Life in the Olympic bubble is a bit of a tease, Norwegian alpine skier Aleksander Aamodt Kilde said on Thursday, because COVID-19 restrictions are keeping him apart from his girlfriend, American skier Mikaela Shiffrin.
Kilde, who leads the World Cup standings in downhill and super-G, is favorite for gold in the men's speed events, while twice Olympic gold medalist Shiffrin is a top contender in the women's technical events of slalom and giant slalom.
Kilde and Shiffrin started dating last year while he was making his way back from a devastating knee injury and she was dealing with the death of her father.
Much of their time together has been spent apart, competing on their respective circuits and supporting each other from afar over social media.
Beijing, it turns out, is not that different.
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"Everybody said we could spend so much time together," Kilde said after the first official men's downhill practice at Yanqing Alpine Center.
"It's nice to have her but it's more challenging, because with COVID and the restrictions, you have to be really careful.
"It's a tease, kind of. You see her, but you can't really touch her, you can't really be with her that much, but it's really nice to have her here.
The two have dinner together regularly in the athletes' village but, apart from that, life is almost the same as when they are competing on tour -- usually at different venues.
"We're keeping the same routines as always, I guess... FaceTiming, talking on the phone," Kilde added. "We're trying to stay a little bit careful because if we get COVID the consequences are too big.
"We talk in general how things are feeling, experiences, we talk general things about skiing, not really too much technical, but she sends me videos and we try to learn from each other a little bit and that's cool.
"I have a lot to learn from her, that's for sure."