Weng reacts to the treatment: – I only get nasty words

LILLEHAMMER (Nettavisen): The Norwegian girls have been predicted north and down ahead this winter, but five World Cup races into the season the results have been better than feared.

Several of the women seem to have stepped up, such as Anne Kjersti Kalvå and Tiril Udnes Weng, among others. The latter currently leads the World Cup and has so far delivered three podiums.

Heidi Weng has also impressed, and on Friday she was back on the podium in the World Cup after going through a troubled run-up to the season.

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Weng reacts

Experts and the media have predicted that the Swedes will dominate this season, but the uplifting Norwegian start apparently shows that the Norwegian women can give them more of a fight than many thought.

After Friday’s 10 kilometers in Lillehammer, Heidi Weng made a clear statement to those who have been too critical of the Norwegian girls.

Weng singles out the media, which she believes are far too good at promoting the Swedish girls, while the Norwegian girls are talked down.

– We Norwegians only get bad words. We just get picked on and we’re somehow too bad. But we will once again be shown that we are at least as good, and that is great, she says to Nettavisen.

She believes that the Norwegian media need to sharpen their coverage of the Norwegian women’s runners.

– I think the media, especially in Norway, should start talking positively about women’s cross country, because I think both the media and the Norwegian people benefit from that, she says.

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– Someone should think about it

Helene Marie Fossesholm has long been aware that Norwegian women have received too much criticism in the past year. She particularly reacts to the fact that the criticism has come before they have even shown what they are good for.

– Let’s try to go fast in the season and not kill ourselves before we have started. We had a bad season last year, but it was a bit extraordinary with everything possible really. People are in better shape this year and we are better equipped. You have to get the opportunity before you get slaughtered, she says to Nettavisen.

At the same time, she comes with a jab at those who have been most critical.

– I would say that there are some who should think a bit before they say so much in the future.

Cross-country manager Espen Bjervig thinks there has been a lot of negativity around the women’s team, and believes it has made them even more eager to show what’s in them.

– They have had a bit of devilish violence in them, that now they are going to show themselves off after me, he says to Nettavisen.

Bjervig mentions, among other things, the new coaching team as one of the reasons why the women’s team seems to have received a boost.

– And then we have known all along that these are girls with capacity, they are certainly not bad skiers. Now they bloom a bit, and then we hope it will last the season, he says.

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– It is important

Despite Weng and Fossesholm’s displeasure with the criticism, it must be mentioned that last season was very disappointing for the Norwegian ladies behind Therese Johaug.

However, the start of this season has been promising, and Weng has noticed that there is a very good atmosphere in the team.

– The girls are incredibly good with each other. I am very proud to be on that team here. Everyone “backs”, supports, cheers and pampers each other, she says.

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Sjur Ole Svarstad and Stig Rune Kveen came in as new coaches this spring. The latter does not hide that the team lacked confidence when he and Svarstad took over coaching responsibilities.

– I noticed that there was a bit of low self-esteem and a bit of self-belief, says Kveen to Nettavisen.

He is impressed by the work the women have done to try to turn the situation around.

– They have stood very well together. There is a very good environment in the team and they “back” each other. We see that as very important, he says.

Perhaps the best proof that the Norwegian women have risen is previously mentioned World Cup leader Tiril Udnes Weng. However, she had not thought she would be up there all the way and fight for the yellow jersey.

– I hadn’t even thought about it. I think it’s motivating to fight for the yellow jersey. There are many people who want it. At least I feel like it, and then there are probably some who say they don’t care either. But I care, she says to Nettavisen.

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On Sunday, the World Cup weekend ends in Lillehammer with a 20 km classic joint start. The women start at 10.45am, while the men start at 1pm.

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