USA Juniors Commit to Intensive Summer of Training and Competition

We are excited to share our plans for the 2017 edition of the Orienteering USA junior trip to Europe. This is a phenomenal opportunity for our most committed young orienteers to develop their skills and build friendships with juniors from the U.S. and around the world that will help keep them interested in the sport for years to come. Isabel Bryant, captain of the Junior National Team, commented, “For the top juniors in the U.S., international competition inspires us by giving us a chance to race against a lot of athletes our age who are better than us. We also get to experience the vibrant orienteering community at really big races; that helps us visualize what USA orienteering could look like in the future. We bond a lot with our U.S. teammates, which helps to keep juniors in orienteering, and motivates us to continue training even after the trip is over. Having the support of orienteers back in the USA makes a huge difference. I hope you will read and comment on our logs and blogs!”

The trip will run from June 12 to July 21 and is broken into four segments. All Junior National and Junior Development Team members are welcome to attend any or all of segments 1, 2 and 4. Segment 3, from July 1-16, is for JWOC team members only.

Segment 1 — Jukola, June 13-18, Finland: The athletes will train for 3 days before competing in the exciting Venla and Jukola races in Joensuu, Finland. Jukola is a 7-man (or woman) relay, and is one of the great relay competitions in the world, having been held each year since 1949. More than 15,000 participants attend each year. The legs have distances between 7 and 15 km. The first leg starts around 11:00 pm when the sun sets, so the first three runners travel in the dark with headlamps. The women’s relay (Venla) takes place on Saturday afternoon, with four runners per team.

Segment 2 — Pre-JWOC Training, June 19-30, Finland: The team will travel to Tampere, Finland on June 18th. The first week will be really intense training, both physically and navigationally, and take place on terrain most relevant for the JWOC races. On June 24th, they will transition to a different area, and have a more relaxed week, focused on navigation and rest.

Segment 3 — JWOC, July 1-16, Finland: JWOC races will be held July 9-15. The week before is required attendance for U.S. JWOC athletes. On July 1-2, the team will take part in two days of races, followed by five days of final training preparation. Supporters at home can view the program and follow along at the JWOC website, Online spectators from previous years report that the online coverage can be wonderful - with exciting announcing, live video, and live GPS tracking. Last year, for example, it was absolutely amazing to watch U.S. team member Anton Salmenkylä come through the arena passage one second behind the leader during the first leg of the relay (see image below). This is a chance to see young athletes of the highest caliber, from all over the world, racing at peak performance.

Screenshot from live internet TV coverage of JWOC 2016: Leg 1 of the Relay (click for larger image)

Segment 4 Readiness for 2018, July 16-21, Hungary: The purpose of this segment is to train on terrain that will be similar to JWOC 2018 terrain. All team members are welcome to attend this segment. Athletes will fly into Budapest and travel to the training area together. The Hungarian JWOC 2018 organizers offer training maps and accommodations. This is a great way to lay the groundwork for the year to come. Last year, thanks to excellent organization and support from Anton and his mother, the team was able to spend time in terrain relevant for this year’s JWOC. Team members have referred back to those lessons throughout the year as they designed and implemented their training plans.

Terrain that awaits competitors at JWOC 2018 in Hungary
(click for larger image)

Clubs are encouraged to provide travel support to their member athletes. All OUSA club members, please encourage your athletes by following along at home!

posted 22 May 2017