“My first World Cup podium, and boy did I have to earn it”

March 12, 2024

Getting to race at the World Cup is a big deal. Bagging an individual World Cup podium in your rookie season on the national team is a huge deal. In his first season with the Norwegian development team, Johan-Olav Botn has done both. 

By Inge Scheve

In his fourth World Cup race ever, the 24-year-old secured his first ever World Cup podium. Shooting clean and skiing fast, he hauled in to third place in the sprint at the IBU World Cup in Soldier Hollow (USA) on Saturday. 

The Johan-Olav Botn was only 11 seconds out of the victory. But it didn’t come easy. 

“My first World Cup podium, and by golly did I have to earn it. Holy cow. That was the hardest race ever,” Botn said to TV2 after finishing, adding that he didn’t expect it. 

“During my warmup, I felt the worst I have for the whole season. I was pretty discouraged prior to the start. I was just moving around with a bad feeling.”  

Once on the course, things were entirely different. At the end of the day, he was on the podium.  

Then Botn capped his weekend with a top-10 finish in the pursuit on Sunday.

And the season isn’t over yet. Four more races remain on the World Cup schedule, and Botn is set on making the most of them. 

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Photo by: Nordic Focus

Also at the Soldier Hollow World Cup, Sturla Holm Lægreid and Benedikt Doll both kicked off the weekend on the podium. Lægreid helped Norway to first place in the relay on Friday, while Doll helped Germany to third place. 

Additionally, Lægreid secured a pair of rock solid fourth-place finishes. On Saturday, he was only a second away from the podium in the sprint, and on Sunday he was four tenths of a second from third place in the pursuit. 

Lægreid is now third in the overall IBU World Cup heading into the World Cup final in Canmore (CAN) on March 14 to 17. 

Tuuli Tomingas also deserves a shoutout for a strong 6th place in the 10K pursuit race.

And speaking of the overall World Cup: Harald Østberg Amundsen (NOR) pulled in to 4th place at the 50-kilometer classic race in Holmenkollen (NOR) on Sunday. The 25-year-old remains in the yellow World Cup leader bib when four races remain on the FIS Cross-Country World Cup calendar.  

Holmenkollen also saw some impressive performances by Krista Pärmäkoski, who finished in 10th place and Lauri Lepistö who scored a career best with 12th place.

Photo by: Kent Murdoch