Maren Lundby announced the most difficult sporting decision of her career in tears - and with an unusually round face for a ski jumper.
But Norway's flagship athlete made no excuses, but honestly spoke the truth about her own near future in the tough and merciless sport. "I have a few pounds too much at the moment to jump at the top of the world," said Lundby in a TV interview in October 2021.
She therefore suspended the entire Olympic winter and thus voluntarily gave up the chance to become Olympic champion again, like in 2018. She instead appeared in the Norwegian version of the TV show Let's Dance. Lundby received a lot of sincere encouragement and encouragement, but also criticism. A murmur went through the Norwegian media, who were used to success, and the cross-country skier Emil Iversen initially called the decision "unprofessional" and later apologized for it. Almost 17 months later it should be clear that the 28-year-old Lundby made the right decision in terms of sport.
Lundby is back at the top of the world
With silver at the World Championships in Planica, Slovenia, she made an impressive return to the top of the world. "It's probably one of my biggest wins. I've proved to myself now that I'm back," said Lundby. The fourth World Championship medal for Katharina Althaus, who was third this time, and the surprising victory of Alexandria Loutitt from the ski jumping developing country Canada were amazing, but the big comeback of Lundby attracted the most attention on this snowy Wednesday evening in the valley of the hills.
"I don't think the last two years have been easy for her. She has always struggled, also with her weight. Unfortunately, that's part of our sport, of course," said Althaus, who had regularly fought duels with the Norwegian before Lundby's break . Before the World Cup there was nothing to suggest that Lundby could now boast as much. A top ten place in the World Cup was not granted to her before Planica. "She's a master at being there when it matters most. She really deserves this silver medal," said German national coach Maximilian Mechler.
Lundy wants discussion about weight
At the time, Lundby didn't decide to leave because she was ill, but because she didn't want to risk her health for the sport. "Extreme demands are made in ski jumping, weight is one of them. I've never controlled my weight irresponsibly, that's also part of my recipe for success," explained Lundby.
At that time, she set two signs at the same time. On the one hand, that she doesn't let professional sport force and dictate everything on her. On the other hand, that the topics of weight, anorexia and body mass index (BMI) should be discussed more. The BMI, which is calculated from weight and height, determines the maximum ski length and is intended to protect athletes from anorexia. Lundby countered the criticism of cross-country skier Iversen relatively easily. "I want to continue ski jumping. It's just a matter of time." She should be right.