Cross-Country Talk: Astrid Jacobsen (NOR)
Astrid Jacobsen of Norway is the sprint World Champion and triple bronze medalist from Sapporo 2007. The skier from Trondheim had ups and downs in her career but last season she shined during the FIS Tour de Ski as she claimed 5th place in the Overall Standing and a few weeks later she finished in a decent 9th place in 15 km Skiathlon at the FIS World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme.
FIS Cross-Country News talked to Astrid Jacobsen during her training camp with the U.S. Ski Team in Alaska.
FIS: You have come to Anchorage, Alaska to train with Kikkan Randall and participate in a US women’s ski team camp. When did you decide it would be a good time to come over and take part in this camp?
AJ: We talked about it at the end of the season in Falun, Sweden. But you know as the season ends and it gets to spring in April I think most skiers think about other things than training. When May arrived I contacted Kikkan again because it’s so typical to talk about it but I wanted to actually make it into an action. My flight tickets were then booked in May and the camp has been apart of the training plan since this new season started.
FIS: What interested you to want to come to Alaska for such a training experience?
AJ: First of all I have never been here before. For me it is exotic to travel here to see Alaska. Most importantly though it was the opportunity to go and train with Kikkan. For me she is the best skate sprinter we have. I felt that we could challenge each other. We each have different qualities.
Also, if you look at how the American women’s team has developed in the last couple of years it is a really interesting team with a good spirit. I was curious to come here and see how they work as a group.
FIS: When most people think of Alaska they think of bears, moose and men with beards. What are your impressions so far?
AJ: [laughs]. I have not seen any of those so far. I am still waiting for the bears and the moose. In one way it resembles Norway but everything is bigger! I have enjoyed the stay so far. It’s great for training.
FIS: Looking back at the 2012/13 season, were you happy with how it went?
AJ: I was really happy with my development. I took some really big steps, especially with my distance skiing and in skating in particular. I am a strong and heavy girl and was able to ski quite well up Alpe Cermis. There was a lot of work behind that success.
The World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy were a disaster. One race I had really bad skis and then I got sick. It was not the perfect season but I am really happy with the progress that I made. Everything has been laid down as a good base to be ready for the Olympic season. I feel stronger this summer than I have ever before. The key is to not get too excited this summer and into the fall with my training. Then I think I will have a good season.
FIS: Do you have specific goals for the Olympics? Is there a particular race you are focused on?
AJ: Maybe the 10km classic. I have always liked individual start races, in particular in the classic technique. Which in one way is weird because I started off as a sprinter but I have never enjoyed sprinting that much.
Also the team sprint interests me. Those are the only races I am focused on. But you know in Norway we say, “ I am like the potato, I can be used for everything” [everybody laughs]. The hard part for the Olympics will be to qualify.
FIS: Speaking of qualifying for the Olympics. What is the process for you to make the Norwegian team?
AJ: I think for us in Norway it will start with the first competitions of the World Cup season in November, but for sure they will release more specifics. Our National championships will be important. But really because we have such a large team and you have events like the Tour de Ski and other races it will be important for the selection committee to be specific about what it will take to qualify.