Olympic Champion Kristina Smigun on the Comeback Trail

FasterSkierOctober 13, 2009
Smigun overtakes Katerina Neumanova (CZE) in the homestretch of the 2006 Olympic Pursuit to win Gold.
Smigun overtakes Katerina Neumanova (CZE) in the homestretch of the 2006 Olympic Pursuit to win Gold.

Double Olympic Champion in 2006, Kristina Smigun of Estonia, is making a comeback, aiming to defend her Olympic gold in Vancouver. Right now the 32-year-old is in Ramsau and plans to travel to most of World Cup races this winter.

“I decided in August that I would try to compete again. I have trained well and I feel that I have more to give on the ski tracks, ” said Kristina, now called Smigun-Vaehi, to langd.se.

“Now that I have a daughter, I feel less stressed than in the past. I do not have time to be nervous and think too much. Here in Ramsau, I have my mom as a babysitter which is very helpful.”

Šmigun raced her last World Cup race in Falun, Sweden in March 2007. It was in that city that she made her World Championship debut in 1993.

Over the years there have been many successes, with the two biggest in Pragelato in Italy in 2006, where she won Olympic gold in both the pursuit and the 10 km classic.

She retired after those Olympics, and came to the United States to study English in Florida for a year. Now she’s back in Otepää in her home country of Estonia, where she lives next to the ski stadium.

Devoted to it
“I will debut at the Kuusamo World Cup races and start most events until Rybinsk, which I will skip. I imagine that we will run a 20-day-long training camp at altitude, much like we did before the Olympic Games in Pragelato 2006.

Kristina is in Ramsau for several weeks. She has been running training throughout the spring and summer,  helped by her former Swedish national team coach Inge Bråten, now in Canada.

“It feels great to be back, and especially to not feel any pressure . Training has gone well and after Ramsau I will go with my sister for a few days to a warmer climate in Spain to celebrate her 30th birthday,” says the former Olympic champion.

She has not tried the Olympic track in Whistler yet, but everyone knows that Kristina Smigun of old is not to be trifled with.

So look out Kuitunen, Saarinen, Bjørgen, Steira, Kowalczyk, Majdic, Kalla and all the others…

Here is one competitor that you weren’t expecting to reckon with!


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