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Discussion: WOC 2023

in: World Orienteering Championships 2023 (Jul 11–16, 2023 - Flims, Graubünden, CH)

Jul 12, 2023 1:35 PM # 
Since no-one else has posted about WOC yet I thought I might as well start the ball rolling. Didn't get to see the middle qualifier in person (was otherwise engaged in an IOF Council meeting) but will be there for the rest. A thundery day but the race took place in the day's driest window.

All the big guns got through without undue difficulty. Of the 'Anglosphere' countries that I saw:

Australia: 1 man (Henry McNulty) and 1 woman (Vanessa Round) through (Pat Jaffe missed out by two seconds).
NZ: 2 men (Tim Robertson, Matt Ogden) and 1 woman (Lizzie Ingham) though (Lizzie qualifying 6th).
Great Britain: 2 men (Ralph Street, Alastair Thomas) and 2 women (Megan Carter Davies, Grace Molloy) through.
USA: no automatic qualifiers, I think Anton Salmenkyla (16th) and Ali Crocker (21st) will go through as highest-placed from the country.
Canada: Vegard Jarvis Westergard was the only automatic qualifier but Emily Kemp (17th) will go through as highest-ranked woman.
Jul 12, 2023 3:13 PM # 
I'm very surprised this thread isn't ten pages long already. I'd expect this little activity for the WMTBOC but not WOC.

I wonder how South Korea and Colombia go about getting a runner through to the final. Between their twelve athletes they racked up:
-2 × over max time
-1 × mp
-3 × DNF
-3 × last place
-2 × 2nd last place

Not that I expect to make the top half of the field when my turn comes around next month.
Jul 12, 2023 3:16 PM # 
You have to be within 100% of the winning time to get a run in the final.
Jul 12, 2023 3:35 PM # 
Ah so no consolation prize then for each country to have at least one rep as is the case for the MTBO version (at least in years when they remember that there's a 60 rider field limit for the long final).
Jul 12, 2023 3:38 PM # 
Congrats to all the qualifiers! I was especially pleased to see Anton S. come so close to an automatic qualifying position.
Good luck to all in the Final.
Jul 12, 2023 4:19 PM # 
Looking at the start list for tomorrow, I reckon that if she has a decent run Vanessa has a good chance of some extended couch time.
Jul 12, 2023 4:30 PM # 
Oooh way to burn the USA's #1 hopeful.

I note the last ten runners in the women's field consist of three Swiss and four Swedish athletes. Unsurprisingly the three filling the gaps are all Scandinavian (if you include Finland). Almost identical for the men except replace one of the Swiss runners with a Ukranian.
Jul 12, 2023 4:39 PM # 
I think Vanessa on a good day is likely to beat Ali on a good day, but Ali's probably the next best of the early starters.
Jul 12, 2023 5:05 PM # 
Waiting for a long run of comments on how to properly map inflatable goats.
Jul 12, 2023 7:35 PM # 
Scandinavian (if you include Finland)

Jul 12, 2023 10:16 PM # 
@Nevin, It doesn't look inflatable.
Jul 13, 2023 12:46 PM # 
That upper 4–5 route is so obvious to me staring at my phone yet only Slava Ukraini
Jul 13, 2023 2:10 PM # 
Kyburz clearly lost the race on the last long-leg choice (or Fosser won), and Ojanaho looks like the best choicer out there, having picked the upper 4–5 along with Glibov. This seems to be a Long entirely decided by route choice; a rarity among recents!! Also note how relatively few runners picked the best route on each of the three long legs. Well done, planning team.
Jul 13, 2023 2:37 PM # 
That was really enjoyable to watch!
Congrats to all athletes and also to the course planners and TV crew.
Jul 13, 2023 3:56 PM # 
Amazing race. Great route analysis on World of O.
Jul 13, 2023 7:39 PM # 
Looking at only the maps from the comfort of home, the middle looked really fun and the long looked really boring, basically mostly running down a giant hill. Even the ‘very long toute choice’ wasn’t that interesting, although the 2 later ones seemed a bit better.

