The sporting world has reacted with shock and sadness over the tragic death of Olympic gold medallist Vibeke Skofterud.
The Norwegian cross-country skier died in a jet-ski accident at 38, Norwegian authorities said on Monday.
Skofterud was reported missing on Saturday and her body found on Sunday morning on a small island near the town of Arendal.
“All the indications are that it was a jet-ski accident,” Sveinung Alsaker of the local police said in a press release.
Skofterud won gold in the 4 x 5km relay at the Vancouver Winter Games in 2010.
She was also part of the team that won the same event at the 2005 and 2011 World Championships.
She finished on the podium 15 times at World Cup events before her retirement in 2015.
“I have lost one of my best friends,” said Therese Johaug, a teammate in the 2010 and 2011 medal-winning teams, via the Norwegian Ski Federation.
“A friend who illuminated the room when she came in, spreading her energy, love and attention all around her.”
Marit Bjorgen, who has 15 Olympic medals, more than any Winter Games athlete, and won gold with Skofterud in 2010, said: “I’m shaking, I’m shocked, I’m stupefied.”
Absolutely gutted by the news a Vibeke Skofterud has died. A joyous individual who we watched dance and sing her way through PyeongChang Games… life sucks some times. Rest in peace https://t.co/IwYHI7pt9J
— Fiona McLachlan (@fi_mclachlan) July 29, 2018
FIS sends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of 38-year-old Olympic Champion from Vancouver Vibeke Skofterud, who tragically died during the past weekend.https://t.co/izv4q4f2hR pic.twitter.com/CEPiUWmSnQ
— Cross Country (@FISCrossCountry) July 30, 2018
In shock after this amazing woman passed away today, only 38 years old.. You were a pride for Norway and we were lucky to have you on our team. Rest In Peace, Vibeke Skofterud❤️ pic.twitter.com/99YOatJo2C
— Hanna+h (@Hannah_Musum) July 29, 2018
We are mourning trailblazing Norwegian cross country skiing World Champion and Olympic gold medalist #VibekeSkofterud who died in a jet ski accident in Norway. She will be deeply missed. Rest in Peace. pic.twitter.com/J16QzHrC3N
— Olympians Rising (@OlympiansRising) July 29, 2018
I’m lost for words. R.I.P. Vibeke Skofterud pic.twitter.com/z1dMjs8VXP
— XC-skiing info (@MasashiKohmura) July 29, 2018
The entire cross-country ski community in Canada extends its heartfelt condolences to the Norwegian ski community, family & friends of Vibeke Skofterud who sadly left us way too soon. Vibeke inspired all Canadians with her golden performance in Vancouver 2010. #foreverinourhearts
— Cross Country Canada (@cccski) July 30, 2018
Sad to hear the news of an amazing norwegian skier!Gone way too soon!Just reminds us of why we have to make the most of each day❤️ #greatrolemodel #neverforgotten #vibekeskofterud pic.twitter.com/ToLyZWpVbe
— Monica Torland (@StrengthRehab) July 30, 2018
Sad to just hear of the death of cross-country skier #VibekeSkofterud. Born 20th April 1980 in #Askim, #Norway, she won gold at the 2010 Winter @Olympics in #Vancouver, #BritishColumbia. She died today in a suspected jet-ski accident near #Arendal, Norway https://t.co/BiuAm6cdsy pic.twitter.com/rFRl2ulyL2
— Alex Robins (@OnThisGayDay) July 29, 2018
It’s the second tragedy to rock the Olympic community in the last week, after British rising star Ellie Soutter was found dead on her 18th birthday.
The snowboarder won Great Britain’s only medal during the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in 2017, when she took bronze in the women’s snowboard cross.