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A total of 34 cross-country skiers from 13 countries sprint from the starting line in the women’s skiathlon finals at the FIS Cross-Country World Cup at the Alpensia Cross-Country Center in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province, on Feb. 4. The competition was held as part of test events for next year’s PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Two test events were held in preparation for next year’s PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province, one of the three host cities for the Winter Games.

From Feb. 3 through 5, athletes from around the world raced through the snow-capped fields at the Alpensia Resort as they competed in cross-country skiing, the “Marathon in the Snow,” and in Nordic combined, the “King of Skiing.”

The FIS Cross-Country World Cup kicked off its three-day run on Feb. 3 at the Alpensia Cross-Country Center in three events: sprint, team sprint and skiathlon. The competition had a total of 34 cross-country skiers from 13 countries poling through the snow-capped hills and fields.

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Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland celebrates crossing the finish line for the first time in the women’s skiathlon finals at the FIS Cross-Country World Cup at the Alpensia Cross-Country Center in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province, on Feb. 4.

 

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Justyna Kowalczyk (center) of Poland, Elizabeth Stephen of the U.S. (left) and Ishida Masako of Japan who came in first, second and third in the women’s skiathlon finals at the FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province, on Feb. 4 pose for a commemorative photo during the awards ceremony.

After their competition, the athletes all exclaimed that it was wonderful.

Gleb Retivykh of Russia, who triumphed in the men’s sprint, said of the cross-country course at the venue that, “It’s the most attractive and most demanding course I’ve ever experienced.” The Russian cross-country skier continued to say that, “The corners and the downhill course require perfect precision.”

Silje Slind, a Norwegian who finished second in the women’s sprint, smiled, saying, “The second ascent was quite challenging, but the course as a whole seems well-organized. I really had fun today.”

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Haavard Klemetsen of Norway makes a jump from the ski jump hill at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province, on Feb. 4, as the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, one of test events for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, takes place.

Ski jumpers leapt into the air as the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup started at the Apensia Ski Jumping Center, just next-door to the venue for cross-country skiing. Amid an audience holding its breath in silence below, the participating athletes performed their jumps from the ski jump hill at dizzying heights. After the ski-jumping portion, they changed to different skis for the next cross-country race and mustered all their remaining strength to pole through a 10-kilometer snowy field.

In the Nordic combined, the winner in the ski jump portion has a head start, while the others start with time disadvantages of a few seconds, based on their scores on the jump.

The Nordic combined test event, too, gained rave reviews. Tim Hug of Switzerland, who finished in seventh place in the Feb. 4 competition, said, “It’s the sporting venue: excellent, well-equipped. The courses are really difficult, but excellent.”

By Sohn JiAe
Korea.net Staff Writer
Photos: Jeon Han Korea.net Photographer
[email protected]

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A ski jumper from Estonia flies through the air from the ski jump hill in the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on Feb. 4 in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province.

 

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Johannes Rydzek of Germany rejoices as he comes in first at the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup at the Alpensia Cross-Country Center in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province, on Feb. 4.

 

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Athletes sprint with all their might in the cross-country skiing portion of the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, held at the Alpensia Cross-Country Center in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province, on Feb. 4.

 

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Johannes Rydzek of Germany (center), Mario Seidl of Austria (left) and Fabian Riessle of Germany, who finished first, second and third in the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup on Feb. 4, celebrate during the awards ceremony at the Alpensia Cross-Country Center in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province.