Sunday, May 22

Experts believe ski management should contact reserves

There is uncertainty about the men’s runners for the Olympics after sprint coach Arild Monsen tested positive. Viaplay expert Niklas Dyrhaug and TV 2 expert Petter Skinstad believe the Ski Association must prepare a worst-case solution.

NEW TIMES: Here is Niklas Dyrhaug with Johannes Høsflot Klæbo and Emil Iversen during the Olympics in 2018. Now Dyrhaug is an expert and follows the national team outside.

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Monday tested sprint coach Arild Monsen positive for the coronavirus after returning home from Seiser Alm, where Olympic athletes have been to precamp.

From eight Olympics men and reserve Harald Østberg Amundsen is now in quarantine as close contacts in Seiser Alm. All runners and support staff in Italy took the PCR test on Monday, and an answer is expected later on Tuesday.

Should athletes in the worst case test positive in the days leading up to the Olympics now, where the men have their first practice on February 6, it will be difficult to get to China.

Experts believe that the Norwegian Ski Association should contact runners outside the Olympic squad quickly.

– I want to believe that they have a good dialogue with those who are outside, and that they have a plan if someone tests positive. We must hope that no one else is infected. But it is so unbelievably difficult to relate to, says Niklas Dyrhaug, who himself was on the national team until the spring of 2020.

– They have known that it is strict and that omikron spreads quickly. I would think they have a “backup solution”, but I just think it is a bit unreal and surreal that that is the focus now, Dyrhaug continues.

– If the Norwegian Ski Association is to do something, it should be to have some current reserves in hand, so that you can send them down if there is a large outbreak of infection, says Petter Skinstad.

– The first thing I would check is at least opportunities to replace runners and possibly initiate necessary visa applications. Who is and has been at the height is also a point, says Åge Skinstad, former cross-country manager, Viaplay expert and father of Petter.

All-round coach Eirik Myhr Nossum denied earlier on Tuesday that they had contacted runners outside the Olympic squad.

– No, so far we are planning for success with the squad we have, Nossum said.

At Monday’s press conference, cross-country manager Espen Bjervig said that it is possible to collect reserves if you can document injuries or infections, but that it should preferably happen before the Olympics start.

– Will it be too late if something like this happens in the Olympics, Aftenposten asked?

– Åjj. It will be hypothetical, but then we have to count on a calculator and check what goes off the plane. But it sounds difficult if it happens during the Olympics, Bjervig said.

Petter Skinstad believes that the original Olympic squad should be sent for the longest time. The cross-country skiers should have left on 27 January, but now the plan is to leave on 31 January.

If Johannes Høsflot Klæbo – and all those who are ranked number one to eight – are sent down the day before, it will be better than those who are ranked number nine to 15 sent instead. At the same time, it is much better to send number nine to 15 who are very good skiers, than not to send anything, says Skinstad.

He mentions names like Didrik Tønseth, Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget, Even Northug and Thomas Helland Larsen among others as possible reserves.

– I have not heard anything. It probably takes a lot for it to go that far, says Larsen.

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