I will never speak poorly of sprints again

Late night, great night.

I might have scoffed a few years ago when Sprints were introduced onto the FIS circuit (“Meh. What is happening to this sport?”), but it’s turned into one of my favorite events.

From a photographer’s perspective, the qualifying round gives you the very rare chance to get clean shots of all the athletes.  And the heats are a blast to shoot — especially when you’re given the “golden ticket” and told you can stand next to the tv cameras at the finish line if you behave yourself.

And for spectators, it’s fantastic.  Sure there’s a bit of interest in the “Final 30” drama, (eh, Erik Bjornsen?) and the new lane selection process is entertaining, but the real action is skier vs. skier racing.  The top two move on, but the field (and viewers) stay engaged via the Lucky Loser slots.  A little suspense, a little drama — just all around good, clean fun.

Last night’s races didn’t disappoint.  The Americans qualified Jessie, Sophie, Sadie, Erik and Simi into the rounds.  Jessie made it to the finals (In a classic sprint, go figure…) through a photo finish lunge.  Klaebo put on a show and another Swedish woman – Stina Nilsson) came through for Gold.

Call me a convert.

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Erik Bjornsen (USA) in a heat with the eventual Gold Medal winner Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR)
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It was snowing fairly hard at times and I suspect that the swirling wind might explain some of the unusual qualifying results.
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Just a quick peek…
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Jessie Diggins (USA)

 

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Messing around with some selective blur.

 

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Sophie Caldwell (USA)
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Jessie Diggins (USA) lunging to make the final round.
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Maybe my favorite photo from the games so far and it doesn’t come close to doing justice to the moment.  Stina Nilsson (SWE) just after winning gold.
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Post Gold victory tour for Klaebo.
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I’ll bet a $1 that this is a Rossignol rep.  Alexander Bolshunov (Not from Russia) and Federico Pellegrino (ITA).