Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sweden Wins Innsbruck's Nations Team Event

As the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi came to an end, it was time for teams to switch their focus back to the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup races.
Today 10 nations lined up their athletes in the Innsbruck Nations’ Team Event (NTE) and battled each other for an hour and a half in front of a couple thousands cheering fans.
Teams representing Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, USA, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Slovenia and the Czech Republic put on a great show in order to score victory for their nations. Here is the full team roster.
In round n.1 Norway earned a spot in the Quarterfinals after beating Slovenia while Germany claimed their spot in the Quarterfinals by kicking out the Czech team.
In the Quarterfinals, the surprisingly strong Norwegian team sent the home favorite Austrian team home to the disappointment of the local fans. It was a tight race until the fourth heat, but a mistake by Philipp Schoerghofer made it 3-1 for Norway and sent the Austrians packing.
Team USA defeated France, Sweden was faster than Italy and the Germans, who won the last NTE at the Finals in Lenzerheide got kicked out by the Swiss team.
Norway, USA, Sweden and Switzerland moved on to the Semifinals and Norway and Sweden once again won their heats making the Big Final a Scandinavian battle. The losers of the semifinals, USA and Switzerland gave the medal a last shot in the Small Final run. Switzerland made the best out of their second chance and claimed bronze, leaving USA off the podium.
At the last NTE Sweden made it to the Big Final but lost to Germany so today, they made sure the same didn’t happen when racing Norway. After giving it their best shot, they did indeed claim the top step of the podium, leaving Norway in second place.
"It’s such a fun event, and as I live in Innsbruck part time it’s even more special. It’s so fun to compete with your teammates", Maria Pietilae-Holmner said after helping her team to victory. "When I woke up this morning I felt so tired, but than I came up here and the adrenaline gets to you in this event. I was getting quite nervous at the start but I guess it worked well in the end. I think this is a great way to present our sport, I definitely can see it being a great event if it makes it into the Olympic Programme in 2018 and I certainly wouldn’t mind adding a couple of events to the season…maybe we could have a NTA in Stockholm? I’m sure we could make a fantastic atmosphere".
A second place was far from disappointing for Norway who had a rough time at the last NTE.
"Today was so good, last time we got kicked out in the first round and it was disappointing not to get through. Today things turned out much better for us and I think we can be happy with this second place", Mona Loeseth one of the two sisters racing for Team Norway said just before walking on the podium and celebrating with her team. "I love this event and the team feeling it has. It’s so different than being on the start all by yourself, like we all are in normal World Cup races. There, if you ski out you impact only yourself but here you are just one piece of a team and how you perform matters to all".

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