No Norwegian skiers will be competing in the next rounds of World Cup races in both Davos and Dresden. Corona infection fears are considered too high to risk the travel involved.
Norges Skiforbund issued a press release Tuesday in which it stated that it also doesn’t expect any Norwegians to compete in the tough Tour de Ski right after New Year either. “This has been a difficult decision, but after lots of discussion internally, we think it’s the right thing for cross-country skiing given the current situation,” stated Torbjørn Skogstad, leader of the cross-country committee within the ski federation.
The decision follows Norwegian champion Johannes Høsflot Klæbo’s announcement on Monday that he couldn’t justify traveling to either Davos or Dresden in December, in defiance of Corona containment measures. His teammate Emil Iversen quickly decided to drop the races, too, including the Tour de Ski, in order to concentrate on training for the World Championships instead. Both were most concerned about the risks and possible consequences of being infected with Covid-19, while the federation also cited the uncertainty about whether Covid infection would spoil the ski season or even a professional skier’s career.
Officials at the International Skiing Federation (FIS) said they were disappointed by the Norwegians’ withdrawal from the upcoming World Cup competition but respected the decision. Norway seems to be the first national team to withdraw, but may be followed by Sweden and others who no longer feel they can defend international travel to major competitive events, and the risks that entails.