HAFJELL (VG) Therese Johaug (32) does not think the Swedes’ desire to equalize the distances for women and men is the way to go – even though she does not deny that she herself had benefited from it.
– It’s cold! Brrr, says Therese Johaug at a press conference at Hafjell in connection with the Janteloppet – Petter Northug’s Red Bull-sponsored race.
The debate has erupted about what is best for the future of cross-country skiing.
Bjørn Dæhlie believes it would be wise to remove classic as a competitive style, Marit Bjørgen wants to even out the differences between nations by forcing everyone to use the same lubrication and on the Swedish side, Frida Karlsson, among others, has argued that the distances should be the same length for women – and the men’s side.
Johaug does not fully agree with the latter.
– There will be a lot of “water between the boat”, then. The time difference is larger on the girls ‘side than on the boys’, which is more even. If the girls are going to go as far as the boys, it will be even more boring. That is not the way to go, says Johaug.
Superior in the World Cup
And it is obvious to use the 32-year-old from Dalsbygda as an example.
At three miles in the recently concluded ski championship in Oberstdorf, she won with the clearest margin of victory ever when she finished two minutes and 34 seconds ahead of silver winner Heidi Weng.
Thus, she is not necessarily hampered by the Swedes’ proposal.
– Well, yes, thank you from me, sort of! It’s okay, she jokes, before adding:
– Then the difference will be even bigger and thus even more boring, she thinks.
Now, for example, the women go half the distance (15 kilometers) of the men (30 kilometers) on a joint start with ski change. The longest distance for women is three miles, for men it is two miles longer.
Regarding Marit Bjørgen’s proposal that the athletes should use the same lubrication on the classic gutters, Johaug thinks it could be part of the solution.
– But at the same time there is a bit of tension in the lubrication as well, just look at the men’s relay in the WC in Oberstdorf. Suddenly there was a big impact, and if everyone is going to go the same way, it will be smoother. Thus, it becomes a moment of tension in itself what the countries choose to lubricate with, says Johaug.
Cross-country skiing MUST be fairer
No concrete proposals
Johaug does not fully agree that this favors the more resourceful nations, as VG commentator Leif Welhaven has suggested, and believes that the restrictions on support apparatus on the slopes set by the International Ski Federation (FIS) help to even out the balance of power.
– In addition, our lubricators will deliver to many athletes, while several runners have their own lubricators. Justyna Kowalczik (Poland) had three lubricators alone and she came from a small nation, says Johaug.
About what she thinks could be the solution for cross-country skiing in the long run, she says that she has not thought so much about concrete measures.
– I feel that since we did so well in the World Cup, many people think that we have to do something else, but when we did not succeed in the Olympics in Sochi, we were told that it did not go fast. It goes up and down and it is not certain that we will succeed in Beijing next winter, says Johaug.
She believes the debate largely comes as a result of Norway making a big splash at the cross-country arena in Oberstdorf – Johaug himself took, for example, four golds in four attempts – but welcomes the discussion.
– But I do not mean that we should turn every stone, sort of. It will be overreacting, I think.
Speaking of superior: Johaug could sing DDE on his way to the goal of three miles:
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