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Career Retrospective: Jens Arne Svartedal

Another accomplished specialist, Jens Arne Svartedal, is retiring as well. While no slouch in distance events, he had more success in sprinting. But his real specialty was classic skiing.

My records show 25 WC level podium finishes for him, 7 in distance events and 18 in sprints. That includes his WSC Gold medal in the 2007 classic sprint. Two of his 7 distance podiums came from Tour de Ski stages. Every single distance podium was in a classic race, and all but one of them was a 15km interval start race. Svartedal podiumed three times in freestyle sprints, but never won one (2nd, 2nd and 3rd).

Here’s a look at his distance results, emphasizing his preference for classic skiing:

As I said, Svartedal didn’t collect as much hardware in distance events, but if it was a classic race, all those results below one standard deviation below the mean reliably placed him in the top ten. And he did manage to win a WC distance race back in 2006.

Here’s a similar look at his sprinting results:

Things really started to get inconsistent after 2007, but Svartedal was pretty reliably one of the best classic sprinters in the world for going on seven years or so. Not a bad record!

On a more amusing note, Svartedal has an unusual claim to fame. As far as I can tell, he is the only person in a WC level sprint race to qualify 30th and then go on to win. He did this in the 2007 Estonian WC classic sprint. In fact, he is one of only five people to have qualified 25th or worse and then won the race, and he’s done that three times; the other four people have done it only once.


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