Friday, August 17, 2007

WOC 2007: Some follow-up questions

Today's question: Who is the most successful orienteer in World Championships history? It's clearly open to debate but later in the week I'll suggest some ideas once you've had a chance to think about it.

Now for the answers to yesterday’s questions.

1) Which are the only two WOC races where Sweden, Norway and Finland all failed to win a medal? And which country won gold in both these races?

The first occurrence was the unforgettable gold medal for Yvette Baker at the Short Race at WOC 1999 in Scotland. She was followed home by Lucie Bohm (Austria) and Frauke Schmitt Gran (Germany). The second occurrence clearly needs a British gold again so must be the Sprint Race at WOC 2003 in Switzerland. Second was Rudolf Ropek (Czech Republic) and third was Thierry Gueorgiou (France). Remarkably the leading Scandiwegian (SWE-NOR-FIN for those not in the know) was no higher than 9th.

(Having just checked Google it shows only 649 occurrences of Scandiwegian. That is just about to go up.)

2) Name every country that has ever won a medal at WOC.

The full medal table is here. It breaks down into three major groups. First there are the big five: Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland and Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic. Then come the a group of countries with regular medals but not in such large numbers: this covers Great Britain, Denmark, Russia/Soviet Union, Hungary and France. Between them this top 10 have won every WOC relay medal ever. And finally there are a few outstanding individuals who have picked up a small number of medals for the Ukraine (Yuri Omelthcenko), Austria (Lucie Bohm), Germany (Frauke Schmitt Gran) and Australia (Hanny Allston).

3) Which country has won a women's relay medal at every WOC?

Sweden. Probably an easy one to guess but still an astonishing run, or streak as the Americans would have it. I'll leave you to ponder on the concept of the Swedish women's relay team streaking.

4) Which of the previous three questions will have new answers after WOC 2007?
Time for some inspired guesswork hiding as detailed analysis. Men's middle and men's sprint look outside candidates for no SWE-NOR-FIN. Even the men's relay could go that way: what about three from Russia, Switzerland, France, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Great Britain grabbing the medals. Difficult to see any new medal countries, but if one does appear it will surely be Eastern European. I suppose Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania or Slovakia could sneak in. Or what about a surprise Italian medal. I don't even know if Mamleev is fit and in the team. Will the Swedes sneak a women's relay medal? Switzerland and Finland look real threats, so could Russia, Norway, the Czech Republic or even Australia help to break the sequence? History of course says no.

Latest news from Kiev is that the heat-wave has arrived, with temperatures expected to be in the 30s. At least that will make a change from Scotland last week.

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