Even a broken pole couldn't spoil the fun. A sixth-placed finish in the final sprint race in Quebec City, Canada on March 17 was enough for the Norwegian ski star Heidi Weng to clinch her first overall World Cup crown.
With her second place in the three-stage World Cup Final over the weekend, Weng secured the seasonal title with a margin of 414 points over Krista Pärmäkoski of Finland. She also claimed the small globe for the distance standing.
Last weekend at Holmenkollen, I realised that I had a good chance to win itHeidi Weng
Despite wearing the World Cup leader’s yellow bib since mid-December, she never had her sights set on the large crystal globe until the season’s end.
"Actually, I wasn't so focused on the overall," said Weng. "Last weekend at Holmenkollen, I realised that I had a good chance to win it, and now I have, and that's the biggest success for me!"
It took Weng a while to become a winner. A perennial podium finisher, she’d taken second and third a whopping 37 times before claiming her first World Cup triumph. She finally managed a victory in January 2016, and went on to repeat the feat twice that March.
But this season's seen a different Heidi Weng.
In the early season, she landed one win after another. She started out by claiming her first victories in a mini-Tour and a sprint World Cup on home snow in Lillehammer in December.
She then convincingly scored her maiden Tour de Ski title last January. At the 2017 World Champs in Lahti, Finland, she added an individual silver medal and two team gold medals to her collection.
I never felt that I was as good as the other girls, but I think I have more confidence this season.Heidi Weng
By now, Heidi seems very comfortable atop the podium, so what’s made the difference?
"I never felt that I was as good as the other girls, but I think I have more confidence this season," she says. "I also got much better at sprinting, with many podiums and more points won there. We have many good sprinters in Norway, so in training, I could already see I was becoming a better sprinter."
It’s the end of a long season, but Heidi's already looking forward to next year’s Olympics:
“First it's important to make the team; there’s no guarantee in Norway. It's a hard team to make. But for sure if I make the team, I would like a medal in Korea.
"First, however, I will go somewhere warm with my boyfriend to relax for a few days and to enjoy the start of the off-season!”