UPDATED: Therese Johaug took over as Norway’s reigning ski queen after Marit Bjørgen tried to retire from the sport. Now Johaug has also “retired” and following in Bjørgen’s tracks by having a baby, in addition to various business and sports activities.
“This exceeds all the gold medals I’ve won,” Johaug, now age 34, told NRK after confirming that she’s pregnant. She and her partner, Nils Jakob Hoff, expect to become parents before summer.
Johaug retired from professional competitive skiing at the end of last season, right after winning three gold medals at the Winter Olympics in Beijing and her first individual gold. Given all her World Championship gold as well, there wasn’t much more to achieve in the sport of professional cross-country skiing.
She’s been working most recently as a sports commentator for both NRK and TV2 and also has various business interests including a clothing company. Johaug said she’s grown accustomed to having full control over her time, adding with her characteristic laugh that soon “there will suddenly be a new boss in the house.”
Even though she’s excited about becoming a mother, Johaug admitted that she also thinks it’s “a bit scary” to be pregnant. “You don’t know what you’re heading into, but I really look forward to it.”
Norway’s national sports federation (Norges idrettsforbund) also reports that Johaug will be involved in a new effort to address eating disorders within athletics, and form a plan to prevent them. The work will be led by Vibecke Sørensen, an officer of the federation and a doctor at the hospital in Bærum, just outside Oslo.
Johaug, originally from the small town of Dalsbygda in Eastern Norway, is best remembered for throwing herself into the arms of King Harald V after winning gold at the World Championships in Oslo in 2011, but also for testing positive for using a lip cream in 2016 that contained a banned substance. That barred her from competing in both the World Championships in 2017 and the Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018, but she made a stunning comeback as soon as her suspension was over and went on to win more gold.
She has claimed 14 World Championships and four Olympic gold medals during her career. She also won the tough Tour de Ski three times, and has been Norwegian champion 18 times.