Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, the Norwegian World Championships multiple-medalist, has decided to put her eggs in two baskets: the 24-year-old will keep racing, while at the same time continuing medical school. The 2014 Olympics in Sochi is her main goal, she told the newspaper Aftenposten.
During the World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden, in March, she was still not convinced. At that point, Jacobsen was still thinking that the 2011 World Championship season could be her last on the international level. But a month later, she has come to a different conclusion.
“The last season, I had a 100 percent leave of absence from my medical school courses. After the summer break, I will return to my studies part-time, if my petition to study at 50 percent is granted,” Jacobsen said.
Focus on medical school
Jacobsen made it clear that skiing at the top level will be her focus for the coming years. But she also emphasized that she wants to pursue her medical degree.
“I’m really excited to go back to school,” she said, though she wouldn’t reveal more details before the 2011-2012 Norwegian national teams are announced.
However, from what Aftenposten has learned, Jacobsen, who became a sprint world champion when she was only 20 years old, will be named to the team for the next season. And the team will offer her a training plan that accommodates her part-time medical school program.
The national teams will be announced on Friday, the night before the Skarverennet – the season finale for the top international racers, as well as 12,000 citizen racers and recreational skiers.
Ups and downs
For Jacobsen, the 2010-2011 season brought both setbacks and happiness. The highlight of the season was winning the relay bronze at the World Championships, literally in her own back yard: Holmenkollen. The pits: when she completely failed at the 10 k classic at the World Cup in Davos, before Christmas.
“I’ve never skied so horribly in my life,” Jacobsen told Aftenposten after that race, which landed her in 41st place.
The sub-par performance in the Swiss Alps had dire consequences for Jacobsen. She was not named to race the 10 k classic at the January World Cup in Otepää, Estonia, which was considered a major qualifier for Norway’s 2011 World Championship distance team. And it was exactly the prospect of competing in the World Championships at home that was Jacobsen’s main goal last season, in the arena where she had trained and raced her entire life.
World Championship Sprint
Jacobsen reacted strongly to the national team selection, but to no avail. However, she did secure a spot on the World Championships team – as a sprinter. She was named to the team sprint squad with Maiken Caspersen Falla, and the duo secured a bronze medal.
But despite a World Championship medal and a strong finish to the World Cup season, Jacobsen still didn’t quite know if she would make a run for a new season. But now she does. She will.
From Aftenposten.no, April 27, 2011. By Kurt B.M. Haugli, translation by Inge Scheve
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.