HOLMENKOLLEN (Dagbladet): So another biathlon career was over. On Tuesday, Marte Olsbu Røiseland announced that she is quitting. On Wednesday it was Tiril Eckhoff’s turn.
– It’s a bit delicious, and a relief to be able to say that. It has been tough in parts of autumn and spring. I’m used to the way the body works. For once it has been really demanding, says Eckhoff to Dagbladet.
Tiril Eckhoff hangs up
On Wednesday evening, the 32-year-old shared the news that she has completed her last ski race. Monday marks exactly one year since she finished 13th at the joint start in Holmenkollen.
– I am proud of what I have achieved and will always look back on my years as a biathlete with a smile, it was said in a press release on Wednesday evening.
Calls the call
On Thursday, she met the press in Holmenkollen, just a few penalty rounds from the stadium where she won her first World Cup gold during the World Cup on home soil in 2016.
She can reveal to Dagbladet that she gave the coaching duo Patrick Oberegger and Sverre Huber Kaas the message earlier this week. On a run in Kollen, she just had to “tear off the plaster”.
– It was a bit emotional actually, it was. It wasn’t the jog I was most looking forward to. There were a lot of emotions, because they are the ones who have been closest to me over the past year. They have really been there for me. There were some tears, says Eckhoff.
National team coach Sverre Huber Kaas says that he began to sense what was brewing when Eckhoff invited them out on a trip.
– We have always lived in the hope that we would get through this. But when we were out running, we started talking about normal things and how we were feeling. But then we had to ask her how she was doing, says Huber Kaas to Dagbladet.
– And then she said?
– “It’s going well, because I’ve decided what I’m going to do.”
– Then it was very quiet for a short period. We had to calm down a bit and talk about other things. It was a very special moment. But when she invited us on a trip, we realized what it could be. One always hopes that it is the opposite. It was hard to hear it directly from her.
– What has she meant to the team?
– She has meant an incredible amount. The experience, the mood, a great role model for all the others. She has paved the way. She will be difficult to replace, says the national team coach.
Eckhoff won a total of eight Olympic medals, including two golds. She has ten WC golds, as well as two silvers and three bronzes. Among other things, she returned home from the Beijing Olympics with three medals.
Since then, Eckhoff has struggled with sleep problems and other health challenges. The 32-year-old did not get to the hooks properly after being infected by the coronavirus last spring.
– It is absolutely incredible what she has achieved. If you only look at medals, there are few on the women’s side who have been better. The person she has been for the team, for the media, for people around. She has meant a great deal to Norwegian biathlon. It is hard to explain. I can hardly put into words how important she has been, says Huber Kaas.
She is not sure what will be the way forward for Eckhoff.
– That is a very good question. It’s fucking scary. Do you have any tips?
– TV job?
– We’ll see. I find biathlon very exciting, I am very fond of the sport.
– So you don’t want to rule out that you end up as a TV expert?
No, I don’t rule that out.
– Missing Tiril
Eckhoff will be present in Holmenkollen to follow the last World Cup round this season.
– Luckily, it will be nice. I came home on Monday and the first thing I did when I got home was to go skiing with Tiril on Tuesday. I miss Tiril very much, both on tour and in everyday training, Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold told Dagbladet during a press conference on Wednesday morning just hours before the news became known to the general public.
About the conversations with Tandrevold, Eckhoff says:
– I have been skiing with Ingrid and said it like it is, that it is tough, and that there may not be any way forward. She has known it all along. She has been very supportive.