February 26, 2024

Concerns Mount as Illnesses and Covid-19 Impact Cross-Country Skiers in 2023 Tour de Ski

The 2023 Tour de Ski has been marred by a growing list of cross-country skiers forced to leave the competition due to illnesses and COVID-19 infections. The widespread impact on the athletes has raised significant concerns, significantly weakening the overall competition during the holiday season.

The latest casualties, as of Wednesday morning, include American Ben Ogden, German Pia Fink, Swiss Nicola Wigger, and Swedish skier Ebba Andersson, who achieved multiple victories earlier in the World Cup season.

The accumulation of illnesses and infections has become a notable talking point, with the Tour de Ski experiencing a higher-than-usual number of withdrawals. The affected skiers hail from various nations, with Norway being among the most severely impacted, with the clear-cut favourite for the men’s race, Johannes Hoesflot Klæbo and another of the main contenders pulling out before the competition had even started.

Other household names like Didrik Toenseth and Paal Golberh have been ill during Christmas and so far underperformed during the Tour de Ski. Sime Hegstad Krueger. For the Finish team Iivo Niskanen not tugging the start line was a huge loss.

Maarit Valtonen, the chief doctor of the Finnish Olympic Committee, attributes the increased risk of falling ill during this period to the seasonal circulation of viruses, particularly the RS virus and influenza A virus. She notes that the competition season exposes athletes to environments where viruses circulate heavily, including planes, venues, and media events.

The unique aspect of this situation is the large number of withdrawals at this time of year, prompting concerns within the cross-country skiing community. Valtonen emphasizes the importance of athletes’ acclimatization to competition after recovering from acute symptoms. She recommends a gradual return to exercise, ensuring that respiratory functions are not compromised.

Notably, the Tour de Ski continues despite the challenges, with the skate sprints in Davos, Switzerland, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. The ongoing impact of illnesses like seasonal flu, common colds and COVID-19 on the competition highlights the resilience and adaptability required by athletes participating in high-ventilation sports during these challenging times.

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Sportindepth has an ambition to dive deeper into the world of sports and hopes to provide in-depth content for Soccer, Athletics and various Winter Sports.

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