The Scandinavians are likely to dominate at the Nordic World Ski Championships
Apart from cough drops, the Norwegians may have invented just about everything in the Nordic edition of skiing. So it's no wonder that the Scandinavians have been the measure of all things in cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and ski jumping for years. In all probability, this will also be the case in 2023, at the premiere of the Nordic World Ski Championships in Slovenia.
The measure of things in all subdisciplines
Planica is calling and if the organizers were clever, they have prepared plenty of Norwegian flags for victory ceremonies. Because it cannot be ruled out that they will be needed in larger numbers at the evening ceremonial medal presentations in Kranjska Gora. The inventors of skiing have been too dominant across all disciplines in the season so far.
Let's take the youngest child in the Nordic skiing family - the women's Nordic combined. At the latest since the last World Championships in Oberstdorf, there has been one dominator: Gina Westvold Hansen. She seems unbeatable and whoever bets one euro on the Norwegian will probably only get 99 cents back at the betting office. In the men's event, at most the ailing health of the favorite could play a role in the awarding of the medals - otherwise there is again a lot to be said for Jarl Magnus Riiber. In men's special jumping the big favorite is Halvor Egner Granerud and of course he comes from Norway as well as the dominator in cross-country, Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo.
Many favorites for top places are from different nations
Aber ja – es gibt auch Gold- und Medaillenkandidaten aus anderen Ländern. Am offensten ist die Lage wohl beim Langlauf der Frauen, natürlich zählen die Norwegerinnen mit zu den Goldanwärterinnen, doch ernstzunehmende Konkurrenz kommt aus Schweden, Österreich, Finnland, den USA und auch aus Deutschland, Katharina Hennig zählt zu den chancenreichen Läuferinnen, wenn die Gesundheit mitspielt. Bei den Skispringerinnen hat Deutschland mit Katarina Althaus ebenfalls ein heißes Eisen im Feuer, hier hofft neben den Teams aus Österreich und Japan vor allem die Armada der Einheimischen auf Erfolge. Und weil mit Selina Freitag noch eine zweite DSV-Starterin gut drauf ist in diesem Winter, könnte der Team-Wettkampf eine deutsche Medaillenoption sein, wenn die Herren der Schöpfung mitmachen. Andreas Wellinger, Karl Geiger und Markus Eisenbichler sind hier die Hoffnungsträger.
Ski jumping - the number 1 in the host country
Ski jumping in general: The most atmospheric decisions in Planica are expected at the hills, because this is where the hosts have the greatest chance of winning precious metal. And so thousands upon thousands will probably find their way to the Planica valley to marvel at the competitions on the ski hills, which have been lovingly restored and rebuilt in recent years. Poles and Austrians will also be hoping for great success there. And of course individual starters from all over the world, Japan, with Ryoyu Kobayashi should be mentioned here.
Finally spectators again
The best news, however, comes even before the opening of the World Championships. In contrast to the title competitions in Oberstdorf two years ago, and also in contrast to the Ski Flying World Championships in Planica, the top athletes from all over the world will be able to show off their skills in front of an audience. The hosts had taken a risk. They wanted the World Championships in Planica at all costs, ran for it, prevailed and were almost punished for their commitment because Covid-19 had made normal sports almost impossible in recent years. After all, the economic presentation of the title competitions is also based on spectator income, not to mention that it is of course nicer pictures that are broadcast to the world from competitions with celebrating fans. Slovenia wants to promote Nordic skiing and itself with this World Cup. It is to be wished to the hosts that this succeeds. In any case, the hosts have created the conditions.
Pictures: Kevin Voigt