"Didn't get enough oxygen": Cross-country star Victoria Carl explains goal collapse

Victoria Carl put in a strong performance at the start of the World Cup for cross-country skiers in Ruka, Finland, but overreached herself at the last entry and collapsed at the finish.

"Didn't get enough oxygen": Cross-country star Victoria Carl explains goal collapse

Victoria Carl put in a strong performance at the start of the World Cup for cross-country skiers in Ruka, Finland, but overreached herself at the last entry and collapsed at the finish. She is now doing well again and the 27-year-old explains what exactly happened to her.

The start of the new World Cup season was excellent for the German cross-country skiers in Ruka, Finland, but it was also overshadowed by Victoria Carl's collapse. In the 20-kilometer race on Sunday, the athlete collapses after a strong race and 14th place at the finish. After crossing the finish line, Carl was no longer able to stand on his feet, collapsed and had to be picked up and supported by her teammate Katharina Hennig, who after third place over 10 kilometers had finished 13th over double the distance. With some distance, the 27-year-old is now talking about her collapse.

"I ran out of breath on the last hill. I had no strength left," Carl said in an interview with the Norwegian newspaper "Dagbladet": "I can't remember crossing the finish line." Carl lost control of her limbs. "I had no more feeling in my legs," said the 27-year-old: "I didn't get enough oxygen and couldn't stand on my own two feet without help."

A completely unfamiliar situation for Carl. "But I know that I can go beyond my limits and that something like that can happen," said the German Olympic heroine from Beijing, where she won gold in the team sprint and silver in the relay: "I'm glad that I could exceed the limit." The collapse had no consequences, as national coach Peter Schlickenrieder explained. "Everything is fine with Victoria. It was a tough competition and she was very tired at the finish, but after five minutes she was fit again," said the 52-year-old. When Carl is in good shape, "she manages to put in a lot of effort and sometimes even pushes the limits, like in this case," added Schlickenrieder.

Hennig also had a hard time struggling in the second race. The 26-year-old, who was struggling with a corona infection in the pre-season, only ran out of strength over the last few kilometers. Up to this point she was once again fighting for a spot on the podium. "This pursuer in Ruka is always my deadly enemy, it's always a special fight - especially since it's twice the length now," said Hennig in view of the distances that have been adjusted to the men since this season: "In the end I was somehow able to cheat my way through."

The Swedes dominated the season opener: After Emma Ribom's sprint success on Friday, Ebba Andersson and Frida Karlsson shared the victories in the distance races. On Saturday Andersson won the tenth in front of Karlsson, on Sunday Karlsson prevailed with a clear lead of 33.3 seconds. Hennig was 1:28.1 minutes behind. The German men were also convincing: After Janosch Brugger in eighth place in the tenth, Friedrich Moch in ninth place in the pursuit also reached the top 10. Unbeatable: Norway's dominator Johannes Hösflot Kläbo, who celebrated his World Cup victories 49 to 51 from Friday to Sunday.

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