Norway’s Nina Haver-Loeseth took to Instagram on Thursday, March 19th to announce she has chosen to retire after the 2019/20 season.
In December of 2018, Loeseth crashed in the Semmering slalom, just gates before the finish, incurring a tibial fracture and meniscus tear in her right knee. Her injury caused her to miss the remainder of the season, but she kept on fighting to come back strong in 2019/20, and that she did.
The 31-year-old wrapped the year with six more top 10 finishes in the slalom, her best being a fourth place in Kranjska Gora prior to the early end of the season. In Loeseth’s career, she has had five Olympic starts, nine World Championship starts and 166 World Cup starts. Of those starts, Loeseth has captured nine World Cup podiums, two of which were victories in the slalom and one Olympic medal – a bronze in the Alpine Team event in PyeongChang.
In her Instagram post, Loeseth expressed that she did not anticipate her career ending this way, given the early conclusion to the season and current global events such as the coronavirus. These things, she says, made it even clearer that there is more to life than how fast she skied in her next race.
“As an athlete, it’s easy to get lost in the results, and I may not have gotten as many podiums or medals as I dreamt of, but a lot of my childhood dreams still came true,” she wrote. “However, at the end of the day, it’s not the results that make me smile when I think back on my career. It’s the setbacks that made me stronger, the people I’ve met, the lessons I’ve learned, the support I’ve gotten, the great sponsors I’ve worked with and the amazing team we have built. Also, I learned what it means to have grit.”
Loeseth retires ranked sixth in the world in the slalom, and as the leader of a strong, up and coming, Norwegian women’s team, who proved time and time again this season that they have what it takes to fill Loeseth’s shoes. Mina Fuerst Holtmann, Kristin Lysdahl, Thea Louise Stjernsund, and Maria Therese Tviberg all finished the season ranked top 30 in either the slalom, the giant slalom, or both. Another top-dog on the Norwegian women’s team, Ragnhild Mowinckel, sat the 2019/20 season out due to an injury before the 2019 World Finals. Mowinckel is a close friend of Loeseth and took to Instagram to say a few words in honor of her teammate.
“Every kid have role models and idols, and I’ve been so lucky to be able to be on the same team as mine,” wrote Mowinckel. “This is to the one who paved the way, our rock, our teacher – the one to follow and the one to beat. The one who picks us up when we are down, or the one who challenges us to do better next time. The one who shows through action, not words, – to fight for what you believe in and never give up. For 10 years I’ve been lucky enough to call you my teammate, and for 10 years you’ve guided and taught me to do better and be better.”