Simen Hegstad Kruger tests positive for Covid: Are Norway’s medal plans ruined?
Although it might seem entirely predictable that running an event drawing in athletes from all around the world in the middle of a global pandemic will inevitably increase the risk of positive cases cropping up, this does not mean that they come as any less of a shock when the inevitable does happen.
This has certainly proved true for the Norwegians recently, with Norwegian cross-country skier Simen Hegstad Kruger recently having tested positive for the virus.
Kruger is one of Norway’s star winter athletes. Having won a gold medal in the 30km skiathlon at the 2018 games in PyeongChang, expectations for the reigning Olympic champion were particularly high.
Unfortunately for Norway, however, these medal hopes all but evaporated last week when Kruger tested positive during a round of routine PCR tests. While spectators and commentators alike were all but expecting positive tests to disrupt the games in some way, this does not mean Kruger’s test came as any less of a shock.
Although Kruger is free of symptoms at the minute, he will have to comply with quarantine requirements and remain in his room for the officially designated period. This means that Kruger will miss the January 30th deadline for the Norwegian team flying out to Beijing. It also means that Kruger will almost certainly miss the 30km event on February 6th, in which he was the gold medal favorite.
This means that Kruger’s medal hopes have been slashed from three to two, given that Kruger was expected to take part in three events.
In more hopeful news, Kruger still has a realistic chance of making it out to Beijing for the final of these events on February 19th, provided he can produce a negative test in time.
However, while Kruger is asymptomatic at the minute, this might not last. If his health does suffer, this could seriously impact his performance in these later events at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.