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Simen Hegstad Krüger Tests Positive for Covid-19

Thursday afternoon, the Norwegian Olympic Team announced that Simen Hegstad Krüger has tested positive for Covid-19.

Photo: Marius Simensen / BILDBYRÅN

Simen Hegstad Krüger has tested positive for Covid-19.

Simen Hegstad Krüger is the third cross-country skier in the Norwegian Olympic team testing positive for Covid-19 at the Norwegian Olympic team’s precamp in Seiser Alm, Italy. The 28-year-old does not have any symptoms 

Earlier this week, Heidi Weng and Anne Kjersti Kalvå tested positive for Covid-19. So far, they both have only light symptoms. 

Additionally, national team coach Arild Monsen tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday. 

Hegstad Krüger, just like Weng and Kalvå, is now isolated from the rest of the team. 

Norwegian national team physician Øystein Andersen doesn’t rule out that there could be more positive cases in the next days. 

Widespread worry
Until Wednesday, The Norwegian national team has stayed at the same hotel in Seiser Alm as the Finnish and the Russian national teams. 

Worried about getting infected with the highly contagious virus, the Russian team has now moved from the hotel.

On Wednesday, the Norwegian national team moved to a different hotel. In the new hotel, all the team members have separate rooms. Furthermore, all the athletes are eating alone in their rooms. 

They quarantined skiers only leave their rooms for outdoor workouts twice a day, and don’t socialize with others. The isolated skiers are not leaving their rooms at all. 

Race against time
In accordance with Italian requirements, the Covid-infected racers will remain isolated for at least ten days from the time of the positive test, which was Monday for the two women and Wednesday for Hegstad Krüger. The earliest they could be cleared is February 3 and February 5, respectively. 

After this date, they will have to test negative for Covid-19 five times on four consecutive days before they can travel to China. Then they will test again upon arrival in China in order to enter the “safe bubble.” Once in the Olympic village, all athletes are tested daily. 

The 2022 Olympics in Beijing start on February 4. The first cross-country race for the women is on February Saturday, February 5. For the men, the first cross-country race takes place on Sunday, February 6. 

None of the Norwegian who tested positive this week will make it to China in time for those events. Depending on the severity of the infections, they may be able to compete at the events in the last half of the Olympics. 

Working on Plan B
With three athletes already in isolation with confirmed cases of Covid-19, the Norwegian national team coaches are actively recruiting alternates. 

Team director Espen Bjervig confirms that he has a list of at least 6-7 potential alternates for both men and women. So far, Even Northug, Didrik Tønseth and Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget have been contacted as alternates to the men’s team. For the women’s team, the coaches have called Silje Theodorsen and Ane Appelkvist Stenseth. Bjervig also confirms that Ragnhild Haga is on that list. 

“We have to stick with the quotas of eight men and eight women. If we enter a new racer, one of the existing racers have to be withdrawn. That means, if we travel with eight racers, those are the eight racers we have. We cannot juggle racers back and forth while we are there, and for instance return two and then bring two others in,” Bjervig explains. 

Despite the recent surge in Covid infections, the IOC and the Beijing Olympics organizing committee announced that the 2022 Olympics will not be cancelled or postponed. However, stringent anti-covid restrictions will be in place.

FACTS: 2022 OLYMPICS 

Where: Beijing, China
When: February 4 to 20, 2022
What: Olympic Winter Games
Check out the cross-country courses at the 2022 Beijing Olympics 
What happens when: 
Complete schedule for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, all sports
Who: These are the cross-country teams at the 2022 Olympics: 
Australia
Austria 
Canada 
Finland 
France 
Germany
Great Britain 
Italy
Norway
Russia 
Sweden 
Switzerland
USA 
The Tiny Teams to The 2022 Olympics (teams with fewer than five racers)

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