Johaug wins in her last Holmenkollen race
After announcing her retirement from cross-country skiing the day before, Therese Johaug participated in her last Holmenkollen 30km race on March 5 during the FIS World Cup Nordic competition in Norway. She did like she has done so many times before, crossed the finish line first, but this time with tears streaming down her face.
Johaug is one of the world’s most celebrated cross-country skiers, with 25 World Championship and Olympic medals, but she is also seen as controversial after testing positive for an illegal substance in 2016. She got her big breakthrough in 2011 after winning the gold medal in the 30km race in Holmenkollen in Oslo.
“It was a strong moment. I feel emotional thinking about all the people who came to watch me today. I want to thank the Norwegian people,” she told NRK after the race.
Already on the second lap, 7 kilometers into the race, Johaug’s competitors started struggling with her tempo. At the 10km mark, Johaug was leading by 23 seconds and the lead got bigger as the race went on. At 25km, her lead had increased to nearly a minute and a half.
With perfect weather and a packed stadium for the first time in two years, the race evolved into a victory march, a celebration of Johaug’s amazing career. The atmosphere throughout Johaug’s last lap was fantastic, and when she passed Frognerseteren, a famous Oslo landmark, for the last time as a competitor, she stopped and waved to the crowd. It was reminiscent of her breakthrough victory in 2011.
Both teammates and competitors praised Johaug after the race.
“Therese is, in my opinion, the best distance skier ever. She is extreme and is equally fast on a sprint as she is on a 30km. She is impressive,” teammate Heidi Weng told NRK.
“She has meant a lot to me and been an inspiration in my career from when we first met at the youth World Championship,” Swede Charlotte Kalla said.
Krista Pärmäkoski from Finland finished second and Jonna Sundling from Sweden finished in third place, 19 and 32 seconds behind Johaug (1:19:22.8), respectively.
Because of Russia’s ban from all competitions, the men’s 50km race at Holmenkollen, Norwegian skiers dominated with six Norwegians in the top 10. Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget won (2:03:27.3), Sjur Røthe came in second (+0.6), and Didrik Tønseth came in third (+3.5). World Cup leader Johannes Høsflot Klæbo was out because of a positive covid test.
Silje Opseth of Norway won the first women’s HS134 on March 5 with jumps of 129m and 131.5m and 249.7 total points. Nika Kriznar (Slovenia) and Sara Takanashi (Japan) took silver (-2.6) and bronze (-12.0), respectively. In the second HS134 on March 6, Opseth was seventh. In the first men’s HS134, Marius Lindvik of Norway (129m, 132.8 pts, 131m, 137.6 pts, 270.4 total pts) took gold, and Robert Johansson of Norway (128.5m, 131.7 pts, 131m, 136 pts, 267.7 total pts) took bronze. In the second HS134, Daniel-Andre Tande of Norway won (128.5m, 130.7 pts, 133.5m, 138.4 pts, 271.2 total pts).
Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway won the first Large Hill HS134/10km event March 5 (139.0m, 143.3 pts, 23:00.2) with Jens Lurås Oftebro coming in third (+1:05.4). Norway’s Jørgen Grabaak was fourth. In the second HS134/10.0km, Riiber won again (121.5m, 116.4 pts, 24:00.9), and Oftebro was third again (+31.3).
This article originally appeared in the April 1, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.