In a mail to her sponsors the double Olympic champion, who was part of the winning team in the women’s team sprint in Sochi 2014 and the women’s relay in Pyengchong 2018, announced that she was sitting the year out.
It has been some turbulent twelve months for Oestberg, who about this time last year revealed that she did not fulfill all the requirements in the Norwegian skiing federation’s health certificate and was not allowed to race for several months.
During a press conference with Norwegian media almost twelve months ago, Oestberg made clear that her training had been going well, that she felt great, but that it had been difficult to strike a good balance between training, recuperation and nutrition. She deserves praise for being open and transparent about topics which are not normally discussed in a public forum, during this press conference.
When she was allowed to race again she performed well, finishing third in the tour de ski, but she had her season cut short after suffering a fatigue (overuse) fracture in her foot, in March. This stress fracture reoccurred shortly after she started training for the 2020-21 season in July.
She has so far not provided any reason why she will not race the upcoming season, but is adamant that she will do her utmost to return for the Beijing 2022 Olympics.
The mail to her sponsors was in the Norwegian language, but it has been reported in several media that she wrote something along the lines of:
“Unfortunately I will not take part in any races this season, this is obviously regrettable. After all, all the hard work in my day to day training is targeted towards racing and I love to race. I will however do everything in my power to mount a strong comeback!”
Already in July, after having suffered the second stress fracture, she indicated to the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK that the 20-21 season was in danger, saying:
“It is difficult to say what is realistic for the upcoming season, if anything at all is realistic, maybe it is the races after Christmas I will need to target.”
We wish Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg all the best preparing for the Beijing Olympics and suspect that she will be strong during the 2021-22 season.