Thursday, May 26

Uncertain itinerary for Johaug: – Takes no chances

It is unclear when Therese Johaug and the rest of an infectious women’s national cross-country team will leave for the Beijing Olympics. Emergency solutions are being worked on intensively.

Therese Johaug is going to the Olympics, but the travel plans have not been nailed down after several cases of infection in the Norwegian cross-country camp.

The Winter Games in China are just over a week away. On Thursday, the first flight with Norwegian athletes from Gardermoen to China will take place under the auspices of the Olympic Summit. The entire cross-country squad should have been there, but that plan is canceled.

Both men’s and women’s runners must extend their height stay in Seiser Alm after the last few days’ positive corona tests. Sprint coach Arild Monsen was diagnosed with the infection this weekend, while Anne Kjersti Kalvå and Heidi Weng received the same message a few days later.

The entire Olympic team in cross-country skiing has been “stranded” in northern Italy after the medical apparatus defined all the runners as close contacts. It is now particularly uncertain when the women’s team can travel to Beijing.

Flying from Switzerland?

National team doctor Øystein Andersen points out that the next test days will be crucial.

– The calculation can quickly change, but just over the weekend is the first opportunity, he says when asked by NTB about Johaug’s Olympic journey.

– We take no chances on behalf of our own runners, but we also have full respect for everyone else who will be on various flights. It is an equally important part of the calculation. We will not expose other practitioners from either Norway or Sweden to the risk of infection, Andersen adds.

There is a new charter flight from Gardermoen on Monday, but it may just as well be relevant for the entire cross-country camp to travel by plane from Zurich in Switzerland on different days.

– From there, there will be opportunities to fly until February 4. We have several opportunities to get going, said cross-country manager Espen Bjervig at Wednesday’s press conference.

It may happen that the men’s runners are in place in China before Johaug and co.

In a hurry

The Olympic Summit is also fully involved in Olympic logistics.

– It is absolutely necessary to look at what opportunities are available. There are some planes that go, but the hourglass runs quite fast. It is not a given that there are places. We have to look at different variants, said media manager Halvor Lea to NTB before it became known that Kalvå and Weng are infected.

– There are “flights” that are extremely expensive. It’s the same market everyone is looking for tickets in, he added.

The Olympics start on February 4. The first cross-country exercise will be the women’s skiathlon the next day. Any late arrival in China can create extra challenges around acclimatization for Therese Johaug and her teammates for the opening distance.

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