“Can count on shut up, weekend after weekend” – VG

NEW MANAGER: Sjur Ole Svarstad takes over from Ole Morten Iversen and Ola Vigen Hattestad.

Sjur Ole Svarstad (40) takes over the responsibility as head coach for the women’s national cross-country team. He is prepared for the expectations to be high even though Therese Johaug has given up.

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For the recent national team coach, who was part of the coaching team on the national team during the heyday between 2016 and 2018, knows well that already this coming winter awaits a World Cup in Planica without Norway’s major medal wholesaler in recent years.

– The statistics will always be there. Norway has had an incredible medal catch in the Olympics and the World Cup for the past 15 years. But as a coach, I and the support staff around must focus on individual development, even if it does not have an effect on the medal statistics, says Svarstad and continues:

– I never think we will be spared the statistics. But we must give them the security and time it takes to develop.

HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR BIG STARS: Sjur Ole Svarstad (front), here with Marit Bjørgen, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen during the Lahti WC in 2017.

“Can count on shut up weekend after weekend”

Adresseavisen’s commentator, Birger Løfaldli, writes Thursday that the job Svarstad has taken on is tougher than being a Rosenborg coach.

He believes that people in Norway expect gold for the winter, although there are several logical explanations for the fact that Norwegian women’s cross-country skiing has fallen behind. And even though Johaug, Maiken Caspersen Falla, Marit Bjørgen and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen have given up in recent years.

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“Svarstad will have to stand there and explain. He can first and foremost count on shut up, weekend after weekend. This will put a strain on both the management and the athletes “, writes Løfaldli.

ADDRESS COMMENT: Birger Løfaldli, pictured here in connection with a report in 2014.

Large profiles finished on the national team

Svarstad believes he is now making a comeback as national team coach at a time he calls exciting.

But things have happened since the good times four years ago.

Performance and results have weakened. Only Therese Johaug delivered top results during the Olympics in Beijing, while Johaug and Heidi Weng were the only two in the top ten in the World Cup combined.

And before this season, several profiles have posted, while Ingvild Flugstad Østberg was rejected from the national team.

– We have a boost we must make, Svarstad says to VG initially, when asked how he should take Norwegian women’s cross-country skiing from what must be described as a wave of development in terms of development and results.

WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM OF THE YEAR: Ragnhild Haga, Julie Myhre, Marte Skaanes, Anna Svendsen, Tiril Udnes Weng, Mathilde Myhrvold, Anne Kjersti Kalvå, Anna Svendsen, Helene Marie Fossesholm, Lotta Udnes Weng and Ane Appelkvist Stenseth.

Aims for 2025

Svarstad acknowledges that the team must work well together to lift individual athletes to a higher level, although he believes several have also developed in recent seasons.

– There will be a World Cup in Planica next winter. But there will be an even more important World Cup at home in Trondheim in 2025 and an Olympics in Italy the following year. Now we must be patient now and give the girls time to develop, says Svarstad.

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– Has good experience

Anne Kjersti Kalvå is very positive about the new appointment. The national team runner explains why:

– He has participated in much of what was good in Norwegian women’s cross-country skiing. He was also very good when he was a recruit coach. He got many up on elite teams. He has worked with both Egil Kristiansen and Roar Hjelmeset throughout. He has also worked with Marit (Bjørgen) and Therese (Johaug). He has good experience, has good energy and is a good guy, she says.

POSITIVE: National team veteran Ragnhild Haga, here during a press conference earlier in May.

Ragnhild Haga calls the employment «a good choice».

– I was very happy when I got the news. I have had him train before and know what he stands for and can do. It is safe to choose someone who has previous experience, one with great courage, good humor and who is passionate about the job, says Haga to VG.

Åge Skinstad hired Svarstad as coach for the recruiting national team when he was sports manager in the ski association and gives the new national team coach a good certificate.

– Now I have not seen the list of applicants, but it must have been extremely strong if he had not been at the top of my priority list, says Skinstad.

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