Cross-Country Talk: Ragnhild Haga (NOR)
Ragnhild Haga is the new appearance on the Norwegian national team. The 24-year old skier from Holter broke through the World's elite as a junior when she claimed two gold medals at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships and two gold medals at FIS U23 World Ski Championships.
Last season she recorded outstanding results also on the World Cup with 4th place in the overall FIS Tour de Ski standings, and twelve top 10 World Cup results. Polish journalist Irek Trawka spoke with Ragnhild Haga and FIS Cross-Country News brings you the interview.
Ragnhild, you are a niece of Anders Bakken, who participated in OWG 1980 in Lake Placid. Was he an important role model for you?
That’s correct and impressive that you knew. I think I was absolutely inspired by the rich skiing traditions in my family. It was very natural to start skiing. And my father was also a Cross-Country coach for a long time. I think that’s the main reason why I and my younger brothers have become athletes.
In the season 2013/2014 you scored only 31 World Cup points, but last season it was already 750 points and you finished the winter in 4th place of the Overall World Cup standing? It is a very impressive improvement.
I don’t think I competed in the World Cup at all in 2013/14 because I had some troubles with illness that year. My training had not gone so well in the autumn, and I didn’t compete that much during the winter.
But in 2014/15 season, my training went a lot better and my health was good during the winter. So I think that’s the main reason why I improved so much from one year to another. I am training around 800 hours a year. Last year my focus was to improve my endurance, especially in distance races in free technique. This year I will try to develop classic technique and sprint abilities.
What are your main goals for next season?
I think a “Tour-year” will be very exciting. All skiers have the opportunity to improve their weaknesses. You have to be a complete skier to have a good season. And I really like that. And after last season I’m also really motivated of course. Now I think almost everything is possible next season. My goals for next winter is to get a spot on the team for both Tour de Ski and Tour of Canada. And I also want to be on the World cup podium during the season.
What is your preference when it comes to techniques and distances?
I think I have usually been best in distance competitions in free technique. However, I think I am not really bad in any discipline. I am going to continue working on my abilities to become a good “Tour-skier”. I would like to be an all-round skier and get better in sprints.
You are not only Cross-Country skier but also orienteer.
Yes, that is right. However, I have not participated very much in ski orienteering, more in orienteering during summer. Until I was 17-18 years old it was a good combination; orienteering in the summer and skiing in the winter .
What is your biggest dream related with Cross-Country skiing?
My dream has always been to compete in the World Championships and the Olympics. I want to become a good all-round skier who can fight for the medals in biggest title events.
Contributed by Irek Trawka