The coach of Norway’s most notorious skier, Petter Northug, is concerned the showboating star may cut his career short as he grows tired of his celebrity status.
Speaking to newspaper Adresseavisen, Vidar Løfshus said Northug, who is often portrayed as a bit of a brat in the national media, is plagued by constant attention wherever he goes.
“I’m afraid he’ll lose his motivation, because he can never just be himself,” Løfshus told Adresseavisen. “He can’t set his foot on the street without someone calling after him, or wanting to have their picture taken with him. It probably was fun with some attention when he was 19, but he doesn’t think it is any more.”
The skier is well known for being sarcastic and arrogant after easy wins but then refusing to speak to reporters when he loses. He most recently landed himself in hot water when he failed to show up to collect his award after winning the Norwegian Cup in Trondheim two weeks ago. Newspapers ran pictures of the second and third place skiers standing awkwardly either side of an empty first-place podium.
“I have had a clarification meeting about that with John Northug [Petter’s father and manager],” Løfshus told news bureau NTB at the time. “It was clearly poor media handling, but it happened and now it’s over.”
He added, however, that he doesn’t think his protégé will hang up his skis until at least after the next Winter Olympics in 2014, “I think he should continue for another five or six years,” Løfshus said. “But it demands a lot of motivation to live this special kind of life.”