ZHANGJIAKOU / OSLO (VG) Frida Karlsson (22) warns that she is in great shape and warns Therese Johaug (33) before the start of the Olympics. The Norwegian star sends a sour sting towards the Swede.
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– I hope not, says Frida Karlsson to VG about the possibility that Therese Johaug will win four Olympic gold medals in China.
The Swede herself believes that she is in great shape, and that builds up to a super duel between Karlsson and the Norwegian star.
– I expect that there will be high speed from the start, the 22-year-old predicts Johaug’s plan.
– You think it will be Therese who sets the standard?
– She can do that, but then she can get tired in the end, warns Karlsson, who bursts with self-confidence before the opening distance.
– I want to feel that I am at the top and do my best races in my career. I want to be better than ever, are her ambitions for the toys.
The women’s 15 kilometer ski change starts at 08.45 Saturday morning Norwegian time.
Sweden’s high hopes have plans to put sticks in the wheels – or poles between the skis – for Johaug. Maybe not literally, but Karlsson has gained a reputation for going a little messy in the field.
Most recently during the Tour de Ski when she felled and destroyed for joint leader Jessica Diggins. Now Karlsson claims that she has put down the hesitation in the field.
– I’m looking forward to seeing that, it sounds a bit sour from Johaug, who on the other hand does not want to make a point of staying away from Karlsson on the slopes.
– No, no cheating or ugly grips, the Swede promises.
The Norwegian women arrived in China on Wednesday and tested the trails for the first time on Thursday. This is in stark contrast to the Swedes, who have already become well acquainted with the conditions.
– It’s a huge disadvantage. Now Frida is the big favorite, laughs Johaug, before she calms down the worries of the journalists and the Norwegian people.
– I bring with me a lot of routine and experience – and cross-country skiing, not least – from previous years. I think this is going well, says the 33-year-old about the charge.
The reason for the delayed Norwegian arrival is the corona eruption during the elevation gain in Seiser Alm. Cross-country manager Espen Bjervig also jokes about the preparation time.
– When Frida has been here for a week and trained, they have a huge advantage. If Therese gets to the finish line, it’s a feat, he says.
While the valley building is taking its first stakes on Chinese soil, Karlsson has already managed to hatch a golden plan.
– I have become friends with the trails and conditions here. I have felt good and feel that it splashes off my legs. I have some scenarios for the race in my head, and will merge my brain with my coach, she says.
Norway does not put a full team on the woman’s opening distance
Reigning Olympic champion in the distance, Charlotte Kalla, says the Swedes must be “observant” on whether Johaug legs from the start. Ebba Andersson is also prepared for that.
– It is a potential scenario, absolutely. Especially considering how she has chosen to attack races in the past. It has been full speed from the start. For the rest of us, it’s about being on our toes if that’s the way it will be on Saturday, she tells VG.
The runners with the best capacity are highlighted as the favorites, but Johaug did not want to talk about race plans until she had had a proper look at the slopes.
– The one who goes fastest, wins. Whether it’s me or Frida, who knows. There can be many other girls too. What happens, it happens, says Johaug.