SEISER ALM / OSLO (VG) The experts agree on infected Simen Hegstad Krüger: Norway’s medal catch in Beijing decreases considerably after the loss of the reigning Olympic champion by three miles.
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– In my eyes, he is the strongest gold card on the men’s side together with Klæbo, because he is so good in height, says cross-country expert for Viaplay, Niklas Dyrhaug to VG.
He highlights Krüger’s enormous capacity and high oxygen uptake, as well as the Lyn athlete’s ability to acclimatize. The Olympics are held at an altitude of around 1800 meters in China.
– He is the one who handles the height best of the men’s runners. It is incredibly heavy for Simen, and brutal for the whole team that he is out, says Dyrhaug, who believes Krüger had been a gold candidate in three distances: 30-kilometer, five-mile and relay.
Krüger is the reigning Olympic champion in the 30-kilometer distance – the opening distance of the Games, but the start of the Olympics will fail anyway. Also the whole championship is in danger of disappearing with the positive coronate test.
Krüger made his big breakthrough with two gold and one silver during the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. At the time, Vidar Løfshus was the Norwegian national team manager.
– I just get desperate, sad and sorry. There is nothing more to say. The athletes and everyone around are in an unimaginable situation, he says to VG.
Like Dyrhaug, Løfshus believes that Norway may miss out on more gold medals.
– Simen has done everything right the last two years and was ready for a giant Olympics. In Pyeongchang he was an “outsider”, now he was the favorite, he begins.
– He has stabilized at an incredibly high level in skating, where he is the best in the world. He knows that too. Therefore, it is extra bitter to end up in such a situation. He has such good capacity that he can leave, even at a joint start. I have seen a great development, says Løfshus about his former student.
Like national team doctor Øystein Andersen, Dyrhaug is afraid that there will be more positive samples from the cross-country camp in Seiser Alm in Italy.
– It’s a really hard shot for the bow. It’s heavy for the whole team. It is feared that more may come. It is a completely unreal situation, just before the Olympics. They have been so careful and good, then they have three runners out and the question is how it will be with travel down, says the former national team athlete.
Before that, sprint coach Arild Monsen and women athletes Heidi Weng and Anne Kjersti Kalvå were infected.
Krüger should be in good shape and without noticeable symptoms. He trained as usual on Thursday, but is now sitting in isolation at Hotell Gstatsch.
– Norway loses the big high runner ahead of some. A big medal hope in the Olympics is out. says NRK’s cross-country commentator Torgeir Bjørn.
– What do you think it is like to be a Norwegian cross-country skier now?
– I’m sorry on their behalf. It’s a tough blow to get into a championship. It has gone on rails through the autumn, and then it slips at the end. The whole squad is sitting on needles and waiting, says Bjørn.
Holund about the teammate: – A defeat for Simen and a defeat for the team
Anders Aukland will go to Marcialonga on Sunday. He was sitting around the dinner table in Cavalese with his teammates when the news came.
– It’s incredibly sad to hear, but right now it’s not surprising. Losing an Olympics is very bad. It goes without saying that the situation is very chaotic, nervous and difficult, says the former national team player.
– It’s complete chaos. Nobody knows anything. For many, this can be like a cold and it is time to get in shape for the Olympics, but it creates problems with quarantines and entry rules, says Aukland.