Charlotte Kalla, nine-time Olympic medalist for Sweden, retires

Charlotte Kalla

Charlotte Kalla, who holds Sweden’s female record of nine Olympic medals, will retire from elite cross-country skiing after her national championships that began Thursday.

Kalla, in a social media post, said she made the difficult decision over the last month.

“The curiosity about life outside of elite sports weighs heavier than what a continued investment would entail,” was posted on her social media, according to an International Ski Federation translation.

Kalla, a 34-year-old from Tarendo, a small village above the Arctic Circle with a population of less than 500, won nine medals among the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Olympics, including individual gold in 2010 (10km freestyle) and 2018 (15km skiathlon).

In 2014, she made up a 25-second deficit on the anchor leg of the relay to lead Sweden to its first gold in the event, edging Finland by a half-second. Her local airport unofficially changed its name to Kalla International Airport with a banner.

After four medals in 2018, Kalla earned one medal (relay gold) between the 2019 and 2021 World Championships, then finished her Olympic career last month with a best result of 19th.

In 2021, she didn’t win a medal at a global championship for the first time since 2007. During that season, she struggled with a severe case of COVID-19, coronary heart disease, a back injury, and stomach issues.

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