But then I am innately predisposed against Swiss hillside O.
Jul 13, 2023 8:52 PM # 
@Arnold I *sort of* agree with you. However, those long distance courses do look super challenging both physically and navigationally and this is world Champs not a mass participation event so the priority doesn't need to be fun courses. The course planners did an amazing job.

The race was super interesting to follow, fair, and seemed to provide a race the athletes appreciated. It was impressive how the top athletes handled that course.

I would love to run that middle quali and I'm anticipating the middle final will be equally drool worthy.
Jul 13, 2023 9:43 PM # 
The Middle qualifier was in appropriately easy terrain compared to what I (and most others?) expect for the final. Some of that expected terrain type went unused on the edge of the qualifier map. Likely more difficult than fun.
Jul 14, 2023 3:03 AM # 
Is there only one Middle Final -- ie, the "A" Final?

I was surprised that the JWOC Middle was a single race...
Jul 14, 2023 3:36 AM # 
The addition of the sprint relay led to the elimination of the Middle quali for JWOC.
Jul 14, 2023 6:32 AM # 
Men's long TV broadcast was old school TV orienteernig. For example Olli just appeared at arena and took bronze without being shown on gps or picture at all.

It was really tight race both gold and bronze for several last kilometers and they must have noticed it, but somehow they did not want to show it as GPS on TV. Did they think showing GPS would reveal what will happen and it would kill all the exitement, so better not show it?
Jul 14, 2023 3:59 PM # 
"We are sorry that some athletes ran to the wrong capricorn" is a line for the ages.

The arena layout for the Long, meanwhile, was a nice idea poorly executed - an excessive amount of dead running, plenty of athletes pulling up short at one of the two inflatable "finish" arches before placed some way before the actual finish, and an utterly pointless last control that was impossible to interpret on the map and which was tucked around a corner of the run-in so at least one top athlete significantly overshot it and had to double back. (At least this time the confusing run-in didn't decide any medals, unlike the October World Cup races.)

And yes, from what I saw of the TV broadcast it definitely appears to have gone backward this year. They were unlucky that Tove's tracker failed, but have they forgotten how to do split-screen GPS? At least there was some entertainment value in listening to Jonas Merz attempting to give on-air feedback to the producers.
Jul 14, 2023 4:09 PM # 
I should say that I thought the variety of routechoices on that final hill made for an entertaining finish, so kudos to the course setters for that.
Jul 14, 2023 4:10 PM # 
"Bulletin 4 was clear on how the control looks like"

A description in a bulletin is probably not something I'm thinking of near the end of a long distance race.
Jul 14, 2023 11:28 PM # 
it does seem to be a Swiss thing to have a meaningless control in the middle of a taped run-in to the finish - I'm sure I've seen this in a couple of recent world cups. Do they think seeing competitors punch a control enhances the on-site audience's orienteering audience?
Jul 15, 2023 7:20 AM # 
I think it's probably more that TV wants a control in the direct line of sight as the runners are finishing.
Jul 15, 2023 8:07 AM # 
Is Kasper Fosser going out with Simona Aebersold? Otherwise I find the picture on the WOC homepage mildly disturbing.
Jul 15, 2023 9:01 AM # 
Yes, Kasper and Simone have been a couple for at least a year (they were at the World Games). (Of course I don’t know if they’re still a couple now. )
Jul 15, 2023 9:48 AM # 
A silver lining to our flight being delayed into California: I get to see the middle results live! Ali looks to have had a really strong run.
Jul 15, 2023 9:54 AM # 
Ali did really well. Leader among the finishers for some 20 minutes now. Emily had a disastrous firstcontrol but has been fighting back hard.
Jul 15, 2023 10:34 AM # 
First few controls must be really tricky.

