The reigning Olympic ski jumping champion, Maren Lundby, has withdrawn from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics after stating that natural changes to her body had made it harder for her to be at her best for the Games.
In an emotional interview with Norway's NRK TV, the 27-year-old athlete, who will also miss the winter ski jumping season, said "Ski jumping is a sport with a lot of demands, weight is part of it. My body has changed naturally lately and for this reason I don't want to sacrifice everything to be at the best level in Beijing". She also stated that her priority was to "feel good in terms of health".
Lundby became only the second women's ski jumping champion in Olympic history, when she triumphed in dramatic fashion at PyeongChang 2018. After rivals Katharina Althaus (GER) and TAKANASHI Sara (JPN) both posted huge efforts in the final round, Lundby held her nerve to produce the performance of the competition, leaping 110m to seal the glory.
She also won individual world championships at Seefeld in 2019 and Oberstdorf in 2021, and has 30 World Cup wins to her name.
Lundby has long been a vocal proponent of improving gender parity at the Games, telling Olympics.com in 2020 about how excited she was about the addition of the mixed team event to the Olympic programme.
“It’s great for us and also for the audience,” she said at the time. “People like to see men and women compete together. Of course, it’s important for the women that we have more exposure.
“And we are fighting for the big hill in the future. We always want to develop our sport and we are really happy when it happens. It shows our sport is growing.”
You can relive Lundby's golden moment at PyeongChang 2018 below: