Saturday, August 28, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Hello! I’m Emily Ross, 18-years-old, and from New Brunswick. This past July I had the great opportunity to attend the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Aalborg, Denmark as part of Team Canada for the first time. At first I was a little hesitant and nervous about competing at such a high level, but it turned out to be a fabulous experience that made me even more excited to orienteer!
As you may know, athletes get to run all the races at JWOC, which made it very orienteering-filled. The first race was the sprint and even though I made a mistake I came back so excited and pumped for the rest of the week. I did not have many goals results wise, so I just focused on trying my best and having fun—something I feel that I accomplished. It was pretty amazing to run the same courses as these orienteering superstars that you hear about. The level that these athletes are at and the dedication that they have is inspiring. At the same time, I feel I had my accomplishments as well, such as finishing the long! And keeping up with Emma Kligenberg from Denmark for a few legs in the middle qualifier (but I made sure not to get distracted when our legs were forked). I found that while I’m not at the level of some countries there are still several runners that I can compare and compete with. Plus, I have new goals and higher hopes for next year.
The atmosphere at JWOC is also pretty unique. Everyone is the same age as you and loves orienteering just as much, if not more. While things are serious, there is also time for fun like playing ultimate Frisbee with the Brits and Australians or watching the World Cup soccer games with the Spanish (whose team was in the final). What is also neat is that you run into these orienteers at other large events in the summer, such as O-Ringen. Plus I became a lot closer with the other members of Team Canada, which I feel is really important for fostering the orienteering community within Canada as well encouraging each other with training throughout the rest of the year. And last but not least, running for Canada was pretty incredible and empowering. At the end of the sprint one girl asked me for my autograph (I originally thought that she had confused me with Emily Kemp, but it turned out that she just really liked Canada) and I could hear people cheering for Canada while running through spectator controls and to the finish.
Hopefully I’ll get to experience JWOC again next year with even more girls running for Team Canada! I’d like to especially thank Randy Kemp and Jeff Teutsch for their work as team leaders (hopefully we didn’t get into too many shenanigans), Magnus Johansson for his work as national team coach, and Charlotte MacNaughton for her work as COF president. There were so many more who helped me and the team along the way—I truly appreciate everything you did for us! Finally, I highly recommend JWOC for those up-and-coming juniors who want to pursue orienteering. It’s a unique experience and one that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
A fantastic World Orienteering Championships is now over. The last day of competition, as always, was the women’s & men’s relay. These races were filled with great performance, high drama, and a few tears.
The women were first and Canada did fantastically well. Carol Ross, showing she is maturing quickly ran a strong first leg, keeping her head in the chaos of the mass start. She handed over to Louise Oram in 17th position. Louise showed her growing confidence in her abilities with another strong run (following her great 28th place in the middle distance final) and handed off to Sandy Hott, still in 17th. Sandy, running on almost no sleep thanks to a feverish baby, ran an astonishingly fast race and pulled the team up two positions into 15th. A great result for the team, that will only get stronger as the confidence and experience continues to grow.
At the head of the women’s race it was high drama, with Finland and home-team Norway dropping the rest of the teams on the last leg and battling it out to the final control where finally the Finnish runner escaped with an unmatchable final sprint – to win with just a few seconds.
Then it was the men’s turn. Canada was led out by Patrick Goeres who ran just 5 minutes slower than the first place teams – handing off to Mike Smith in 22nd place, just in front of Brazil, New Zealand, and USA. Mike ran another good leg for Canada, but was passed by the Irish, Spanish, and Belarus teams, dropping Canada to 25th. Nick Duca ran the anchor leg for Canada, dropping two more spots to Brazil & Belgium, but most importantly keeping in front of the USA to make it a double victory in the relay for the Canadians over the USA!
At the front of the men’s relay it was again high drama. The final leg saw seven teams starting within a few seconds. The French were first off, with the Russians just one second behind. The Norwegians, Great Britain, Switzerland, Czech, and Swedish teams were all chasing, less than 15 seconds behind. Gueorgiou for France was pushing hard and soon the lead pack was just France and Valentin Novikov the Russian. They had built a small gap over the chase pack. But just as they approached the stadium the “Curse of Henri” struck unexpectedly – just when it looked as if the French were in control we could see something was going strange on the tracking. Gueorgiou was taking some crazy route to control 17. Then it became too crazy and we all realized he was not going to #17. He had not seen this control and was in fact running toward control 18. A hush fell over the arena as the speaker had to be more silent so that he would not alert the Frenchman to his mistake. Finally Gueorgiou realizes when he does hear the speaker, but by now it is too late – he returns to punch the control but now can do no better than 8th place, while Novikov finishes comfortably in first place. The battle for the other medals is won by Norway, and with Merz out-sprinting Fraser (GBR) to win the bronze for Switzerland. For the fans it was tragic to see Gueorgiou miss a relay medal again – the third time running. Two years ago he was stung by a bee when he was leading with just a few controls remaining; last year (I hope you all remember) he lost a medal when he stopped to help an injured competitor, and now for the third time in a row something bizarre stops him from winning. As the arena announcer said, “Perhaps WOC Relay is not Gueorgiou’s cup of tea”.
