The 7-time World Champion from Denmark, Maja Alm, has announced that she will be back in orienteering in 2021.
– My goal will be the long distance and the relay at the World Orienteering Championships in the Czech Republic this summer, Maja says.
In her career at the World Orienteering Championships Maja Alm has won a total of 16 medals, 7 of them gold and she is still the reigning World Champion at the Sprint distance, after winning 4 consecutive gold medals between 2015 and 2018 in the Sprint. After her fifth successful WOC in a row, Maja in 2018 announced that she would then commit herself to improve her 5000 meter performance in order to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in athletics. As for many other athletes, the Corona pandemic was also a tough stroke for Maja.
– Everything was planned for the 2020 Olympics and when it was cancelled, I was challenged in finding the motivation to continue to pursue the olympic dream. Regardless if I would have aimed for 5000 meters or the marathon, I would have needed a number of competitions to gain enough experience to be able to perform at a sufficiently high level. I am not totally ruling a future olympic commitment out, but it will not be in 2021.
Maja continues – I am still committed to orienteering and I am not done with performing at the highest international level. But I also realised that it would not be sufficient motivation to go for another Sprint medal, since I have won four golds in a row. I have two silver medals in the long distance and several relay medals. But I have never been 100% committed to preparing for the forest distances since Sprint and Sprint Relay were always the main focus. It will be a true motivation for me to go for a distance, where I will not be the gold favorite.”
A key contributor to Majas decision is the increased likelihood, that WOC in the Czech Republic will actually be organised. – I think every top athlete knows how tough it is to plan for something, that is then cancelled. I am no exception, Maja explains, – But the information about the commitment to actually organize the event, has been an important factor in my choice, says Maja, after the work of the IOF and the Czech Organizers are doing to go through with the World Championships.
Maja currently works as a dentist. She and her boyfriend recently bought a house in Aarhus. This means her preparations for WOC will be different than before. – We are extremely happy to have Maja back in the team, national Team Coach Tue Lassen explains. – Maja is a true inspiration for our young Danish team at the same time as she will have a more free role in how she will prepare for WOC. We have made a plan, that we believe will balance out Majas ambitions with her new private life.
The IOF can only echo the Danish teams enthusiasm, welcome back to the forest Maja. And good luck with your preparations for WOC 2021.