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World Cup Winning Streaks

I noted in a Tweet that Marit Bjoergen is the only skier since 1992 to win each of the four opening World Cup events (sprint and distance) in a row. But if you relax that condition to allow for streaks occurring at any point in the season (and include Olympic and World Championship events), Bjoergen isn’t quite as unique.

(Everything that follows only applies to the last 20 seasons.)

Bjoergen herself won four events in a row back in 2009-2010, and she actually won 5 in a row just last season. Three other skiers have won four events in a row: Vaelbe, Smirnov, Northug and Lazutina. Two other skiers have won 5 in a row: Bente Skari and Manuela Di Centa.

But even Bjoergen has not yet reached the rarified territory of Elena Vaelbe (6 in a row in 1994-1995) or, who else, Bjoern Daehlie who won 7 in a row in 1995-1996.

However, if you look at everyone with a winning streak of any length (of at least 2 races), Bjoergen has done this in 7 different seasons, more than either Daehlie (6 times) or Vaelbe (5 times). Of course, counting the number of times a skier has had a winning streak of at least two races basically limits us to people active from the late 90’s onward, since the folks from the early 90’s had much of their careers in seasons I don’t have data on. And even Daehlie was doing World Cup races prior to the start of my data, so even the comparison with folks of that era is suspect.

Interestingly, over 20 seasons, I found only 33 unique people who have won at least two major international races (WC, OWG, WSC) in a row. Which probably speaks to how difficult it is to consistently be one of the best skiers in the world.

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