skier Eva Nyvltova appears for exactly the same reason, in fact.  She nabbed 3.08 FIS points from the exact same race by finishing 8th.  Scanning the results, that must have been a slow race, as the top 30 all finished within around 35 seconds.

What about Svetlana Malahova-Shishkina?  Well, she’s a bit older (~33) and, well, would you look at that?!  She was at that 10k classic mass start as well.


Let’s redo this but toss this apparently unusual race:

[table id=9]

Ok, so it turns out Kolomina (and Nyvltova and Malahova-Shishkina) did have a better season this year, but maybe not that much better.  Ben Sim’s teammate from Australia, Aimee Watson, looks better in this table, although she started out quite a ways back relative to these other skiers.  We’re also seeing the appearance of some genuinely faster skiers now: Anna Haag and Natalia Korosteleva.

Also, I should note that Morgan Arritola just missed out on appearing in this table, with a change of -18.1.  Way to go Morgan!

Here’s a graph of the distance results for each of these ten women, without that weird Tour de Ski result (click through for a larger version):

I’ve omitted some of the trend lines where the skiers are very young, so there’s very little data.  Again, there’s a huge variety in how you can come by a year-to-year improvement.


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