NewsSetbacks Take Their Toll

FasterSkierSeptember 29, 2004

Jannike Ostby (26), Norway is putting her ski racing career on hold. A year of continuous setbacks was too tough to handle. She is starting nursing studies this fall. 

Then it was over.

She took three months off after getting sick during last season’s nationals and started up again on May 1. It was hard, but things went well until she got problems with a heel and had to have surgery.

– I was told that I most likely couldn’t run this season. I had been doing pool running already two weeks after the surgery and had started to think, “Can I handle more of this?” says Jannike.

The heel problem reoccurred. None of Jannike’s problems, even the sum of them all, makes it necessary for Jannike to quit elite racing. But it reached the point where she couldn’t muster enough motivation – it wasn’t fun or enjoyable anymore.

– No doctors are telling me that I have to quit. I couldn’t envision a new summer and fall with pool running.

She was struggling through the summer in search of what to do. Should she quit or continue? There were good arguments for both options. She wanted to be a ski racer. She was missing her ski friends. And maybe even more importantly, she hadn’t reached her potential.

– I still haven’t raced the perfect race.

On the other hand, she was tired of all the setbacks. She also started to think about what she had besides ski racing. The idea of spending all her time on something that might not result in anything started to creep in. To start an education was safer than to use all her time and effort on a skiing career. She had also lost her national team spot and all the advantages that go with it.

– I was mentally tired from trying and trying and from always being “punched in the face”. I was also scared by how fragile it is to put all your efforts toward a ski career.

Her thoughts went from one end to the other. She had experienced setbacks in the past as well and still performed well. The summer came and went, without a definite decision. Two more months without training.

– I haven’t cried this much in my entire life.

She finally had to make a decision. It ended with a new existence. On the school bench.

– It’s sad, especially when I hear from the other skiers that they are at a camp and making a good dinner, that they are traveling to Central-Europe. I miss it. Missing doing something I’m good at.

Her choice was nursing studies. That’s now her first priority. The training is now fun oriented, but there’s no doubt about what’s on Jannike’s mind.

– I’m stubborn and don’t give up easily. I’m going to continue to train while studying and will evaluate what to do about elite racing come next spring, she says.

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