The World’s best Cross-Country skier Bente Skari has retired after winning Olympic and World Championship titles, 42 World Cup competitions and the overall World Cup four times. A group of young women has the difficult task of filling the empty gap left by the ski-queen Bente Skari.
VG- Norwegian Newspaper reports:
The team now (mostly) consists of young, hungry and ambitious skiers. They miss Bente but also admit that it is not only negative that the best of them has retired.
Vibeke Skofterud says:
“I was lucky to be on the team with the World’s best skier. It would be stupid to say that I’m not going to miss her. But we don’t have #1 any longer, and are now working hard to fill the gap she left. Everyone wants to be the next top-gun”.
VG visited the team at a recent Women’s National Team dryland camp at Kvitfjell:
It’s Monday afternoon. The day started with Breakfast at 7.30, followed by an easy two-hour rollerski session. Lunch and recovery, before a new workout, – this time running intervals in pouring rain (not unusual in Norway at this time of year) on an old, poorly maintained track. Later dinner, massage, a small late evening meal and lights out.
Bente is currently planning her upcoming “around the World” vacation-trip while the rest of the team is logging hundreds of dryland training hours.
The Women’s coach Svein Tore Samdal is also missing Bente:
“She was not afraid of speaking up if there were things in the training program that she didn’t like. She was also good at complementing things she felt was good and worked well”
“Bente was the team’s leader, not only in regard to results. Other skiers are now trying to be more responsible and help carry the load. Some skiers will grow by receiving some of the attention that was always given to Bente”
“Bente always set the standard and we no longer have her to measure training and test progress from. But we still have Hilde Gjermundshaug that raced consistently among the top five in the World last year”.