January 17, 2018 / 1:49 PM / a year ago

Norway's Northug almost certain to miss Olympics

FILE PHOTO: Norway's Petter Northug reacts after winning the men's cross country 50 km mass start classic race at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun March 1, 2015. Ê REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File photo

(Reuters) - Double Olympic gold medallist Petter Northug will not take part in this weekend’s World Cup cross-country skiing competition in Planica, Slovenia, and is almost certain to miss next month’s Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Northug, who has struggled for form and fitness all season, had hoped to take part in Planica but has failed to recover fully from a cold.

“The probability of the Olympics is low, but the door is not completely closed. There is still an opportunity for us to select Petter,” national team chief Vidar Lofshus said in a statement.

Northug’s coach, Stig Rune Kveen, does not share that optimism.

“We feel the Olympics is gone now,” Kveen told reporters, adding that Northug has been advised by his doctors to take it easy for a few more days.

“I’ve seen that the team management has said he could be added at their discretion, but I don’t think that’s likely,” the coach said.

One of Norway’s best-known and most popular athletes, 32-year-old Northug won two golds, a silver and a bronze medal at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, adding two team bronze medals four years later in Sochi.

Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by David Goodman

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