Wednesday, May 18

Johaug on infection before the Olympics: – We are at a critical point

Therese Johaug is chasing her first individual Olympic gold. The last 24 hours have been chaotic for the cross-country stars after Arild Monsen tested positive.

GOLD HOPE: Therese Johaug is one of Norway’s clearest gold hopes in Beijing.

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– We have had a girls ‘table and a boys’ table, and have sat at each end of the dining room. We have not had close contact with Arild or the guys. We try to make the best of this, says Johaug and continues:

– We are very little affected, but it will be a reminder that it is important to be very careful in the last days before departure.

Earlier Monday, it became known that the men’s sprint coach Arild Monsen tested positive for the coronavirus, after returning home from Seiser Alm where the cross-country skiers have been gathering for just over two weeks.

The cross-country skiers will leave Seiser Alm for Oslo on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Olympic plane leaves for Beijing.

– It is a situation we do not want. We are at a critical point with a short trip to Norway before the next trip. We are on the run now towards China travel, and then it is important to be insanely careful, says Johaug at a digital press conference.

– I’m as healthy as a fish, I hope, says Johaug.

– If I get sick, it is not meant that I will go to the Olympics, says Johaug.

Monsen was supposed to have traveled to the Olympics in Beijing on January 27. It does not work. Cross-country manager Espen Bjervig doubts that he will reach 31 January.

– What we are working on now is to map out who are considered close contacts in line with the Italian authorities. The practitioners are now staying in their rooms, says Bjervig.

In Italy, quarantine does not apply to close contacts if you have taken a booster dose or have been vaccinated within the last four months (120 days). If you are outside it, there is a requirement for a five-day quarantine and a negative test.

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo is among those who risk quarantine if he is considered close contact. Then he may not catch the Beijing plane that leaves on January 27, and will have to board the plane to the Olympic summit on January 31.

– It can happen. But now we are working hard. The worst outcome is five days in Italy, but a new flight leaves on 31 January. Then he can make it, says Bjervig.

– It is woolly, and there are different rules and routines in the various areas in Italy. Based on Italian rules, we should know that today, so we have to talk to the Olympic Summit if we are to have any extended rules, says Bjervig.

– What will be the difference for a practitioner to travel on 27 January and 31 January, if someone becomes in close contact?

– It is the time lag that is the problem. It’s a little extra work, but in practice it should not be a big problem.

The Beijing Olympics start on February 4.

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