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Signs Of Kazahk Greatness To Come?

I’m continuing to pick and choose which nations in Fasterskier’s countdown to write about. The US and Canada I’ll cover later in more detail, and I’m written about Japan a fair bit in the past.

A couple of comments in their write up about Kazahkstan stuck out to me. The first was the comment about Alexey Poltaranin being the next Vladimir Smirnov. (I realize their posts are written partly in fun, and not always entirely seriously.) This is hard for me to assess with data, since so much of Smirnov’s younger days took place prior to 1992. But here’s a rough comparison of their major international results by age, using standardized percent behind the median skier:

While that seems to suggest a smooth transition, keep the x axis scales in mind. There’s a 3 year gap there. Also, be careful about trends at the end points, since age can be split across two different seasons, as in Poltaranin’s case. One little exercise for you is this: carefully cover up Poltaranin’s one excellent race from last year (his best). How much is that one point influencing the visual impression of a steady improvement?

The other skier mentioned that caught my eye was Anastasia Slonova, who’s had some strong results as a junior. Although, I only have 29 FIS races on record for her including both sprint and distance events. She hasn’t had any stellar results yet in the handful of WC’s that she’s done, topping out at around 40th or so. But she is still quite young.

If you look at her cohort graph, that compares her FIS points to women who went on to record a top ten finish in a WC race, you see that she’s mostly on track in distance events:

So her distance FIS points are right in the middle of where you want to be if you’re aiming for WC success.



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