Yanqing—Norwegian speedster Aleksander Aamodt Kilde has caught the spotlight this season not just for his on-piste form, but also as half of skiing’s glamour couple alongside American girlfriend Mikaela Shiffrin.
But Kilde admitted after the men’s first downhill training run on Thursday that living in the same Yanqing Olympic Village as Shiffrin with strict Covid-19 protocols in place was a “tease”.
“Everybody says ‘Yeah, now you can spend so much time together and it’s nice to have her’, but it’s more challenging because with Covid restrictions we have to be really careful,” the 29-year-old Norwegian said.
“It’s kind of a tease: you see her, but you can’t really touch her or be with her that much.”
Aamodt acknowledged however that there were some upsides.
“It’s really nice to have her here and of course we can eat dinner together, that’s no problem. We really enjoy that, but other than that it’s not really special.”
Coronavirus restrictions, which mean people in the Beijing Olympic bubble are constantly masked and undergo daily oral swabs, mean limited face-to-face time.
That is especially true for two skiers who are serious medal contenders in several events in the Games, which formally begin on Friday.
Kilde will be eyeing podium places in the super-G and downhill, while Shiffrin is chasing a third gold at consecutive Olympics and remains a genuine medal threat in any discipline she enters given her all-round strengths.
“We’re keeping the same routine as always, face-timing, talking on the phone,” Kilde explained.
“We try to be careful because if we get Covid, then the consequences are too big.”
Phone chit-chat, Kilde said, tended to be nothing special. The couple discuss “how things are feeling, experiences, decision-making, general things about skiing but not really too technical.
“She sends me videos every day and I send her videos and then we try to learn from each other a little. I still have a lot to learn from her.”
Turning to his race expectations, Kilde said he felt confident after starring in the super-G and downhill on the World Cup circuit this season.
“As I look at it right now, it’s a possibility to do well but I know also the fact that anything can happen and the Olympics are also very special,” he said.
“I definitely feel some pressure but it’s nothing different from other races because there’s been a lot of pressure throughout the year with good results already.”