Therese Johaug’s summer of training woes continues: at a camp in Italy, the Norwegian cross-country skiing star took a fall while running downhill and broke her right hand.
Six weeks ago she fell while running in Seiser Alm, Italy, and broke her left hand. That break required surgery and kept her from competing in the Blink summer ski festival, where she typically is one of the best competitors in the Lysebotn Opp ski race.
She recently resumed rollerskiing with both poles, and competed at the Toppidrettsveka ski festival in northern Norway, where she won the uphill running race by a landslide and finished the weekend second overall to teammate Heidi Weng.
It appeared that Johaug was almost back on track, with the initial break representing a minimal training setback.
But when the Norwegian team headed to Livigno, Italy, this week for a rare joint training camp with the men and the women, bad luck hit again. This time it was her right hand.
“Therese was a bit unlucky on the tour today,” Norwegian national team coach Egil Kristiansen told NRK, the Norwegian broadcaster who had happened to be on site for filming and interviews. “[She] has been to radiology. The examination shows that there is a small fracture.”
As with the last incident, Kristiansen does not believe that it will take a major toll on Johaug’s preparations for the upcoming race season.
“I do not think this will have serious consequences at all,” Kristiansen said. “She can run and get trained.”
But he emphasized that until a specialist came back with recommendations, nobody could be sure what the treatment time would be before Johaug could use both poles again.
Meanwhile, Aftenbladet reported that Johaug had been driven the three hours to Zürich and was flying home to Oslo. There, she will meet with a specialist to assess the damage and develop a recovery plan.
After the first break earlier this summer, Johaug had surgery which inserted screws into her finger. If the recovery time is similar, Kristiansen guessed that it would mean two weeks of alternative training.
“She had maximum bad luck,” said teammate Marit Bjørgen, who was in Livigno continuing to train with the team through her first pregnancy.
Maiken Caspersen Falla agreed, but said that if anything it might make Johaug even more fearsome come winter.
“Although it sucks that it’s so close to season’s start, she will only become even more focused,” Falla told Aftenbladet.
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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.