O Log - Spectating the EOC Relay


    What spectating at O races is like most of the time

    We were told we were unable to run in the relay, even tho the Ukrainians managed to run a mixed team. Which is just as well, as I was shot, and it wouldn't have been that much fun to be 20 minutes down coming into the spectator control anyway; the crowd didn't seem to have too much mercy for others in that position.

    So I spectated the race. It was actually exciting when you could see something happening, and you had to keep moving between the spectator control and finish and pay attention to the announcer, but the vast majority of the time it was like very spotty radio coverage. It was like watching an auto race where you can't see the race track, they run the cars thru one lap on the track you can see, run them out again, then run them into the finish.

    One thing the organizers did that was pretty smart was stagger the men's and women's races to maximize things happening at the spectator control and the finish, and to make sure there was no overlap of the men's and women's leaders on any of the legs at these points. One thing they could have done that was smarter, assuming the technology exists, is to have a sorted leaderboard with time at last control, updated each time a runner punches a control. While this sampling would be somewhat discrete, watching such a leaderboard would be an acceptable way to spectate the race. They only had a couple of radio controls, and no visual feedback from them. The spectator control was a 300m running leg down a field, so you got no sense of competition in the forest. What can you do?

    Another thing that could have been done was an explanation of the forking (or if there was any, especially after the spectator control, which I guess is rare). The men's race was decided between the spectator control and the finish, and there was no way for a spectator to tell if this was due to boom, execution speed, route choice, or runners having a more difficult fork in hand.

    In any case, it was fun to attempt to get the most out of the spectating experience as possible. I have neither the skill nor equipment to be a sports photographer, but here are a handful of snapshots from the race anyway.

    Mass start of the men's relay
    Mass start of the women's relay
    Simone Niggli-Luder anxiously awaiting her teammate (the Swiss finished 7th)
    Margin between first (Emil Wingstedt) and second (Mats Haldin) on the last leg with about 6 minutes to go ...
    ... with Carsten Jørgensen not too far back in third.

    Mats Haldin pulling out the gold for Finland
    Carsten moving up to silver for Denmark
    Emil dropping back to bronze for Sweden
    Sweden (Karolina A. Höjsgaard, Jenny Johansson, Svärd Gunilla) capturing the gold in the women's race