Norwegian Olympic and World Cup champ Bente Skari retires


Norwegian Olympic and World Cup champ Bente Skari retires{mosimage}Norwegian Olympic champ Bente Skari, arguably the best women’s nordic skier in the world, has announced her retirement, saying she lacks motivation. Among Norway’s most successful skiers in recent years, Skari won two gold medals at the world championships at Val di Fiemme in Italy last month and was this season’s overall World Cup champion.

Skari, 30, won gold in the first event, the women’s 15-kilometer mass start, and also the 10km classic. She had to skip some events at the championships because of a stomach bug.

“I lack motivation to start a new season,” Skari told reporters after clinching her 16th Norwegian championship gold medal at Meraaker in central Norway on March 28. Skari, who has mastered both the classic and skating styles of cross-country skiing, took this year’s World Cup with 17 wins, far ahead of her rivals. She has a career total of 44 World Cup victories.

Skari won an Olympic gold medal in the 10km classic event in Salt Lake City last year. She has also earned two silver medals and two bronze in Olympic competition. “I have had a fantastic life as a skier, but it requires an incredible amount of planning and prioritizing which I am not motivated for right now,” Skari said.

Married to Geir Skari, she had previously hinted that she would like to become a mother and said she would not ski competitively after having children. She told reporters she was not pregnant.

Well known for sporting a range of different hair colors, which have varied from purple to bright blue during her skiing career, Skari followed in her father Odd Martinsen’s footsteps by winning Olympic gold. Martinsen’s moment of glory came in the cross-country relay in Grenoble in 1968.

Skari’s decision to quit comes in the same month that fellow Norwegian Thomas Alsgaard also announced he was retiring. Alsgaard is the only cross-country skier to win gold medals at eight top tournaments in a row, including Olympic Games and World Championships.

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