Women skiers in sorrow again

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Norway’s national women’s ski team was in sorrow once again this week, after learning that former racer Ida Eide, a good friend of star skier Therese Johaug, died of a heart attack after just turning 30. Former champion Vibeke Skofterud, meanwhile, was found to have consumed too much alcohol to be legally driving the water jet ski that she fatally crashed into rocks late at night on July 29.

In happier days: The victorious Norwegian relay team at the World Championships in Oslo in 2011 (from left): Kristin Størmer Steira, Vibeke Skofterud, Therese Johaug and Marit Bjørgen. Johaug was also a good friend of former pro skier Ida Eide, who died after a heart attack over the weekend, at the age of 30. PHOTO: Stian Broch/Oslo 2011

Skofterud was under the influence, police reported on Monday, when the crash occurred after an evening out in Arendal, where she was on summer holiday. “She had higher blood-alcohol levels than allowed (0.8 percent) to be out operating a boat,” said prosecutor Unni Guldberg of the police district in Arendal. She said the police would not reveal the exact degree of intoxication.

Skofterud, 38 and retired from professional skiing, was on her way from Arendal to the holiday cottage she was sharing with her partner on the island of Tromøya. She was reported missing when she failed to return home, and police later found her crashed “water scooter” and Skofterud’s body on rocks at the crash site. Autopsy results indicate she died instantly.

No exact cause for the accident was given: “She was alone when it happened, it was dark and visibility was poor,” Guldberg said. “She was also under the influence of alcohol … all this can be reasons for the tragic accident.”

Another tragedy struck top skiers in Norway over the weekend, when Ida Eide collasped during a footrace in Jessheim on Saturday. She was the sister of cross country skier Mari Eide and a good friend of Johaug.

Eide was running the five-kilometer distance of what’s called Norgesløpet when she collapsed. Passersby found her lying unconscious and police were summoned immediately, at 2:29pm.

She wasn’t breathing when found but revived during emergency treatment. She was flown in an air ambulance to Ullevål University Hospital in Oslo but was declared dead on Sunday after cardiac arrest.

Her skiing friends and colleagues, gathered for pre-season training in Italy, called Eide’s death “unreal and incomprehensible.” Ingvild Flugstad Østberg said the team’s thoughts were with Eide’s family and partner. Eide’s sister Mari left the training session to return home to the family in Norway.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund