Crüsell is one of Sweden's biggest talents in cross-country skiing, and when she was selected for the Swedish national team for the JVM, hopes were high that she would bring home at least one medal for Sweden and Skellefteå.
At the premiere of the JVM on Monday, things looked promising for Crüsell as she skied very fast in the quarterfinals of the sprint, but came to a halt in the semifinals after a pole break that cost her too many seconds to qualify for the final. The disappointment of missing the final was followed by a fourth-place finish in the 20km freestyle on Wednesday.
After bad luck in her first two races, Crüsell still had two chances to bring a medal back to Skellefteå - and the medals came. With a superb performance in the ten-kilometer classic on Friday, she won by 8.5 seconds over the silver medallist after a race she called "the best of her career."
After Friday's gold medal, there was one race left in the JVM, and Crüsell was selected for the fourth and final leg of the mixed relay. There she took the opportunity to make history with a performance that left SVT's experts in awe.
As Evelina began the fourth leg, Norway had a 21-second lead over Sweden in second place - when Evelina crossed the finish line five kilometers later, it was with a 14-second lead over Norway.
Norran caught up with the two-time world champion shortly after her second gold medal: she could hardly believe what she had just accomplished.
– I don't think I've even had time to take in the gold from Friday's ten-kilometer classic, but now we're going to celebrate these gold medals properly, she said, her voice bubbling with joy:
– I never thought about this at the beginning of the season.
What are the emotions you feel after winning gold in the relay?
– It's great to win this gold with the team; we all gave our best, and it was incredible to win with this team.
You highlight the team, but everyone in the team singles you out as the big hero; how does it feel to hear that?
– It's great to hear; I felt very strong throughout the race, but I couldn't have done it without the other guys in the team, they made it possible.
What did you think when you embarked on your leg, and there were 21 seconds to claw back from Norway?
– I didn't know how many seconds I was behind, but I could see with my own eyes how far ahead she was. I lost a few seconds before the first split time, but I didn't know that. Then, in the last lap, I saw and heard that I was getting closer to her, and then I seemed to get even more power. That's when I thought, "Now it's just a matter of going all the way."
How did you feel when you crossed the finish line and saw your team coming towards you?
– I was just very happy; there were a lot of nerves before, and it's great to win as a team.
After showing good form throughout the season, it is clear that Skellefteå's future ski star is currently in the form of her life. After struggling with injuries and illness over the past few years, Crüsell was finally able to show the prodigious level of talent that makes her one of Sweden's most exciting cross-country talents.
– I came here feeling good and I have trained incredibly well. That's what it takes to be successful, and even then it's not easy to be selected for the Swedish team.