Norwegian cross-country skiers swept the World Cup rankings once again when the season officially ended in Canada over the weekend. The winner of the women’s overall World Cup even went to a Norwegian who isn’t Therese Johaug.
Johaug, who made a brilliant comeback this season after a controversial doping suspension, was already assured of winning the World Cup title in distance. She placed third in the overall rankings, though, behind Natalia Nepryaeva of Russia and the new Norwegian winner, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg.
Østberg was thrilled by her victory, which followed in the ski tracks of skiing stars like Anette Bøe, Bente Martinsen Skari, Marit Bjørgen, Johaug and Heidi Weng. Østberg also won the tough Tour de Ski, which Johaug skipped, ealier this year and took five medals at the World Championships last month.
Flugstad was actually beaten in the last pursuit race of the World Cup season by Stina Nilsson of Sweden and Johaug. She took third place, but that was enough to gain the points needed to beat Nepryaeva for the overall, and biggest crystal trophy.
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, meanwhile, won the men’s overall World Cup and his final race in the men’s pursuit. It proved to be a thrilling end to the season as Klæbo skied against arch rival Alexander Bolshunov of Russia and nearly saw himself beaten as well.
Klæbo has had another strong season after winning three gold medals at last year’s Olympics and going on to win three more at this year’s World Championships. His victory in the last 15-kilometer pursuit race in Quebec over the weekend also ensured him the overall World Cup title, ahead of Russia’s Bolshunov in second place.
Another Norwegian was also on the winners’ platform after Sjur Røthe won bronze in the overall rankings. Røthe also won silver in the distance World Cup.
In biathlon skiing, meanwhile, Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Bø made sports history by scoring 16 victories in a single season. No one has ever done that before, and the last two came over the weekend as he ended the season on home turf at Holmenkollen in Oslo. Now he intends to enjoy his victories, “and use a bit of time to digest it all.”