The Swedes might be hosting the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships this year but it’ll be the Norwegians with their eye on some of the medals
Nestled just to the north of Lake Runn between the low lying undulating wooded hills of central Sweden lies the relatively small city of Falun. Not quite sleepy yet certainly not a bustling metropolis this important crossroads in the heart of copper mining country has long had a market and been an important center of both production and trade of the metal. The thousand year history of the mining efforts in the region indicate the town perhaps older than records record.
Ski Sprint Trio Face Off
• FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2015
• Norwegians set to dominate cross country sprint
• ComeOn! Sportsbook has all the latest odds
Certainly it is said that the organization that came together to extract copper from the Great Copper Mountain is still argued as being the longest running still existent business enterprise in the world with a charter that dates back to King Magnus IV in 1347 (although evidence exists of a more ad hoc arrangement dating all the way back to 1288) a history celebrated in the noted mining museum and the somewhat famous Copper Mountain Church.
Although the origins of the city are wholly based on copper extraction, the Great Copper Mountain now a UNESCO protected site, its privileges as a city were more granted by dint of it already being one of the largest population centers in the country by that time. Indeed whilst copper production slowly declined over the years, the city has continued to thrive diversifying from it’s roots whilst retaining them in no small way.
During World War II the town was used to intern British and American airmen who had strayed into neutral Swedish territory. Perhaps railing against the image of men in camps for the duration airmen were billeted in hotels and bed-&-breakfast establishments and enjoyed a relatively lax regime. These days Falun boasts a rock festival in the summer, the Framby Udde resort that attracts enthusiasts of watersports and fishing, and, of course, is the center of winter sports in the country.
From Mining Hub To Sports Center
The Lugnet center is a massive complex that caters for just about ever winter sport imaginable and has become a mainstay fixture on the hosting list of both FIS world cup and world championship events, annually hosting the Swedish Ski Games, although it has thus far failed (despite several attempts) to host the Winter Olympics. It missed out to Calgary in 1988 and Albertville in 1992. It is however home to “The Battle” a race of some note in the snowboarding community.
This being Sweden, of course, it is the more traditional winter sports that take center stage with the obligatory indoor ice hockey rink, with a matching outdoor facility, a curling hall and an ice arena. It is also Sweden’s national center for ski jumping and cross country skiing and this year will host the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in March whereupon the approximately 38,000 residents will be besieged by competitors from all over the world, and spectators from just as far a field in huge numbers.
The city has, of course, hosted the games before. Three times in fact, in 1954, 1974 and in 1993. Obviously people will be hoping for slightly better weather than the first, as much preparation as went into the second and a ridiculously massive enthusiasm of the third. In 2015 they’re likely to get their wish as it shapes up to be the biggest, slickest winter sports event yet. However the Swedes might not be so pleased with their chances in some of the events.
In the cross country skiing, for instance, particularly the classic style sprint, it is their rivals the Norwegians that look like they might dominate proceedings. A quick look at ComeOn! Sportsbook shows us that swedes who are gambling news of their fellow countrymen winning medals will hove to during the competition might well be disappointed as it is their rivals the Norwegians that are leading the odds.
Here Come The Norwegians
The cross country classic style sprint starts off with a 15 second interval start qualifier with the fastest thirty competitors moving forward to the semi-finals, the two fastest from each of these quarter finals making it into the semi finals (along with the two fastest times that didn’t qualify). The 12 skiers who reach the semi-finals then compete with the top two in each going through to the final along with the two fastest times. That means in the final there are six people competing for three medal places.
Looking at the bookmaker’s odds, like those of ComeOn! Sportsbook, there are manifestly three clear front runners at present and all of them hail from Norway. Ola Vigen Hattestad and Eirik Brandsdal sit together on 3.80 (presenting a superb wagering opportunity) with Paal Golberg not so far behind on 6.80 and the nearest non-Norwegian Kriukov languishing on 10.00 at this point. Out dated Norwegian gambling laws aside plenty of people will be choosing between these top three when placing bets in the next two weeks.
Ola Vigen Hatterstad, of course, skied away with the gold in the sprint event in Sochi last year, but Eirik Brandsdal is a bit younger and has four World Cup victories in the sprint to his name whilst the third of the trio, Pal Golberg, is younger still and has only won one World Cup sprint, and yet is seen as a future champion in the sport. Hatterstad might be the one to beat but Golberg will be the one to watch, especially if you’ve chanced a few Krone on the young man from Gol.
The likely Norwegian dominance of the sprint event will only make the competition between these three all the more fierce. They go in very familiar with their rivals. Those who like to bet on sports in Norway will doubtless pick their favorite, perhaps depending on local bias or the records and results of the individuals, but come mid-March 2015 there will be a lot of eyes on the city of Falun and just as many skis.