Øystein Pettersen went to the emergency room on Sunday night after feeling unbalanced following a training camp with Team United Bakeries. The 32-year-old Norwegian Olympian, nicknamed “The Sausage”, snapped a selfie of himself from the hospital bed and posted on Instagram, explaining that he had been admitted to Ahus outside Lillestrøm, Norway, with a low pulse and too much fluid retention.
“What’s wrong, we do not know, but since Friday the body has been out of balance,” Pettersen wrote, according to a rough translation.
Later on Monday, he joked in another post about his “absolute highlight” of the day: stew and flatbread. “Taking a bunch of tests and know not yet what is wrong,” he wrote.
He was in good spirits, he added, and was “delighted” that he had some time before his gastroscopy on Tuesday. He imagined the exam of his upper digestive track would reveal he ate stew.
“I will not be broken by an all-inclusive stay in the ER,” he added, quoting Norwegian celebrity Ramsey Suleiman, “ ‘If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.’ ”
According to Team United Bakeries manager Henrik Kvissel, Pettersen left camp in Mallorca, Spain, before the team (which returned to Norway on Monday), but not for any alarming reasons. His wife had been sick, Kvissel told Aftenposten, and while they were waiting on the results of his hospital tests, the manager speculated that the recent training load may have been too much for Pettersen.
“He is in good hands and we are all thinking of him,” Kvissel said.
Update: Pettersen Instagramed a photo of himself traveling home on Tuesday. “The body is still not in balance, but I am healthy,” he wrote. “Heart, kidneys, liver, blood, blood pressure, electrolytes and nutrients, all is well. Still have a lot of fluid [retention] and I must return to Ahus tomorrow for more tests. We believe that the body will [fix itself] through rest, good diet and through quality family 🙂
“When I can train again I do not know, the only thing I know is that I will use the time it takes,” he added. “In addition, I take lessons from the event, so that I can continue with cross-country skiing and development. For that I need a body that works…”
A 2010 Olympian who won gold with Petter Northug in the team sprint in Vancouver, Pettersen has traditionally been known as a sprinter. However, since joining the Team United Bakeries distance squad in the spring of 2014, he has become a favorite for certain marathons, including Sweden’s 90-kilometer Vasaloppet. He placed third in the 57 k Marcialonga in January, and fourth in last year’s Vasaloppet.
In late July, Pettersen and his wife, Ellen Sanbakken, announced the birth of their second child.
On Saturday, a day before he was hospitalized, he posted a photo on Instagram of him napping with his son.
“Our little baby can teach me a lot,” he wrote. “[For example] a baby sleeps when it is tired, no matter what time it is or what day it is. The body says it is tired so …. today I do the same…”
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.