This morning news came out of Norway that star skiers Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (24) and Emil Iversen (29) are temporarily stepping away from World Cup competitions due to the ongoing pandemic.
Aftenposten, a leading Norwegian news outlet, reported Klæbo had decided to withdraw from competition until at least the start of the Tour de Ski. According to the translated Aftenposten article, Klæbo stated the following in a press release:
“I’ve been feeling this for a while. It started in connection with the World Cup final last season. The uncertainty was further intensified during our stay in Ruka. It seemed safer before we left than the situation in Finland.
“I feel that skiing and competitions are not very important in relation to the pandemic that is now raging all over the world. Everyone has to do their part – and what they think is right. This is important and the right thing to do for me.” – Johannes Høsflot Klæbo
In a separate translated NRK article, Iversen reiterated why he is choosing to step away.
“The whole world is in a special situation, it is good health and the lungs we live off. There will be a World Cup, I have run some good World Cup races, Johannes has the same. I am missing an [individual] World Championship medal, so that must be the focus this winter. I think people understand that,” said Iversen according to the translation.
Iversen also communicated he plans to return to the World Cup after the Tour de Ski, which runs from January 1-10. Iversen indicated he will return to high-level competition in Norway on January 16, for Norway’s National Championships.
This past weekend in Ruka, Finland Klæbo placed first in two races and second in another to win the overall three-race series. He is also the reigning sprint cup champion. Iversen placed third overall in Ruka.