Astrid Jacobsen (NOR), sprint world champion in 2007 in Sapporo has a difficult period behind her with several injuries in the past couple of years. Now she seems to be on the right track for Oslo 2011.
For the 23-year-old Norwegian, the upcoming World Championships in Oslo will be something special as it is her real home championships – she lives in Oslo. On her Road to Oslo 2011, Astrid Jacobsen took some time and answered several questions for the FIS Cross-Country News.
FIS CC News: You were unlucky last years with your injuries. How difficult was it to come back?
Astrid Jacobsen: It was probably the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life. In the very beginning, we were not even sure if I would gain normal functions again. Initially my focus was more on getting back to being a normal, independent human being. After a while I saw the possibility to come back as a skier as well. But it took a lot more energy than I’d imagined. After the Olympics I was really empty.
FIS CC News: Is there anything positive you can see in it?
Astrid Jacobsen: I learned to appreciate life itself in a bigger way. It’s so easy to just race forward the whole time, and take everything for granted. Now I really love every chance I have to go out in the fresh air and move my body without problems or support. And I think I became even closer with my family and my best friends. I had great support, so I didn’t have to spend the whole summer in a hospital or similar institution. I’m still grateful! My parents had just as much work with me, as when I was a little baby – I needed help with everything!
FIS CC News: You were injured this spring returning on roller skis from Holmenkollen. Are you OK? Did it affect your training?
Astrid Jacobsen: I just had a small accident during a roller skiing competition in Sandnes, Norway. My shoulder popped out after I fell down on a railroad. It really didn’t affect me too much. I just had to roller ski with one pole for 2 weeks, and stay away from strength training. But I could run as much as I wanted, so it was really no problem. I just had to do a lot of rehabilitation exercises for the shoulder.
FIS CC News: Some experts say this could be your season. Do you have a similar feeling?
Astrid Jacobsen: Of course I really hope so! It would be a great feeling to be in a good shape when racing in my home arena. It seems like I’m in a good position now to get into my very best shape for the Championships. I always ski the fastest in February. One thing is for sure: I’m a lot better than this time last year!!
FIS CC News. You stormed onto the world scene with a gold medal in the classic sprint in Sapporo. But, you were able to win long distance races as well. Where do you see your biggest strength now?
Astrid Jacobsen: That’s a very good question! As a younger skier I had my strength in classic skiing and in the sprints. So the sprint in Sapporo was perfect for me. During the last years I put a great effort in becoming better in my weakest spots. A lot of hours with slow and easy training made me better in the longer distances, and hard technique work made me a better skater. Now I really don’t know what my strongest distance is, so I’ll just have to wait and let the season tell me.
FIS CC News: You live in Oslo. You must know every stone on Holmenkollen. Is it an advantage or do you feel extra pressure when the World Champs take place in your backyard?
Astrid Jacobsen: You can say that there’s a “World Championship-fever” rolling over Norway. Media are watching and following us closer than ever before. Considering the situation today I’m really not the one in the spotlight, so for me it’s not a problem with pressure. The biggest pressure will always come from my own expectations. If the season starts well, and I get good results the pressure will naturally rise. But I think one of my strengths is to handle pressure. When I race I go into my bubble anyway. I’m just really looking forward to the winter festival in Oslo to start!
FIS CC News: Have you set any goals for the upcoming season? Will you take part in the FIS Tour de Ski?
Astrid Jacobsen: I’ve not yet decided about the Tour. It depends how my shape is before Christmas. One possibility is also to start and race the first competitions, and then go home. That is if I have to go to Liberec to show I’m a good enough sprinter for the team for Oslo. It’s not so easy to plan all this, considering that my last two seasons were bad because of injuries and that I now don’t know what level I’m at. The biggest and most important goal is of course the World Championships. I will do whatever is necessary to be in my very best shape for that. If I need to skip all the World Cups for that I will do it without hesitation. But hopefully I can do both 🙂 The goal in the Worlds is an individual medal, and to qualify and race at my best in both of the team events.