Colorado’s Noah Hoffman competed in the skiathlon event this weekend, a new event consisting of 15K of classic cross-country skiing technique and 15K of freestyle. All told, it’s just over an hour of pain for world-class skiers.
Hoffman looked strong during the classic portion, staying just a few seconds behind the lead pace, until he crashed on a curve — and broke one of his poles. He eventually received a replacement, but he had lost too much time to compete for a medal.
The fall was the last a television viewer would see of Hoffman for about 45 minutes, until a huffing, driving, navy blue Team U.S.A. uniform made the turn for the final 100-meter stretch to the finish. Below, about 15 feet from the line, that blurred figure is Hoffman, giving it everything he’s got to pass one more not-as-driven competitor:
Hoffman pushed himself right to the finish line … so he could finish 35th instead of 36th. No one else in that picture had as much heart in the game as he did.
Hoffman caught them all after skiing part of the race with one pole, for goodness sake, and I can’t even figure how that worked. Maybe he held it with two hands and pushed between his legs, or something.
Coloradoans: when Hoffman gets back home, see to it that he doesn’t pay for his own beer.