The Long Distance Ski Championship

Tuesday Olympic Rundown: Nilsson & Hakola Take Sprint Qualifiers, 5 Americans & Valjas Into Heats

Chelsea Little

Sweden’s Stina Nilsson celebrates her third individual sprint victory of the season in the World Cup classic sprint in Planica, Slovenia. Nilsson won the classic sprint qualifier at the 2018 Olympics on Tuesday. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)

FasterSkier would like to thank Fischer Sport USAMadshus USAConcept2Boulder Nordic Sport, and Swix Sport US for their generous support, which made this coverage possible.

2018 Winter Olympics (PyeongChang, South Korea): Cross-Country Skiing Men’s & Women’s Sprint Qualifiers

Sprint racing at the PyeongChang Olympics kicked off on Tuesday, with Sweden’s Stina Nilsson setting the pace in the women’s qualifier just 0.39 seconds ahead of defending Olympic champion Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway.

The rest of the field couldn’t touch those two. Krista Parmakoski of Finland, the bronze medalist in the 30 k skiathlon, came closest, notching a time 3.56 seconds slower. Sweden’s Hanna Falk qualified fourth (+3.80), Slovenia’s Katja Visnar  fifth (+6.50), Olympic Athlete of Russia Natalia Nepryaeva sixth (+6.91), American Jessie Diggins seventh (+7.02), Sweden’s Ida Ingemarsdotter eighth (+7.32), American Sadie Bjornsen ninth (+7.38), and Norway’s Heidi Weng tenth (+7.54).

For the United States, Sophie Caldwell also qualified for the quarterfinals in 12th position (+8.32). Ida Sargent, who recently had surgery on her thumb, did not, notching the 33rd-best time of the day – 17.06 seconds off the pace and 1.78 seconds out of the heats.

For Canada, Emily Nishikawa led the team in 34th, 2.73 seconds out of quarterfinals. Dahria Beatty finished 42nd (+21.03) and Cendrine Browne 51st (+25.56).

CU student Petra Hyncicova of the Czech Republic finished 45th (+23.29). APU’s Jessica Yeaton, racing for Australia, finished 48th (+24.27), and Aussie teammate Casey Wright (University of Alaska Anchorage) 63rd (+41.06). Canada-based Mathilde Petitjean of Togo finished 59th (+37.19).

Women’s Qualifier Results

In the men’s sprint qualifier, Ristomatti Hakola of Finland turned heads by posting a time that last year’s Sprint Cup champion Johannes Høsflot Klæbo of Norway could not beat. The Norwegian posted a time 0.19 seconds slower than the Finn.

The men’s field was much closer than the women’s, with just 9.51 seconds separating the top 30 finishers who would move on to the quarterfinals. The third qualifier was young Olympic Athlete of Russia Alexander Bolshunov (+1.66), with Italy’s Maicol Rastelli a surprise fourth-place finisher (+2.78). Sweden’s Teodor Peterson qualified fifth (+3.01), Olympic Athlete of Russia Alexander Panzhinsky sixth (+3.09), Sweden’s Oskar Svensson and Viktor Thorn seventh (+3.48) and eighth (+3.65), and Italy’s Federico Pellegrino ninth +4.64. Calle Halfvarsson notched the tenth-best time (+4.73) and gave Sweden four qualifiers in the top ten, while Klæbo was the lone Norwegian in the top ten.

For the United States, Simi Hamilton and Erik Bjornsen made the quarterfinals, qualifying in 19th (+7.59) and 29th (+9.15) respectively. Bjornsen actually tied for 29th with France’s Richard Jouve, making him the last man to make the cut, so to speak. Canada’s Len Valjas will be the lone representative of his country in either the men’s or women’s heats after qualifying 26th (+8.57).

Alex Harvey just missed the quarterfinals in a tie for 32nd (+9.41), with Canadian teammate Jesse Cockney close behind in 35th (+10.00). Russell Kennedy rounded out the Canadian team in 54th (+14.83).

For the U.S., Andy Newell was also on the outside looking in, placing 37th in the qualifier (+10.82). So was Logan Hanneman in 42nd (+12.20).

Men’s qualifier results

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