The calculation of ten days of isolation, followed by four days with demands for five negative tests, postpones at best the Olympic departure for corona-infected Heidi Weng (30) and Anne Kjersti Kalvå (29). Now an emergency plan could be the solution to get them on the plane to Beijing.
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The cross-country duo – both selected for the winter games starting the first weekend in February – delivered corona-positive on Monday 26 January PCR-tester. Thus, they are in ten days of isolation during the altitude stay in Seiser Alm.
Weng has been Norway’s second strongest card behind Therese Johaug this winter. She impressed in the Tour de Ski with third place overall and stage victory up “Monsterbakken”. Afterwards, Weng said that she should isolate herself as much as possible before the Olympics and also avoid meet your girlfriend.
All of the Norwegian cross-country skiers with Olympic tickets are in Italy – both women and men. The rest of the squad is now considered close contacts by the Norwegian Ski Association, and this means that the first planned China departure for parts of the cross-country squad will be postponed from Thursday 27 January. It will be instead earliest 31 January.
For Weng and Kalvå, the waiting time will be even longer. At Wednesday’s press conference, where cross-country manager Espen Bjervig and national team doctor Øystein Andersen explained the infection in the team, none of them would answer clearly whether the Olympics now go without the duo. Andersen also did not want to say anything in clear text about when a possible departure would take place, but encouraged to count days.
We do it like this: With ten days from Monday’s positive PCR test, we’re on February 3rd. According to the national team doctor, five negative tests are then needed over four days. Then you are at best on February 7, two days after the first Olympic distance. In other words, the 15-kilometer with joint start and ski change is just to forget for Weng and Kalvå.
But then comes the good news, see that the virus disappears from the cross-country bodies:
Media adviser Halvor Lea in Olympiatoppen states that several airlines offer so-called “temporary flights”, which are only available to Olympic-accredited. According to Lea, there are opportunities almost every other day from 7 to 18 February. Neither Weng nor Kalvå will be relevant for the sprint on Tuesday 8 February. The next exercise is 10-kilometers with interval start, where both would normally be among the four Norwegians on the starting line.
Even with about 11 hours of flight from Europe to the Chinese Olympic city, they can in theory reach the second exercise.
– Work is being done to map out what opportunities exist after the charter flights. We know about flights via Zurich in the future, and will, among other things, have the curling team leave on February 4, says Lea.
So the question is: What will the shape be like?
Former national team runner Chris Jespersen has the answer for his own part. He will go to traditional Marcialonga next Sunday after being out with covid disease for two and a half weeks.
– I had seven days off completely. Then I was pretty bad the first two days, really tight in the lungs and nose, and it did not seem like it was going to let go. So I gambled on day eight by exercising again, even though my body was tight. I got better from training, Jespersen tells VG.
He goes for the long-distance team Team Koteng Eidissen and tested negative again only on day 13 after the positive PCR test. This is where Kalvå and Weng are dependent on testing negative from day 11 to leave on 7 February.
– They’re in a hurry, they are. But as long as they feel physically ready to exercise, it’s okay to exercise. And if they get into training after a week, they can withstand a break. I think this is like a common cold, and most people manage to recover quickly after a week, Jespersen thinks – and reckons that most people take the chance to travel, no matter what the shape is, when it is an Olympics it is a question about.