Several young talents burst into the skiing scene last year going all the way to win their first medals in World Championships in Lahti: Norwegian Johannes Klaebo (21, bronze), Swede Ebba Andersson (19, silver) and Russian Alexey Chervotkin (22, silver).
This trio will be among the favorites in Pyeongchang. But who else stands a chance to make a name for her- or himself in the Olympic season?
Here is our pick:
– Vebjoern Hegdal, 19, Norway. Just as Klaebo used to be called “New Northug” before becoming a star on his own rigth, Hegdal was given a similar moniker by the Norwegian media: “New Sundby”. A native of Larvik hasn’t got beard as yet and, as far as we know, no recourse to anti asthma- nebulizer is needed either. One important thing he does have in common with Sundby though: going hard on yourself. Already last season Hegdal was training more than 1000 hours per year! (Sundby, reportedly does 1250 – more than any other skier, period).
– Viktor Thorn, 21. Two Olympic Champions – Marcus Hellner and Johan Olsson – called him “the most talented junior in Sweden”. That junior had very nearly “stolen” the gold from Hellner himself when both skiers went neck and neck in skiathlon at the Sweden’s National Championships in 2016 – Thorn was just 19 y.o back then.
– Eveliina Piippo, 19, Finland Native or Tampere and the member of the Vuokatti Ski Team, part of very strong “sub-20” set of the Finnish female skiers. Piippo won the most grueling race at the Blink Rollerski Festival this summer – Lysebotn Opp, among juniors, so far.
More importantly, her time would make her seventh in the main races – just behind Kalla, Weng, Bjoergen, Haga, Parmakoski and Stephen.
Fun fact: in her childhood Eveliina dreamed about becoming Miss Suomi. Now she, apparently, wants to open a hotel for dogs. The best of luck with both!
– Katharine Ogden, 20, United States. An heir apperent to Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins, Ogden is a 2-time JWC medalist and a very unusual skier. Her motto is an advice from her father: “It’s fun to kick ass”. Katharine is also a mountain-cyclist. She adds in interview to Fasterskier: “If I don’t end up being a professional skier, I’ll probably be a recreational skier”.
– Coletta Rydzek, a 20 y.o. German, a bronze medalist of JWC in Soldier Hollow. Also a sister of Johannes Rydzek, quadruple winner of Lahti-2017 in Nordic Combined. Her talent may or may not blossom in time for the upcoming Olympics – but there is a little doubt that Coletta will be a force to be reckoned with at the in World Championship 2021, held in her native Oberstdorf.
Top photo courtesy of: instagram.com/vebjornhegdal
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