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Norway cross-country skier may miss Olympic title defense after COVID positive

Cross-Country Skiing - Winter Olympics Day 2

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 11: Simen Hegstad Krueger of Norway celebrates winning the gold medal during the Men’s 15km and 15km Skiathlon Cross-Country Skiing on day two of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre on February 11 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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Norwegian cross-country skier Simen Hegstad Krüger may not be able to defend his Olympic skiathlon title after testing positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, according to Norwegian media.

Krüger is reportedly symptom-free and isolating in Italy. He might not be cleared to travel to China in time to race the skiathlon, which is the first Olympic men’s cross-country skiing event on Feb. 6.

In 2018, Krüger memorably fell and broke a ski pole one minute into that 30km race. He passed some 60 skiers to take gold as part of a Norwegian medals sweep.

Krüger later won another individual silver and relay gold. Last season, he won two silvers and one bronze in three individual events at the world championships.

On Wednesday, Norway announced that two of its female cross-country skiers, including star Heidi Weng, tested positive and were isolating in Italy.

Team doctor Øystein Andersen said Italian rules meant that the women would be in isolation for 10 days, until Feb. 3.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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