Why Northug Was the King of the Worlds

Inge ScheveMay 17, 2011

Petter Northug debuted this week as a motivational speaker, in front of 600 at the Business School BI in Oslo.

For an hour and a half, a modest Northug and “Vi Menn” journalist Thorkild Gundersen talked about the preparations for the 2011 World Championships in Oslo, and Northug’s now quite famous recipe for success.

Northug and Gundersen talked about the poker trip to Las Vegas last summer, where Northug competed in a poker tournament and trained in the desert. Gundersen also brought up an incident on the 4th of July – Independence Day – where they gathered at the roof of the hotel to watch the parade on “The Strip.”

While everyone was watching the party from the hotel, Northug had crawled under the covers in his bed for a nap. From May 1, 2010, Northug had only one thought in his head: The 2011 World Championships in Holmenkollen. His focus was on making that one goal and his priorities were on maintaining a nutritious diet, training and recovery.

“For me, these were the logical priorities. I wanted to race well there, and often it’s the tiny details that matter when the margins are this small. I stay away from alcohol. We had a roller ski workout planned for the following day, and I wanted to be rested for that,” Northug explained.

“Marcus Hellner on the other hand threw back a couple of beers, and we all know how he did in Holmenkollen,” journalist Gundersen said to the audience, who laughed heartily.

Not moving

During the presentation, Northug also confirmed that he has bagged any plans of moving abroad to have more time at altitude leading up to the 2014 Olympics in Sotchi.

“To perform optimally for Sotchi, I have to start my preparations as early as next season. Any later than that could be too late,” Northug said to Dagbladet earlier this spring.

After the presentation, Northug’s dad and manager John Northug explained that Northug wouldn’t save as much by living abroad as they first calculated in terms of travel days. The national team altitude camps are scheduled for several different locations all over Europe. Instead of moving, Northug plans to do one or two additional altitude camps the coming seasons. That way, he can remain in Meråker, Norway, throughout the fall and be closer to his family.

“This way, I can train and have fun with my brothers,” said Northug, who appeared tired at the presentation Thursday night.


Tour de Ski will be the main goal for Northug this coming season. He also considers entering the Vasaloppet.

“We haven’t nailed the plans just yet, but we are considering the Vasaloppet,” John Northug said to the Norwegian news agency NTB.

Northug will also race an uphill time trial at Besserud in Oslo before the next national team camp, manager Northug confirmed.

By Eivind Haugen, Dagbladet.no, May 13, 2011. Translation by Inge Scheve

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.

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