Today marked the second day in the week of world class racing here in Norway, with the Middle Qualification race on the forefront of everyone’s attention. No athlete will win a medal from their performance today, but the outcome of each of the races does determine who receives a chance to compete for one.
The rules of the game are simple. The 60 competitors for the Middle Final are drawn from the top 20 of each of three qualification heats. The three qualification forks are completely disjointed from one another, such that it makes no sense whatsoever to follow anyone from the other quali races. This may become very tempting, however, as three people start in each start interval, one from each fork. Positions 1-20 of each qualification race run the A-Final tomorrow, 21-40 run the B-Final, and the remaining athletes race in the C-Final. Consequently the Middle Qualification typically becomes a strategic race more for position rather than outrightly winning, and everyone’s goal is to survive in the top 20 by the end of the day.
Yesterday’s weather was way too hot and sunny for a quality race to happen, and we hoped for some cooler weather for today’s Middle race. Our hopes were blown way out of proportion with temperatures in the low teens (mid 50s Fahrenheit) and a downpour of rain to make matters all the more miserable. Many of our racers finished the race and had trouble getting their shivering under control as they waited to find their bags and change into dry, warm clothing. Michael and Melissa had to shuttle people back to the cabins to get everyone warm rather than waiting and wet in the arena.
The results from Team USA today were not as good as they could have been. Our two Scandinavian teammates, Morten Jørgensen and Amanda Johansson managed to qualify themselves for the A-Final tomorrow. We had a number of competitors who didn’t qualify for the A-Final, but still qualified for the B-Final, namely Tyra, Julia, Evalin, and Isabel from the Women and Will Hubsch from the Men. Unfortunately Melanie, Addison, Matej, and Austin didn’t perform their best races today and will be running the C-Final tomorrow.
There are still three races left in this exciting week of international competition, and hopefully team USA can still pull together some impressive finishes before the end of JWOC. We will continue to keep all of you posted on what transpires here in Norway.