Hagstrom and Alexandersson miss #1, Gemperle missed #2

Aebersold making same error that Kemp made en route to #1. going really Then Aebersold missed #3

Winning time likely isn't going to be hit today
Jul 15, 2023 12:09 PM # 
Winning time likely isn't going to be hit today
Did anyone tell them TG retired?
Jul 15, 2023 12:17 PM # 
Though, is it just me, or do controls 6-13 look easier than they needed to be? It seems like there were trickier zones.
Jul 15, 2023 1:05 PM # 
Big congrats to Vegard (CAN) with his 20th place! Great result. top non euro and top “anglo sphere” (to use Blair’s term) in the men’s race.
Jul 15, 2023 1:29 PM # 
It was nice to get a bit more GPS on the TV coverage today, although again there was the issue of previously unseen athletes suddenly appearing at the finish in medal positions.

I really wish they wouldn't do the lingering extreme close-ups of (mostly) female athletes collapsed at the finish line. Those really are disturbing.
Jul 15, 2023 1:45 PM # 
I would like to know what was going through the mind of Albin Ridefelt (SWE) around the penultimate control. For a large part of the rae he was running with Mathias Kyburz who started two minutes behind him and eventually won the race. If Ridefelt had stayed with Kyburz for two more controls - simple controls - he could have been in the medals. Instead he 'lost' close to a minute and ended up fourth.
Now did he genuinely miss the control or did he decide that by tagging with Kyburz he had not earned a podium finish so he hung back. If it is the lattter he is my hero of the day.
Jul 15, 2023 1:49 PM # 
Would be nice to think that was the case, but he would have had no way of knowing what the scenario was unless he heard the commentary (which is possible).
Jul 15, 2023 3:17 PM # 
I've done some preliminary calculations on potential division movements. Caveat #1 - I haven't double-checked this. Caveat #2 - I'm assuming Russia and Belarus are excluded (have sought clarification on this), if they are included with zero points then there might be no relegation from men's division 2 (unless the 3rd division 3 team outscore Bulgaria), and perhaps from women's division 1 (although the 2nd division 2 team might still outscore France). Caveat #3 - a relay mispunch can shake things up and put a team I don't mention here into the danger zone.


Division 1/2 - Estonia will probably be relegated (unless they beat Ukraine by 10 places), with Denmark likely to be promoted. Latvia (likely 2nd division 2) can also displace Ukraine by beating them (by any margin) in the relay.

Division 2/3 - Bulgaria almost certainly relegated with Slovakia likely to join them (unless they beat Hungary by 5 places). Canada almost certainly promoted, with the 2nd promotion place almost certain to go to the winner of Japan-Belgium.


Division 1/2 - France almost certain to be relegated, Latvia likely to replace them unless Austria beat Latvia by 5 places. Almost certainly only 1 pair of countries swapping here.

Division 2/3 - Canada (with no relay team) are relegated, USA likely to join them unless there is a mispunch above them (otherwise they would need to beat Australia or Spain by 7 places, Hungary by 9 or Italy or Bulgaria by 11). Slovakia will be promoted despite no relay team, Japan, Portugal, Moldova and the Netherlands all have a chance of the 2nd promotion slot with Japan in the best position (it's also possible that a second country from that group could go up if they beat the loser of Australia-Spain).
Jul 15, 2023 3:22 PM # 
Where can I see the current divisions?
Jul 15, 2023 3:25 PM # 
In the 'national quotas' document at (noting that Russia and Belarus aren't listed in this - if they weren't suspended, both would be in division 2 men, with Russia in division 1 women and Belarus in division 3).
Jul 16, 2023 9:17 AM # 
Jon X:
@Blair thanks for sharing that. Fancy sharing the provisional scores too so that we have them ahead of the relay and can see whether any other Div 2/3 teams have a chance of leaping into the promotion places?

