Norwegian cross-country skiing star Therese Johaug broke her left hand while on a training run in Seiser Alm, Italy, last week. The Norwegian national team doctor told news sources that Johaug didn’t reveal the injury, which happened when she used her hand to break a fall and hit a rock, until several days after it happened.
Johaug is now in Davos, Switzerland, another favorite training place of many cross-country skiers. She consulted with a specialist on Monday and is set for surgery on Tuesday, when several screws will be inserted into her finger bone. The double gold medalist from 2015 World Championships is expected to return to general training immediately, but take a ten-day break from rollerskiing or activities which use her hand.
“We insert the screws in order for her to come back early,” the team doctor, Fredrik Bendiksen, told the VG news service. “Now she will be ready in ten days, while a cast would have meant four weeks out. She would have lost valuable training in August, so now we save about two and a half weeks.”
With teammate and 2015 overall, distance, and sprint World Cup champion Marit Bjørgen missing the upcoming season with a pregnancy, Johaug is expected to be the top contender for the 2015-2016 season. Norwegian media is setting it up as a battle between Johaug and teammate Heidi Weng, while Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla and Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk also have realistic aspirations for the crystal globes.
“So far this summer I have laid down very good training and I feel in good shape, so alternative training I see positive and will make the best use of the opportunities I have,” Johaug said in a released statement. “Now I’ll just carry the small surgery in the morning and continue to train as best I can.”
“Therese will now only conduct some alternative training exercises for a 10-day period, and then she can train on roller skis with poles,” Norwegian coach Egil Gjelland told VG. “Beyond that the damage has no other consequences. As long as she can run and go rollerskiing with one pole for the first 10 days, she can also do some other strength exercises.”
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Chelsea Little is FasterSkier's Editor-At-Large. A former racer at Ford Sayre, Dartmouth College and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, she is a PhD candidate in aquatic ecology in the @Altermatt_lab at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. You can follow her on twitter @ChelskiLittle.