Olympic athletes are considered to be the elite in their sport, and their precise, calculated movements make you think that they are just about perfect. During the men’s 30 kilometer skiathlon in the 2018 Winter Olympics, Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger reminded us that Olympic athletes are human and make mistakes too during a devastating crash at the opening gate.
During the first 200 meters of the race, the 68 participants started in rows. Krueger slips, breaks a pole, and causes two other athletes, Russia’s Andrey Larkov and Denis Spitsov, to stumble and fall on top of him. Krueger immediately fell into last place.
“I was completely last in the group,” Krueger said in a statement. “So I had to start the race again and switch focus to catch up with the guys. When I did it, I was (saying to myself), ‘OK, take one lap, two laps, three laps and just get into it again.’ ”
Despite the horrific start, Krueger persisted, crawling up the ranks as the race went on. Krueger eventually passed the 67 other skiers and held a 22 second lead at one point.
“It is an indescribable feeling,” Krueger said about winning the gold medal. “It is an amazing day, but it started in the worst way with the fall after the first 100 meters and a broken pole. I was thinking this is over.”
This is Krueger’s first gold medal in his first Winter Olympics, and it goes to show that it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.
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