OSLO — Two members of Norway’s women’s cross-country ski squad tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the Beijing Olympics, the team said Wednesday.
Heidi Weng and Anne Kjersti Kalvå contracted COVID-19 at a training camp in the Italian Alpine resort of Seiser Alm and are now isolating.
Norwegian cross-country manager Espen Bjervig said in a video call their participation in the Olympics was uncertain.
Team doctor Øystein Andersen said Italian rules mean that Weng and Kalvå will be in isolation for 10 days, until Feb. 3. The Opening Ceremony is on Feb. 4 and the Olympic cross-country skiing program starts the next day.
“This is a shocking situation,” Andersen said.
Weng is the top-ranked Norwegian woman at fourth in this season’s World Cup standings, a five-time world champion (all in team events) and a two-time World Cup overall champion. She took silver in the 30km mass start at last season’s world championships behind Therese Johaug, Norway’s biggest female cross-country star.
“We have a reserve in the squad, and we also have other athletes who are accredited and can be ready,” Bjervig said of possible replacements. “But basically now the focus is on looking at the opportunities for those who have been taken out.”
Norway is the leading nation in cross-country skiing, with its women’s team winning three of the six events on the program at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
The team had planned to leave for Beijing on Thursday but will now be delayed.
The entire men’s team is also in isolation in Seiser Alm after head coach Arild Monsen tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Norway on Monday.
All eight team members were defined as a close contact of Monsen and were awaiting the results of PCR tests. They are now scheduled to depart for Beijing on Monday.
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