Norwegian national team skiers and Olympic and Worlds medalists Anders Aukland and Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset have to perform in Ottepaa World Cup races in early January in order to make the Norwegian Olympic team.
He has not been able to get back in shape after getting sick during the World Cup races at Beitostolen.
– Progress has been slow after that. I’m looking forward to using Christmas to get back in shape. I know that I still can race fast, says Aukland.
Want to fight for medals
He is the one of the two classic specialists that is closest to an Olympic spot, with a 14th place from Kuusamo as his best result. Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset can on the other hand not be found before 22 and 23rd place on the World Cup classic race result list. Aukland doesn’t want to speculate which result he needs to achieve in Ottepaa to make the season’s main goal — the Olympics.
— It’s not me that selects the team, says Aukland.
He is also mentioning that the classic race at the upcoming Norwegian Championship might be decisive for the Olympic selection. â€œOnlyâ€ skiing fast at the Olympics is not the goal either.
He is saying that his goal is not to qualify for the Olympics.
– The goal is to capture a medal at the Olympics. I have to ski a lot faster than what I have done so far this season in order to achieve that, says Aukland.
Good enough for the podium
National team coach Krister Sorgard knows what the two skiers can do. He is therefore not stressed by the fact that two of his best classic skiers are still not in shape.
– They have performed before and we know that they are good enough to make the podium, says Sorgard.
He doesn’t want to say what’s needed to make the team.
– The Olympics is still 7-8 weeks away. We have to first race all the races and then add up everything. It depends upon how many performs, says Sorgard.
He is not willing to say how a skier with a previous championship podiums will be evaluated against a skier that has performed steadily well.
– That will be total evaluation that we have to do at that point, says Sorgard