Elvira Oeberg will keep winning (at least) two competitions per trimester, Lisa Theresa Hauser will win her first Olympic gold medal, Quentin Fillon Maillet and Emilien Jacquelin will have a close fight for the Total Score title, Eduard Latypov will win his first sprint, Sweden will be the the most successful women team in Beijing 2022.
Elvira Oeberg will keep winning (at least) twice per trimester
For weeks before this season’s start, the information kept coming from Sweden that Elvira Oeberg’s ski speed is quite fantastic. Elvira indeed blasted out of the gates in Oestersund and sustained an incredible intensity on the course until the last weekend of Trimester 1, when she won in the pursuit and mass start of Annecy Le Grand Bornand, her first victories in the BMW IBU World Cup. Elvira is on average one penalty loop faster than the rest of the field and her shooting accuracy is at 83%. Translated into action this means that if she misses two times or less she is hard to beat in the pursuit and mass start. And she is almost unbeatable in the sprint if she misses once or shoots 10/10 (which she is yet to do this season).
First Olympic gold for Lisa Theresa Hauser
She missed just 11 times in Trimester 1, and six of those misses came into her home venue of Hochfilzen, where the stress got the better of Lisa Theresa Hauser. Now, this means that in the remaining seven individual races Hauser triggered 130 shots and hit 125 targets for the accuracy of 96% (even with Hochfilzen flop it is at 92%). After her win in the sprint at the Season Opening, Hauser said that her coaches plan for her form to peak in Beijing. The combination of her shooting excellence and a notch elevated ski speed represent a high probability prediction that Hauser could win gold in of the three 20-shoot competitions in China.
Quentin and Emilien will keep chasing each other
Emilien Jacquelin and Quentin Fillon Maillet were the sixth and the seventh man to wear a yellow bib in Trimester 1. They each celebrated a grandiose win in front of a jubilant crowd in France. They were also the only two athletes before the start of the season who openly said that they wanted to win the Crystal globe. These are, of course, big words and difficult to follow with an act. But their performance has so far lived up to them. Finishing in yellow at the end of the season is a very rare achievement, and with some other strong nations (most notably Norway) planning to skip one week of the world cup to prepare better for Beijing 2022, they might not have much company in the fight but a certain Swede Sebastian Samuelsson.
Eduard Latypov will get his first world cup win
Eduard Latypov was fifth in the Total Score after the mass start in Annecy Le Grand Bornand, distanced just 35 points from the leader Emilien Jacquelin. Latypov finished in second place twice in France in the sprint and pursuit. He won 37 points per competition in the first nine weeks of 2021/2022, or four less than Jacquelin. With the combination of good speed, the Russian is gaining 30 meters each kilometre compared to the average of the field, and the shooting accuracy of 87%, he is in a powerful position to get, most likely in the sprint or pursuit, his first win in the world cup on a day when everything tilts his way.
Sweden will win the most Olympic medals among women
Out of 18 available podiums for them in Trimester 1, Hanna and Elvira Oeberg won seven, a success rate of 40%. There will be eight podiums available to them in Beijing 2022, and if they are to continue with the success rate of 40%, they will win at least three individual medals in China. Hanna and Elvira were also the fastest two skiers in Trimester 1. That makes the Swedish relay very difficult to beat. At least a medal sounds like a very likely outcome for Sweden. The team in yellow and blue was also the leader in the World Cup Nations Women with 2,800 points, almost 300 points ahead of France in second.
Photo: IBU; C. Manzoni, V. Thibaut