Congratulations to the organizers and to all of the competitors. It was a tremendous week for orienteering. The event set new standards in live coverage, and the atmosphere was superb everywhere. And for me it was very inspiring – I had a blast running in the public races. What a great sport when I get back from my own race, bleeding, sweating like crazy, and covered in swamp mud, and all I want to do is go back out for some more!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
A truly superb performance – and still room for improvement! In the photo you can see Louise running in towards the arena for the spectator loop.
The atmosphere in the arena was fantastic again. Amazing coverage on the big screens, TV splits from the terrain and continuous GPS tracks kept the excitement up throughout. In the women's race we could see Simone Niggle make a critical mistake on one of the last controls on the GPS and how Minna Kauppi explored the opportunity and took the Gold. For the men, it was a breathtaking battle of seconds, where Carl Waaler Kaas from Norway beat out Peter Öberg of Sweden with 7 seconds. Here is a little video clip showing Kaas run in the finish chute.
Tomorrow is the relay and Canada's teams are:
Women - Start at 11:30 am local time:
Leg 1: Carol Ross
Leg 2: Louise Oram
Leg 3: Sandy Hott
Men - Start at 1:15 pm local time:
Leg 1: Patrick Goeres
Leg 2: Mike Smith
Leg 3: Nick Duca
It's going to be an exciting day!
Friday, August 13, 2010
Tomorrow Louise Oram steps on to the forest of battle to show those Euros a thing or two about how to orienteer. The weather is anticipated to be deceivingly warm, around 20 degrees with a strange tendency of the clouds to never cover the stadium, which my massive sunburn can attest to.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
On the men's side, Nick Duca started early, and came to the finish reporting some hooks and hesitations early in the race. Mike Smith had a bigger mistake at the 3rd control, dropping around 4 minutes, so the last hope for Canada was Patrick. He started second last and we were waiting nervously at the finish as the clock was ticking. Patrick came charging in to the last control as his time was running on 68 minutes and he was a few minutes on the outside, even though he had the best time of all the North American men today.
The Canadian team will now recharge for the weekend action, running some public races and watching the Long Final on Thursday. Louise is running the Middle Final on Saturday and then there is the Relay on Sunday. Stay tuned in!
Monday, August 9, 2010
It was clear right from the first finisher, a Norwegian runner, that the times were very fast, about 23 minutes for the fastest men. However, there were also big mistakes being made. The courses started up across a bland green hillside which caused plenty of trouble and then went up high to some open forests with marshes and detailed contours.
Louise had a very steady race with only some small hesitations and little hooks and come in on a very good time. We had a feeling right away that she was going to make it and it turned out she qualified in 9th. Super solid! Unfortunately, margins were on the wrong side for Sandy, finishing in the dreaded 16th spot, less than 30 seconds out. Carol had a mistake on the first control in the green and had a few more problems out on the course. She finished outside of the final spots, but was not too far off anyway. She would have qualified with a cleaner race. The running speed is there!
For the men, it was a difficult day. Wil had a pretty good race technically, but felt he was too cautious in the beginning and lost too much time in the running. Mike had the running speed to qualify, but dropped around 6 minutes in mistakes, which pushed him out with no chance. Patrick also had a hard time and decided to abandon his race.
But the next chance is already tomorrow in the Long Qualifier! The Canadian team is Nick Duca, Mike Smith, Patrick Goeres, Sandy Hott, Carol Ross and Louise Oram.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
The Canadian team did not have the best day. No runner qualified for the final, taking place in downtown Trondheim this afternoon. Will Critchley had a strong run in Men's heat B, only about 50 seconds out of the qualifying time with a fairly clean run. Louise Oram also was about 50 seconds out with a good run. Just a little bit of speed missing. Carol Ross had a great start to her race, but made a bigger mistake just at the end of the course. Patrick Goeres also had a bobble on a control in the forest, but his speed probably wasn't enough today. Jon Torrance also had a good race technically, with only a route choice mistake, but the speed was not quite there.
It's now time to recharge for the Middle Qualifier tomorrow! The Canadian Team is Louise Oram, Carol Ross, Sandy Hott, Patrick Goeres, Mike Smith and Wil Smith.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
WOC in Trondheim is about to start and the Canadian Team has settled into our luxurious downtown residence. Today was the Sprint Model, literally one block from the hotel. Everyone is in good shape, well rested and itching to go.
You can follow the live online coverage here: http://live.woc2010.com/
The Canadians have the following start times (local time):
Louise Oram - 9:11
Carol Ross - 9:29
Will Critchley - 10:06
Jon Torrance - 10:16
Patrick Goeres - 10:34
Stayed tuned to our blog to follow the progress during the week. Sunday is the Sprint, Monday is the Middle qualifier and Tuesday is the Long qualifier.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I thought it necessary to do one final quick blog post about the last few days of O-Ringen. WOC will be starting up soon, so there will be plenty more news come tomorrow and in the future, so this is the final wrap-up on O-Ringen.