The hardest blow for the organizers is the absence of local star Iiva Niskanen. The three-time Olympic champion announced a positive test result for the coronavirus on Wednesday. For the same reason, the Norwegians Sindre Bjönestad Skar, Ragnhild Haga and Marte Skaanes will also be missing.
The northerners thus once again resorted to strict epidemiological measures, even though no one officially requires them anymore. Even in the Swedish team, they re-introduced respirators, spacing, regular testing and a minimum of contact.
“A lot of covid still remains among people. Especially down in Central Europe. The risk of contracting covid is obvious. For the elite competitors, not only this week is in danger, but also the entire rest of the season,” said Rickard Noberius, the doctor of the Swedish expedition, who, however, took off his respirator during the interview, directly in Ruca newspaper Expressen.
Biathlete Tiril Eckhoff is currently experiencing, for example, the fact that covid can have a longer-term negative impact on an athlete’s career. Now her return to the World Cup is still in sight.
Swedish skiing icon Torgny Mogren also confirmed great concerns in this direction. “None of the active athletes want to catch this. It can be fatal if you have a severe course. The whole season can go to waste,” he expressed his understanding of the concerns of his followers in an interview with Radiosporten.
He also understands the preventive measures that the Swedish team is implementing. “They are probably very afraid. An infection can destroy their career. Sometimes it can be very difficult to go back again. I think it’s really scary,” he added.
However, as is well known, even great caution may not ultimately prevent the disease. “Covid eluded me for a long time, but now I got it. It didn’t help that I tried my best to be careful,” sad Niskanen, who announced the unpleasant news on Instagram.