Johannes Klæbo, the Usain Bolt of cross-country skiing

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo won sprint, team sprint and relay gold at PyeongChang with help from his coaching grandfather and musician brother.
By Olympic Channel

Who is Johannes Høsflot Klæbo?

The 24-year-old Norwegian cross-country skiing phenomenon competed in four events at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, winning three golds in the sprint, team sprint, and relay events.

During the 2019-20 season, Klaebo became the most successful male sprinter in World Cup history by winning his fourth overall sprint title, while he won his 24th individual sprint race to overtake Emil Jonsson's all-time World Cup records.

To round-off an unbelievable period, the prodigy also took home three gold medals from the 2019 World Championships in Seefeld, Austria.

Like Usain Bolt, he asserts his superiority by making his rivals look as if they are standing still.

And like the Jamaican, Klaebo is happy to show off his personality beyond the sporting arena.

After his individual sprint gold, Klæbo jumped into the crowd to hug his grandfather Kåre Høsflot.

Høsflot trained his grandson to become the world’s best cross-country skier, but he hasn't slacked on his own exercise.

In an interview with VG, Klæbo revealed how the 77-year-old inspired him every day in the journey to Olympic success.

“He is always there 15 minutes early. So he will stand by the doorstep at a quarter to six in the morning, sometimes more motivated than me.”

—Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, speaking about grandfather Kåre Høsflot to VG

Their unique relationship moved author Knut Georg Andresen to write a book about it entitled 'Johannes and Grandpa'.

Høsflot has coached his grandson for many years and also mentored the coach of Norway’s sprint team, Arild Monsen.

But the 2020/21 season looks set to be one marked by the absence of Hosflot, who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

Klaebo has spoken of his sadness that the longtime coach won't be able to attend events, but the septuagenarian recently said that people should expect to see an even stronger Klæbo in the future.

Fired up by his brother

CNN once called Klæbo “Norway’s Justin Bieber”.

Maybe it's because of his massive popularity thanks to his ski prowess, but it could also be linked to his backstory, which is not that of a typical cross-country skier.

He even runs a vlog, in which you get to see every aspect of his daily life as a ski star, which is filmed and edited by his younger brother Ola.

His brother has more talents than just filming and editing videos though. The teenager produces music under the artist name OKEY, and his songs, which regularly feature in the vlogs, can be found online.

And he has performed in front of 20,000 people at the Bislett Stadion in Oslo, the venue for the opening ceremony of the 1952 Winter Olympic Games.

Johannes also listens to his sibling's music before putting on his skis at competitions.

He was seen wearing big headphones in the start area in PyeongChang and was asked by Eurosport after a gold medal-winning performance what he was listening to.

“I have nothing but my brother’s music on the playlist,” Klæbo answered.

The reporter followed up with another question.

“So that was the recipe for gold?”

“For me, yes,” Klæbo replied.