Tributes to Olympic Gold Medallist Found Dead On Norwegian Island

Olympic cross country skier Vibeke Skofterud killed in jet ski accident
Vibeke Skofterud
Vibeke SkofterudVibeke Skofterud

Former cross-country skier and Olympic gold medallist Vibeke Skofterud has been found dead in her native Norway, according to Police.

Police in the Agder district confirmed on twitter that the body of the 38-year old was found on an island in the South East of the country, and that they were treating the death as a jet ski accident.

Record Breaking Multiple Medallist

The Norwegian was among the best cross-country skiers in the world for several years before retiring in 2015 due to injuries and illness.

Skofterud was part of the team that won 4x5km relay gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and picked up gold in the same event at the world championships in 2005 and 2011.

In 2012, she became the first Norwegian to win the historical Vasaloppet in Sweden since the inclusion of the official women's class in 1997, completing the 90 kilometers more than eight minutes faster than the previous record.

Her record time of four hours, eight minutes and 24 seconds still stands.

Body Found On Norwegian Island

On Saturday, just before 08:00 PM, Skofterud had posted videos on social media network Instagram of her and a friend on a jet ski.

They had been heading to the Canal Street festival in Arendal according to Norwegian newspaper VG.

A Police statement confirmed that Skofterud was reported missing at 01:00 AM on Sunday by her family, five hours after the Instagram posts, and that her body was later found around 11.30 on St. Helena island in Hovekilen with a jet ski nearby.

"All indications are that this was a watercraft accident" - Agder Police Operation Manager Sveinung Alsaker.

Full statement from Agder Police (in Norwegian):

Tributes to Skofterud

As news of the tragedy filtered through Norway, so did the tributes.

Former footballer Jan Aage Fjortoft was one of those to express his sadness on social media, tweeting:

"My good friend, Vibeke Skofterud, the world's most delightful girl, the world's toughest girl, the world's hottest girl, has left us. A girl who will never be forgotten. And that will be deeply missed. Rest in Peace."

Television broadcaster Eurosport also paid tribute. Skofterud worked as an analyst for the network at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

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