As soon as the name Northug appears on the start list of a cross-country competition, all fans sit up. It was not however the famous Petter that came to the Nordic Junior & U23 World Ski Championships 2013 in Liberec, but his younger brother Tomas Northug, who is following in his brother’s footsteps.
For the twenty-two-year old Norwegian, his first and last competition in Liberec was the classic sprint on Tuesday. “The sprint was my only discipline at these championships. Tomorrow I’m flying home where I am going to do some training. I would like to try for a nomination to the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championship in Val di Fiemme”, says the younger Northug.
He was a favourite for a medal in Liberec but his attempt to win ended in the semi-finals. “Last week, I was training hard and that probably left its mark on my form which was not the best. I was quite passive in the semi-final and that backfired. Unfortunately, I did not advance any further”, says the twice junior World champion from Hinterzarten 2010.
"Petter sent me an SMS straight after the finish in which he told me off a bit” laughs Tomas while looking at his mobile with the message from his older brother. “We talked before the race. He gave me important tips and tried to encourage me”, Tomas goes a few hours back in his messages.
And what kind of relationship does the young Norwegian have with his famous older brother of 5 years, who is also a big role model for the younger Tomas? “Excellent” says he straight away. “People often ask me about Petter and whether we get on well, or what it is like to live in his shadow. I can honestly say I feel no pressure.“
The brothers are very good friends. “Each time we see each other we talk about all sorts of things. He might not always give that impression, but he likes a joke and is great fun to be with”, reveals Tomas about his brother. “The problem is that from September to April, we hardly see each other because Petter is really busy and apart from a few races we both take part in, so we keep in touch via the phone”, he adds. “In summer, we do train together though. Often, we discuss competitions and I try to learn as much as possible from him. I would like to be like him one day”, states Tomas.