Petter Northug, the most decorated Norwegian cross-country skier of the last 20 years, was left off the country’s Olympic team.
Northug, a braggadocious 32-year-old with 13 world titles and four 2010 Olympic medals, struggled each of the past two seasons.
He barely competed this season, placing 32nd in his lone World Cup start and missing recent races, reportedly due to health issues.
Northug may be the most known athlete in Norway, which leads the all-time Winter Olympic medal standings.
Norway also left off the Olympic team the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, 43-year-old biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, a 13-time Olympic medalist who struggled this season.
Northug had his own reality show, “Circus Northug,” which ran for two seasons. He competed in the World Series of Poker. He once made King Harald V wait 15 minutes to congratulate him on a victory so that he could cool down.
Competitors have called him “Storkjeften fra Mosvik,” or the Big Mouth from Mosvik (his Norwegian birthplace). Northug has raced with the words “Haters Gonna Hate” on his apparel.
Northug was also given a 50-day prison sentence in 2014 for drunkenly crashing his car into a barrier near his home in Trondheim. He reportedly served it outside of jail while wearing an ankle cuff.
Norway should do well even without Northug in PyeongChang. The top two skiers this World Cup season are Norwegians Johannes Klaebo and Martin Johnsrud Sundby.
NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.
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