Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Browsing the WOC results database and learning some history


I spent some time browsing the WOC results database.

I started by looking at all of the U.S. results (251 individual races, beginning in 1974). As I looked at the results, I was struck by Hillary Saeger's sprint qualifying result from 2006. Going by percent behind the winner, Hillary's result (16.7 percent back) was the best by a US woman other than Kristin Hall or Pavlina Brautigam. That's pretty good for someone running their first WOC (though not her first WOC race as Hillary ran the middle qualifier a few days earlier).

Hillary is young; 22, I think. Which raised a question - How old (or young!) were Kristin and Pavlina at their first WOC races, and how well did they do?

Kristin could have run a WOC in 1985. I think she was 18 at the time. She ran well at the selection races, but turned down the chance to make the trip to Australia. She made he WOC debut in 1991 at the age of 24. She finished 13.8 percent behind in her best race then.

Pavlina was trickier because I had to check her earlier results when she ran for Bulgaria. Her first WOC was in 1983 at the age of 22 (same as Hillary). She was 41.9 percent back (comparable to Hillary's 2006 middle qualifier and sprint final).

And, that raised another question - How old were Kristin and Pavlina when they had their best results? Kristin had her best at the age of 26. Pavlina was 30 when she had her best result.

Hillary's sprint qualifier shows that she's got the capacity to be one of the best US women ever. But her other WOC races are much more ordinary (and her sprint final map shows one of those races-best-forgotten). It'll be interesting to see how she goes forward.

posted by Michael | 8:02 PM


Isn't it easier to be closer to the winner in a sprint race than in other distances? I guess there was no sprint distance when Kristin Hall and Pavlina Brautigam made their WOC debuts? I don't know if your comparison is completely fair to them - but no doubt Hillary made a good race in Denmark;)
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