- It's been a perfect week

Several of the cross-country athletes did their last world cup laps on Saturday. For Mariann Marthinsen, it might just be the very last of her career. All the athletes commended the organizers for a job well done on the soon to be over event in Surnadal.

DSC_1245
Anja Wicker. Photo: Nathan Lediard / Lediard Foto AS
DSC_3448
Oksana Masters (left). Photo: Nathan Lediard / Lediard Foto AS
DSC_3598
Andrew Soule. Photo: Nathan Lediard / Lediard Foto AS
DSC_3691
Daniel Cnossen with photographer Mari Næss Bolme, Lediard Foto AS. Photo: Nathan Lediard / Lediard Foto AS
DSC_4272
Fernando Rocha. Photo: Nathan Lediard / Lediard Foto AS
DSC_3806
Daniel Cnossen in action. Photo: Nathan Lediard / Lediard Foto AS

Norwegian Mariann Marthinsen came in second in today’s 5 km sit-ski, behind Oksana Masters. Marthinsen deems the performance a worthy end to the season – and to her career.

- It’s been an amazing day. Masters is a force of nature, so I’m pleased with my own performance. I want to thank the organizers for an excellent event, Marthinsen smiles as she is interviewed by Norwegian broadcasting TV. They’re doing a news report on Marthinsen’s career, which includes two world cup wins, a Paralympic gold medal from Sotchi and an impressive track record in swimming.

Sit-ski world cup winner Oksana Masters is also pleased with both her own performance and the world cup week as a whole.

- It was a tough race, but the snow was good. The week has been amazing with perfect weather. Natalia Kocherova, winning bronze for Russia, agrees with Masters and adds that she thinks everything has been perfect, from the cheering audience to the food.

Germany’s Anja Wicker chimes in with praise to the event and its organizers. She’s won two out of two possible biathlon races, aiming for the third and last tomorrow.

- It’s been a perfect week here in Surnadal. We’ve had nice conditions and a good track, great weather and an amazing atmosphere.  

Being a part of the world elite, it’s not easy to maintain the lead with so many strong competitors. Despite the massive amount of training and competing that comes with participating both in cross-country and biathlon, Wicker is looking forward to Sunday’s last race.

In the 10 km sit-ski for men, the Americans dominated the podium. Daniel Cnossen secured the winning position ahead of Russian Alexey Bychenok and teammate and sit-ski world cup winner Andrew Soule.

Cnossen arrived in Norway a whole week before the world cup opening to train with the Norwegian team.

- I’ve had a very good week. The Norwegian team has been so good to me. They took me in and helped me adjust to the time difference.

Cnossen credits his skis, the icy snow and his coach for today’s winning performance. He also expresses great joy for teammate Soule:

- I’m so happy for Andy, Cnossen says.

Soule looks back on a series of great events, as he calls it.

- This has been a great end to the season. The organizers have done a fantastic job. I think I did a good race, and my teammate Cnossen did a great one. It’s been so much fun, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Brazilian Fernando "Aranha" Rocha might not have claimed the podium for his own during his stay in Surnadal, but his presence has not gone unnoticed in the track. The relentless and ever positive Rocha even got his own fan club of Norwegian students running and cheering “Fernandoooo!” alongside with him.  

- I feel so welcome here! The people are simply amazing, and the kids were awesome, they’ve been the best part of this whole thing. I hope I leave a great example for the kids by doing my very best every time. If I can inspire them to do anything, that would be amazing.

Rocha is the only Paralympic athlete from Brazil. He returns to his home country tomorrow, to start preparing for a new triathlon season.

- I enjoy the opportunities and challenges. Every attempt is a new discovery, Rocha smiles.

This article was written and translated to English by Eva Rønning, editor of Trollheimsporten.