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How Often Can You Go Fast?

No pretty pictures this time, folks, sorry!  Instead a couple of regular old sortable tables.  No grand lesson here, just a simple question: how often can the best skiers in the world ski fast enough to finish in the top 3?  The top 10?  And so on.  (I apologize that some of the column headers are hard to read.  They are the proportion of races each skier landed in the top 3, 5, 10, 20 and 30, in that order.)

One table each for distance and sprint; men and women will have to share a table in each case.  For the distance skiers, I’ve only included skiers who started racing around 1994 or so to make sure I’m not counting just the last season of someone who raced through most of the eighties.  That means no Bjoern Daehlie, sorry.  Or plenty of other big names.  Just so you know, his percentages were freakishly high, but then, I’m missing at least two seasons of results for him.  Only WC, OWG and WSC races are counted.

I guess I take it back, there is a grand lesson here.  I suppose I meant for you to think about how we measure success in a sport like cross country skiing, where the best skiers in the world finish outside the top ten a large proportion of the time (seriously, check out the tables).  It’s easy to remember all the times these crazy athletes skied super fast.  Not so with their failures.  It sort of reminds me of baseball, where the best hitters in the game fail around 65% of the time.

As always, the RSS feed doesn’t like these tables, so you’ll have to click through to the site to see them.

[table id = 63]

[table id = 64]


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