Charlotte Kalla’s Olympic selection has been questioned.
Marit Björgen is now entering the debate on whether it was right to send the 34-year-old to Beijing.
– I understand that there will be discussions, says the Norwegian ski queen – who is also doubtful that the Olympics will even be held – in an interview with Sportbladet.
Björgen ended her career in 2018 and for the first time, with an Olympics around the corner, she is not in strict preparation to fill the prize cabinet.
After five Olympic golds, 18 World Cup golds and a total of 41 medals in major championships, the Norwegian ski queen does not miss an Olympic game.
– No, I actually feel quite full, says Björgen who, however, has not released the skis completely.
– I train my six-year-old son (Marius). It is possible to discuss whether I am a good coach. I am the mother of two boys and family life is a new world, both wonderful and stressful, she laughs.
Of course, Björgen still follows the ski competitions and has full control of what happens in the sport.
Such as Charlotte Kallas Olympic selection, despite the 34-year-old having two heavy seasons behind him and no longer belonging to the world top.
“Cold can recover”
Sportbladet’s Kristoffer Bergström criticized the decision and believes that it is incorrect and lacks sporting grounds.
Björgen agrees that the decision is controversial.
– I understand that there will be discussions. When she may not have medal chances, should younger skiers be released instead? But the decision can be based on a lot of other things, she provides security and at the same time has an important routine.
Are you surprised she was selected in the Olympics?
– No, I can not say that. Sweden has a young team and she has a lot of experience. Routine is important too.
Can Kalla get back to the top?
– Yes, she can. We know she can perform, so there is definitely that possibility.
“Johaug a little sharper”
An interesting duel in Beijing is the one between Frida Karlsson and Therese Johaug.
After Karlsson’s strong start to the season in the World Cup with two victories, voices were raised that she had put the invincible Norwegian off the throne.
But after the debacle in the Tour de Ski, Johaug is still the favorite in the Beijing Olympics.
– I feel very confident that Therese will succeed in the Olympics. Sure, it’s fun that Frida has evolved from last year, but Therese is still a bit sharper. I talk to her and she feels even more focused when she is challenged, says Björgen and continues:
– Frida did very well before Christmas, but since then it has been a little thinner. It was good that she interrupted the Tour de Ski and focuses on having a good training period instead.
Doubts whether the Olympics should be held
Another issue that is being discussed is whether the Olympics should even be held in the middle of a pandemic.
Björgen is hesitant.
– It might have been better to wait a year, just like they did with the Summer Olympics. Everything is a great uncertainty. Many practitioners have been preparing for a long time and only a positive test destroys everything. We have a special situation in the world and it would be sad if the best could not participate.
If you were still active, would you have thought about competing in the Olympics in the middle of a pandemic?
– I had prepared for the Olympics, but of course it had been a moment of excitement because a positive test can first of all.
What do the Norwegian riders you spoke to say?
– Of course they experience the uncertainty, but it is not possible to focus on it. You can only prepare as usual, otherwise you lose far too much power by going and thinking about what might happen. Everyone is in their little Olympic bubble now.
Current on TV4
Right now, Björgen is relevant for season three of “Sweden against Norway”, TV4’s venture where sports stars from the two nations compete against each other in different moments.
The program premieres January 11 and Björgen makes his host debut.
Then she pays tribute to Gunde Svan.
– Incredible security to have him as a program colleague. He is a veteran and we had a very good collaboration. Then he is just like me: likes to be effective. Make sure times are kept, and so on.
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Björgen on Calling to the Olympics: “Understand that there will be discussions”