Harald Østberg Amundsen pulled off an amazing 15-kilometer skate race at the 2023 FIS World Championships in Planica.
Trailing by 11 seconds at the top of the course, Amundsen earned six seconds on gold medalist Simen Hegstad Krüger on the last few kilometers and finished only five behind. Now, the 24-year-old is on a mission for gold.
Five seconds from the gold medal
Starting nearly last of the seeded World Cup racers, Amundsen kept Krüger in suspense until he crossed the finish: It was a battle of miniscule margins at every time check on the course. And as Amundsen started inching in on Krüger’s lead toward the end of the race, Krüger really started biting his nails from behind the finish line. Amundsen ended up only five seconds from the gold medal.
“I am super satisfied with second place. To take home a silver medal on a day where I didn’t feel like I had that very last top gear, is fantastic. I couldn’t have shaved another second off my time,” Amundsen says after his race, adding that he loves individual start events.
“Individual start is such a fair race format. Everyone skis their own race. It’s a battle against time, and the strongest racers win.”
Aiming for more in 2025
That said, Amundsen is always going for the top of the podium.
“I’m always aiming for first place. I have a World Cup victory in the 15-kilometer skate and a gold medal from that event at the Norwegian National Championships in January, so I know I am fast enough to beat all the Norwegians. When I’m at my best, I can beat Simen (Hegstad Krüger). But he has been in killer shape at these World Championships, so I’m super content with bagging a silver medal here,” he says.
But at the next World Championships, Amundsen wants to go all the way to the top.
You earned a bronze medal in the 15km skate race in 2021, at your very first elite World Championships, and a silver medal this time. Will you earn the gold at the 2025 World Championships in Trondheim?
“If I were to pick a spot where I want to earn a World Championship gold medal, I think Trondheim is the perfect place. So, I will keep working on that until then. World Championships on home turf is something else.”
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Photo by: Nordic Focus
Sweeping the podiums
After earning the silver medal in the 15-kilometer skate race at the 2023 FIS World Championships in Planica, Amundsen capped off his work week winning the overall Scandinavian Cup.
Immediately following his impressive silver medal performance at the World Championships on Wednesday March 1, Amundsen flew straight to Latvia for the last three races in in the 2023 Scandinavian Cup (continental cup). There, Amundsen was third in the sprint on Friday March 3, before winning both the 10-kilometer skate race on Saturday and the 20-kilometer classic race on Sunday March 5, as well as the overall Scandinavian Cup.
On Sunday March 12, the 24-year-old is ready for the 50km skate race in Holmenkollen (NOR), the most prestigious event on the World Cup calendar.
Photo by: Nordic Focus