Kateřina Smutná, a long-distance cross-country skier, ended her career at the age of 37. The winner of the famous Vas run and two-time champion of the Jizera Fifty said goodbye to Saturday’s 100-kilometer race in Sweden.
She did not tell anyone about her decision to quit. It wasn’t until after the race in Aare that she wrote on social networks, among other things: “My last Visma Ski Classics race and just a hundred kilometers. In an interview with ČTK today, she confirmed the end of her career. “It really was my last race.”
She did not want to announce her departure in advance. She did not plan to take the season as a farewell. “Actually, not at all,” she said. Even Lukáš Bauer, for whose eDSystem team she raced for the last four seasons, did not even know it. It will not be allowed to persuade her to reconsider her decision. “It doesn’t make sense. I made that decision, and it will be,” she said clearly.
The reason for leaving is a long-planned end of career and not a pregnancy. “It’s still planned. If I was pregnant, I would definitely not go a hundred,” she said.
She wanted to finish after last season. However, she reconsidered her intention due to a coronavirus pandemic. “As it was a strange situation with the covid and so on, there was nothing else I could do if I could simplify it. So I trained,” she said. She planned to complete three more races last winter, most recently Vas’s run. But once again, she postponed her departure because of the covid. “The situation was not the best in the Czech Republic, so we stayed in Sweden a month longer and finished until the end. In the end, I’m glad the last race was really successful,” she said.
Before the start of Saturday’s Aarefjällsloppet, she walked among her warming up rivals and moved for the first time. “I thought this was the last time I experienced it,” she said. She was also on the track, but at the same time she felt very well. But she drove more carefully to get to the finish line. “I didn’t want to commute in convulsions or give up, I was scared because I wouldn’t want me to finish the last race of my career.” She had raced for the last five kilometers. Symbolically alongside the Swedish Britta Johansson Norgren, with whom she fought many battles. “I enjoyed it, even though it’s a stupid word, but this time it fits,” said Smutná.
At first she competed in the World Cup and after a split in the Czech Republic she competed for 13 years for the Austrian national team, with which she was also at the Olympics in Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014. She reappeared in Czech colors since 2016, as a long-distance runner.
She won the sprints in the World Cup. Twice she finished just below the podium, at the Olympics and the World Championships she was the best eleventh. She started to gain success in ski marathons. Maybe because she felt better in the long-distance environment. “There’s more stress in the world. I wasn’t stressed, but in the marathons it worked better for me, the people and the surroundings.”
She reached the top on Vas’s run. She won the most famous 90 km long-distance race in 2016. “It was something amazing,” she recalled. He also highly values the prizes at the Jizera Fifty from 2015 and 2017. “The atmosphere there is beautiful.”
He is at home in his native Jablonec nad Nisou and the Tyrolean St. Ulrich am Pillersee. In both places, it may be implemented in a new field. “I’m very interested in massaging, massaging. I would like to improve and learn in that,” he plans. Of course, she would also like to stay with her skis. “For example, to do some camping for young people and pass on to them experiences that I don’t think I have enough for in twenty-five years,” said Smutná.