Norwegian ski queen Marit Bjørgen was supposed to be making her comeback this weekend at the Norwegian Championships, taking part in her first major race since giving birth to a son three months ago. Both she and alpine skiing star Kjetil Jansrud had to drop out, however, because of injury.
In Bjørgen’s case, her efforts to prepare for the women’s 30-kilometer race at Beitostølen backfired. The 35-year-old multiple World Champion did complete a 42-kilometer race earlier this month, but while out on a long jogging tour last week, she ended up with a hip injury.
“We have great faith that it will heal, but not quickly enough to go 30 kilometers on Saturday,” Dr Fredrik S Bendiksen, the national ski team’s physician, told newspaper Dagsavisen. “Marit understands the situation and is now doing some alternative training, cycling and walking with the baby carriage.”
Bjørgen had been looking forward to face her teammate but arch rival Therese Johaug, who just won another overall World Cup after her best season ever. She told Dagsavisen that her main goal, however, is to “come back at the World Championships in Lahti next winter.”
The most important thing now, according to national coach Egil Kristiansen, “is for Marit to be ready for next season, even though it’s sad she can’t compete at the Norwegian Championships.”
Downhill racer Kjetil Jansrud also had to drop the Norwegian Championships in alpine skiing at Oppdal. He had a good World Cup season but has been plagued by back pain, also over the past few years. He’s now being treated with injections to numb the pain, and is keen to avoid surgery.
“The pain is caused by wear and tear at the base of his spine that is intensified in downhill skiing,” said Dr Marc Jacob Strauss, team doctor for the national alpine team. “Therefore we recommended against Jansrud taking part in the championships.”