Thomas Alsgaard announces his plans to retire
Norway’s Thomas Alsgaard held a press conference this afternoon to announce that he will retire from ski racing following the conclusion of this season. This season has been tough for Alsgaard and, despite recently winning two gold medals at the World Championships, he feels it would be difficult to maintain his motivation for the future. The next international championship is not until 2005.
Alsgaard told reporters, â€œI have thought about this through the entire season and come to the realization that I either retire now, or continue until the Olympics in Torino in 2006. But I do not have the motivation to go into new seasons.â€ He said it was important to go out on top, and not run himself into the ground.
Alsgaard told reporters that he intends to finish the season, and is especially looking forward to this weekend’s 50 km classic race at Oslo’s Holmenkollen. Following that there will be events in Lahti, Finland and Falun, Sweden before the World Cup finishes in late March. There is little doubt that Thomas will have trouble filling up his days without training. Job offers are flooding in from all sides. Madshus, Alsgaard’s ski sponsor throughout his entire adult career, has a contract with him for the next two years. Norwegian national team head coach Carl Henning Gran would like to keep Alsgaard around as a technical expert for the team. Bjrge Stensbl, head of the Norwegian Olympic Sport Organization, has also expressed interest in Alsgaard’s services. Alsgaard also owns a company with national team skier Espen Bjervig called Sport Event, and he intends to devote time to organizing the hunting and adventure trips that the firm runs.
With the recent wins in Val di Fiemme, Alsgaard place himself in the cross-country skiing record books. He is the first skier to have won gold medals in eight straight international championships. Here is a list of Alsgaard’s Olympic and World Championship medals:
OLYMPIC 1994 – 30 km: Gold
OLYMPIC 1994 – relay: Silver
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 1995 – relay: Gold
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 1997 – relay: Gold
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 1997 – 30 km: Bronze
OLYMPIC 1998 – 15 km: Gold
OLYMPIC 1998 – relay: Gold
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 1999 – pursuit: Gold
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 1999 – 30 km: Silver
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 1999 – relay: Silver
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2001 – relay: Gold
OLYMPIC 2002 – relay: Gold
OLYMPIC 2002 – pursuit: Silver
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2003 – 30 km: Gold
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2003 – Relay: Gold
In addition Alsgaard has won 13 individual World Cup races
(Sources: VG, Nettavsen, TV2, and Dagbladet)