Feature | Cross Country Skiing

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.

Who is Johannes Høsflot Klæbo?

The 22-year-old Norwegian cross-country phenomenon competed in four events at PyeongChang 2018, leaving Korea with three golds: sprint, team sprint and relay.

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

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

Men's Individual Sprint - Cross Country Skiing | PyeongChang 2018 Highlights

The Men's Individual Sprint event took place on the 13th February 2018

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

Høsflot has 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 75-year-old inspires him every day.

“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 is now working closely with the coach of Norway’s sprint team, Arild Monsen.

The sprightly septuagenarian recently said that people should expect to see an even stronger Klæbo this winter, even though that is hard to believe after a winter where he clinched not just three Olympic golds but also captured his first World Cup crystal globe.

The season started last weekend in Ruka, Finland, where Klæbo looked set to win once again.

But he seemed to relax prematurely on the final straight, and Alexander Bolshunov took advantage to win by just one-tenth of a second.

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.