Cross-country women astonished by the media fuss

Cross-country Skiers Pyeongchang Winter OlympicsCross-country athletes Heidi Weng (f.l.), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, Ragnhild Haga and Marit Bjørgen meet the press for 30 km that they will compete in on Sunday, on the last day of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Cross-country women astonished by the media fuss

Norwegian Olympic journalists were surprised that the cross-country team for Sunday’s 30 km did not meet for the press conference in advance of the race. Then the skiers took action.


A number of media chose to drop Friday’s press seanse in the Olympic city of Pyeongchang as only national team coach Roar Hjelmeset met to present the team for the 30 kilometer.

Neither Marit Bjørgen, Ragnhild Haga, Heidi Weng nor Ingvild Flugstad Østberg were seen at the pressroom night before Friday Norwegian time. It was therefore called for a press briefing with the team on short notice on Friday morning.

Bjørgen, Østberg and the other cross-country women were astonished when they were made aware of the frustration in the media that they were initially not made available for questions before the event.

– We were a little surprised, all of us. It was obviously not so popular that we did not meet the media. We just have to be grateful that people are so interested.

– It’s nice to be missed, said Østberg when the quartet finally met with the Norwegian Olympic reporters.

Hoped to miss out

Bjørgen says that the about turn occurred on the ski stars own initiative.

– We think this is pleasant. And we are privileged to get that attention. When we saw the headlines this morning, we made an evaluation, and found out that we should be here tonight, the Olympic Veteran said.

At the same time she added that she thinks the cross-country skiers are available enough as it is.

– I had hoped to skip one day. No, it is no big deal. I think we have been available, do  you not think so? She rhetorically asked the press.


It virtually hailed with sarcastic messages from several Norwegian media when Press Attaché Gro Eide on Thursday announced that only team coach Hjelmeset would be available on the presentation of the team.

The vast majority of media present in Pyeongchang, announced that they would not attend the press brief. Eide retorted like so to Norwegian TV 2:

– The athletes meet up for all that they are required to and more. Medals are handed out on days than the race day, and there is both accredited and unaccredited media who wants a piece of them. We also provide exclusive deals to some, so I really hope people understand that this is not about not wanting to partake. And that they need time to charge their batteries before the final competition.

On Friday morning she still felt that she had to make an about turn.

– We see that the athletes ought to have participated in the media meeting this morning and apologize for that. Therefore, the four women that are participating in the 30 kilometers on Sunday, available to the media for a brief plenary séance, she explained.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today