@gordhun according to GPS it looks like Albin just chose a different line from Kyburz on the second part of the leg into the penultimate control, and lost some time finding it.
Jul 16, 2023 9:45 AM # 
I don't think I've ever heard of anyone "hanging back" to not get a medal because they didn't think they deserved it.

At most I think people would (semi) deliberately take a different route choice, which might have been what happened here, although I'm still guessing it's because Albin thought his route was better, rather than because he felt bad.

Wonder how Natalia Gemperle feels about her medal. Pretty good I suspect and there are plenty of other examples like that in history.
Jul 16, 2023 10:16 AM # 
Unfortunately I left the piece of paper with the scores back at the hotel :-(
Jul 16, 2023 10:16 AM # 
Jul 16, 2023 10:22 AM # 
Arnold I have never heard of it before either. And I have seen a number of people hitch their wagon to other orienteers to gain better placing than they deserve and it wasn't long ago that one WOC runner admitted how bad he felt after he was one of two that hitch on to a guy running particularly strongly and found himself on the podium.
Gemperle at least took the lead for a short period of time but it is a worthy question you pose.
Small trains of two or three were very common out there. Most not lasting for very long.
Jul 16, 2023 3:40 PM # 
Re: Kyburz vs Ridefelt - Albin blamed himself in the interview on Swedish TV for not following Mattias into the finish.

He was orienteering independently and in his own words actually leading the two much of the way (except for extreme running sections). He took his own route into the penultimate control expecting Mattias to go the same way - then he made a small mistake and lost the medal.

The discussion about following is always coming up when there are medals at play. Truth is that most world class orienteers* orienteer on their own - they don´t "follow" - then it is undisputable that you often gain a lot of speed not having to do all of it alone.

*) Talking about medal contenders here - maybe top-10-15 runners. Strong runners from "lesser" O countries may always gain places with the right help...
Jul 16, 2023 4:37 PM # 
Albin also said how thrilled he was for his OK Linne clubmate Jannis Bonek to get a medal ahead of him. He added that tying Jannis for the bronze would have been the ideal outcome. :)
Jul 16, 2023 5:42 PM # 
The first stage of the SOW took place today in the same area as the WOC Middle. Well, it may be easy for elite and young runners, but if you're older or not too fit, it is very physical, almost impossible to run more than 20 meters outside of the paths.
Jul 16, 2023 7:53 PM # 
The results showing on IOF Eventor are incomplete and I would like to see something labelled as 'official results' before being too definitive about division swaps - the key issue here being the Danish men, who I am assuming are still in the results unless or until I hear otherwise. (For those who weren't following at the time, the Danish second runner collapsed near the finish - presumably from heat issues - and had significant help to get across the line, which certainly would have led to disqualification in athletics but orienteering rules are not so definitive).

That said, I think that Latvia and Denmark have been promoted to men's division 1 at the expense of Ukraine and Estonia, and Canada and Belgium to division 2 in place of Slovakia and Bulgaria. In the women's, Latvia will be promoted to division 1 in place of France, and Slovakia and Japan to division 2 in place of Canada and the USA.
Jul 16, 2023 9:32 PM # 
With today's gold in the relay Tove Alexandersson has tied Simone Niggli for most WOC medals with 31. Simone still has most gold.

Simone Niggli-Luder G-23 S-2 B-6 TOT-31
Tove Alexandersson G-19 S-9 B-3 TOT-31
Jul 17, 2023 3:52 PM # 
Official results have been published and Denmark are in them, so I think the swaps above are correct, although formal confirmation will come from the IOF office. I had missed that Lithuania didn't have a women's relay team so it was them, and not Australia, who were potentially in the firing line if the Netherlands had maintained their high placing from the first two legs.
Jul 19, 2023 8:16 AM # 
Here is one of the WOC GPS animations I made, Middle Men animation focusing runners .behind Matthias:

This discussion thread is closed.