As half of our crew went out to do the forerunning of the 50 kilometer mens race, the second half, made up of Malcolm, Liz, Kennedy, Jacob, John, Justin, Keelan, and I headed to the stands above the stadium to watch the race. Surrounded by cheering Norwegians we set up our Team USA, and pretty much every team, cheer club. Waving our American flags with vigor and shouting to our hearts’ content we watched our forerunners head out on the course and the athletes enter the starting zone. The excitement was about to begin!!!
We watched as the racers started and began the first 5km looking at the jumbotron as the skied through the super hilly first part of the course. As they came back around for the second smaller loop the racers had already spread out with a pack in front with Sundby and Alex Harvey-yay!-and a struggling Ustigov along with several other skiers.
Sitting in the stands was a very exciting experience as we waved our flags and cheered. We were so enthusiastic that we were able to catch the eye of the interview announcer who had control of who in the audience went up onto the big screen, and she decided to come up to where we were in the stands and have a little chat with us…while it was being viewed. We talked with her a little bit before she ended up interviewing me, her first question begin what I though of Petter Northug. Personally I don’t really like the guy because of his attitude, however, I’m pretty sure if I had said that I would have been mobbed by the Norwegian masses, so I stuck with a solid, “He’s really good in those last 100 meters.”
After waiting a little while an American entered the stadium, Scott Patterson, and I was able to give him a whoop of good luck and a cheer for Team USA! As the race continued we watched Sundby and Niskannen make their breakaway from the pack and soon started betting and rooting for one or the other. John was a Niskannen supporter and made a bet with Keelan on who would win, and the loser gets to eat as many pieces of brown cheese as seconds back…John did not win that bet and ended up having to eat 10 slices of cheese the next morning. As the finishers crossed the line we yelled wildly and waved our flags for all skiers, even though most were not from USA. Once most skiers had crossed the finish line we headed back to our waxing room area by the feed zone to meet up with the forerunners and watch the Nordic Combined race. All in all it was a very exciting day that left my voice hoarse, and my energy high for tomorrow.