Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo won the sprint gold for the fifth time in a row. This time he was more superior than ever before.
Norwegian skiing superstar Johannes Høsflot Klæbo started his career at the World Championships in Planica by taking the fifth consecutive title race victory in the sprint. It came more overwhelmingly than ever before.
Klæbo has never been without a medal in the value race sprints. In 2017 in Lahti, he was a 20-year-old first-timer and achieved bronze.
Since then, he has been undefeated in sprints in two Olympic Games and three World Championships, and also undefeated in the World Cup, except for some occasional losses.
On Planica’s demanding track, which contained an exceptionally long climb by sprint standards, Klæbo stayed out of trouble as usual.
When the countryman who won the qualification and showed a lot of energy Erik Valnes bumped himself out in the semifinals, Klæbo’s margin of victory stretched to second based on the goal camera image Pål Golbergiin was 2.22 seconds, although he slowed down on the finish line and began to fan out.
Prior to this, Klæbo’s biggest margin of victory in qualifying sprints was 1.34 seconds from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Read more: The Norwegian skiing star has a very exceptional relationship with his coach – the grandfather says that the skier’s small size was a difficult thing in adolescence
It is clear that Klæbo is the best sprinter of all time. Over the years, he has also developed into a better and better skier of normal distances, without his sprinting abilities having suffered.
Again once it is worth trying to find out what Klæbo’s superiority consists of.
Worked as coach of the men’s national team even last season Mikko Virtanen talks about the concept of species efficiency.
“Klæbo’s performance in the sport is superior”, says Virtanen, who now works at the Vuokari sports college and is, among other things, a World Championship skier Perttu Hyvärinen coach.
Virtanen lists ten characteristics related to skiing: strength, speed, skill, coordination, technique, balance, tactics, economy, anaerobic performance, aerobic performance.
“When you add skis to that. In five years, I don’t remember seeing Klæbo in a single traditional race where his skis slipped. He knows how to ski, of course, but he also has the equipment of a top man.”
According to Virtanen, species efficiency consists of a combination of the mentioned properties.
“Klæboon is superior in that compared to others. All tactics work for him, because these basic characteristics are in such a fierce pattern that we have no division against him.”
Virtanen asks how many Finnish skiers can beat Klæbo in at least one of the ten features mentioned. In response, he names Iivo Niskanen, but only in one capacity.
“Who is faster, more skilled, who has better coordination and so on. Iivo definitely wins in aerobic performance. Someone can beat Klæbo in terms of strength, if you think about weight room strength, but if you think about sports strength, I don’t know.”
In Virtanen’s opinion, it is a big challenge in Finland and other countries to find skiers who can meet the level of requirements created by Klæbo.
“He will win as long as this does not happen. He’s like Usain Bolt. His features are made for sprint skiing. That’s why he very rarely loses,” says Virtanen.
Virtanen states that Klæbo must be having a pretty bad day to lose the sprint race.
“If we include those skis, he beats us in this palette of features all the time 9-2, straight up. The same applies to other countries.”
In Virtanen’s opinion, Russia Alexander Bolshunov has been able to contend with Klæbo in several capacities.
“When we go on normal trips, the proportion of aerobic endurance increases significantly. Then Iivo will be able to beat Klæbo by 15 kilometers and hopefully in these games by 50 kilometers.”
Cry remember the last time Klæbo would have run into problems in a sprint race, for example falling or breaking his pole?
There were a lot of crashes and broken equipment in Thursday’s races, but Klæbo kept going.
“Klæbo’s sprint skiing skills are so incredibly good that he doesn’t get into bad places because of it. Even though he is sometimes the last in the group, he skis those outside corners and goes around the others and doesn’t get into skirmishes. He doesn’t fall, he doesn’t break poles and he doesn’t get into tight spots when he can afford to go around.”
Klæbo led the World Cup final from start to finish. This time he gradually got away from the others, but in the Ruka World Cup, for example, he practically decided the sprint victory in the middle of the course by taking a few well-timed explosive steps in a tight corner.
“He is able to make decisions with quick individual movements. He can even change his tactics during the race. Tactical knowledge during the competition is important.”
When talking about Klæbo’s technical skill, Virtanen takes the point of comparison of two of the world’s best ice hockey players, whose special strengths include skating skills.
“Why Connor McDavid is so fast in curling and why Miro Heiskanen skating looks so peaceful. The same thing as Klæbo. That’s the ability to generate pressure. However, skiing is also a sport of skill. There are four pieces of equipment, two skis and two poles. They should get as hard as possible as easily as possible. Yes, his skills are in a class of his own.”
Skiing in Klæbo never seems like a busy, teeth-gritting grind.
“His skiing looks natural and easy. He is not an aggressive skier, although he can find frequency if needed. It’s like he’s gliding on top of the snow,” says Virtanen.