BEITOSTØLEN (VG) Therese Johaug (33) loves life as a cross-country skier. But she hopes life after her career will be even better.
In just under three months, Therese Johaug will be hunting for the only thing she is missing in her career: Individual Olympic gold. And she goes to Beijing as the Olympics’ biggest gold favorite.
– I do not think so much about it. I want to go fast in the skis I compete in, says Johaug to VG before the weekend’s season opener at Beitostølen.
She has three Olympic chances: 10 kilometers, 15 kilometers joint start with ski change – and three miles. In the last two world championships she has won all the distance races.
– I have to be on the cutting edge. I have to be in top shape if I am to be able to take the individual Olympic gold, says Johaug.
Even though she opens up for the World Cup in Trondheim in 2025, she is absolutely certain that the Olympics in Beijing will be her last Olympics.
– It is now or never, Johaug states.
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It is almost 15 years since she broke through with World Cup bronze at three miles in Sapporo. 14 World Cup golds, 67 World Cup victories and a successful sportswear empire later, she meets the press.
– Its different. I did not sit here ten years ago and was asked how long I would last. There are thoughts in my head, I do not know if this is the last or if there will be more. It’s both nice and sad, that thought, to be honest, says Johaug.
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She has also won the Tour de Ski, Ski Tour, she has taken NM gold and gold in the junior WC. The 33-year-old will not be going on the Tour de Ski this winter. She thinks her gut feeling will tell her when her career is over. In September, she said TV 2 that she is considering taking a rest year to become a mother, and then return to the World Cup in Trondheim in 2025.
– Yes, both thoughts are thought, Johaug said.
Last year, Johaug shared a video on YouTube from the summer holidays with his cohabitant:
The cross-country star has been with former world champion in rowing Nils Jakob Hoff since 2014. The couple has established themselves in the capital with a home in Holmenkollen.
– I love this life, to train, be on a trip with the girls and do what I do. But there are other things I want to do in life. Everything has an end, says Johaug.
She acknowledges that the feeling of being full of sports is approaching.
– I’m not afraid of that day if that feeling comes. But I am very geared up for the Olympics now, I want to go fast there, Johaug says to VG.
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Johaug sat on a chair behind a high table. It was two meters to the press who had been told to put on a bandage. The 33-year-old was asked who is the most important man in her life. What is her favorite place to compete. And there was a lot about the Olympics. And this one individual gold that is missing. By the way, the answer to the first was not so surprising to her boyfriend, before she also added dad Thorvall. The second answer was just as unsurprisingly Holmenkollen.
– Considering my age and what I have achieved, I know that there is another life next to sports and it is just as nice. If maybe not better too, hopefully, says Johaug.
She will run the distance races at Beitostølen on Saturday and Sunday.
Looking forward to Ingvild
One thing that will last after his career is the friendship with Ingvild Flugstad Østberg. The 33-year-old is very happy that his friend is now back with the national team. Østberg has not skied since March 2020 due to lack of health certificate. Østberg will not go to Beitostølen, but is pre-selected for the World Cup opening in Ruka next weekend.
– Ingvild means a lot to me. She is generous, caring and funny and makes my everyday life and life nice, says Johaug.
Hear why Johaug thinks it is right that Østberg should be allowed to go to the World Cup opening, even though Østberg did not go a single ski race last season:
Therese Johaug: – I defend Ingvild
Østberg is grateful for the support from his friend during a troubled period. She says that Johaug has surprised with gifts and dinners to make the period she had refused to start a little easier.
– Therese has been there for me all along. She was out of it first and has come up with her experiences of what it is like not to be able to participate and work towards what you want, says Østberg to VG.