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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Bjørgen drops team sprint

Norwegian Marit Bjørgen, already dubbed the “queen” of the ongoing Nordic skiing world championships in Oslo, won’t be racing in the team sprint event on Wednesday.

Marit Bjørgen collapsed after winning Monday's 10-kilometer classic. PHOTO: Stian Broch/Oslo 2011

Bjørgen collapsed after crossing the finish line and winning her third gold medal on Monday, setting off concerns among her coaches, medical personnel and not least fans that she was exhausted. Questions rose immediately over whether she’d be able to compete in all the events at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships (Ski-VM) as she had planned.

Now her coach thinks she needs a break. “The reason is that we want her to be sharp for the rest of the championships,” Egil Kristiansen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Tuesday. He said the decision to drop the team sprint was made in agreement with Bjørgen herself.

“There’s a lot that happens around a gold medal, and (Monday) was a long day,” Kristiansen said. “We must not underestimate the mental burden as well.”

Petter Northug, Norway’s other world champion skier, earlier withdrew from Tuesday’s 15-kilometer classic race, also to avoid exhaustion. He also collapsed after winning the 30-kilometer men’s pursuit on Sunday.

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