After several years of ordeal, Marit Björgen took action. – Everything was better, says former cross-country manager Iggy Skeinstadt.
After the disappointing World Cup in Liberec in 2009 that ended without a medal for Bjørgen, she felt compelled to make changes and one step was to start talking to sports psychologist Brett Tajit Foxel.
In May of the same year, she was ready for the first meeting. Before that, Bjørgen was intimidated because she thought mental training was not for her. However, a former national team physiotherapist, Odd Snerthammer, convinced her to give it a try.
Minutes after his first encounter with Tajet-Foxell, the ice shattered.
– Marit cried and cried
In Björgen’s biography, “The Heart of Wiener: The Marit Björgen Story,” author Ingrid Stenfold describes what happened inside an office in the doctor’s corridor at Olympiatoppen.
“The moment Marit entered the room, Brett realized that something was seriously wrong. She saw it in her eyes, there was heaviness, sadness. Even when she smiled—and Marit did so easily and often, according to Brett—the smile did not reach her eyes. You find no meaning. No joy,” Stenfold writes.
Marit cried and cried. Britt was extremely hot, at the same time hitting the most painful points. She didn’t have to explain that she was tired, Brett just looked at her and said. It was incredibly good. Marit had never felt such a vision, and he understood it. Egil (Kristiansen, former women’s national team coach), Jed Egil, whom I’ve worked with well now, had many good qualities, but talking about difficulty wasn’t his strongest team. She was fine. Now I’ve found Brett,” she wrote as well.
Tagit Voxel realized that Björgen was depressed, but did not want to use that word towards her. Instead, they agreed on that diagnosis a few years later, when Björgen should have been ready to hear it.
As part of the process, the two asked themselves about Marit. Then they came up with two answers: strong and gentle.
I Good heart They emphasized that Björgen had to prioritize himself and his own needs, rather than showing up and doing things based on what others wanted. in a strong It was about using her physical strength properly.
Skönstadt: – Everything was better
After meeting Tajet-Foxell, it won’t be long before Bjørgen is back on the winning track. Already in the next season, the Rognes girl immediately showed strong results.
At the season opener in Betustollen in November, she won the distance race by a clear margin, before winning the 10km race in the opening World Cup the following weekend.
At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Björgen won four medals, including her first Olympic gold, as well as one relay gold.
Åge Skinstad was the Norwegian cross country manager at the time. He remembers well that Björgen made changes after the disappointing World Cup in 2009.
– As I remember, the point was that Marit performed poorly during the World Cup in Liberec. And it’s always the case that when you evaluate, you have to find different things that can be corrected. This is the case if you don’t make changes, i.e. keep doing the same thing as you did before, you will usually get the exact same result. When you’re not satisfied with the results and performance is clearly low, it’s important to find new things to focus on and do things in other ways, Skjenstad tells Nettavisen.
The biography also shows that Bjørgen has taken measures to improve his technique, especially in skating. She has always been strong and has also developed stamina, but in terms of technique, I thought there was a lot to go on.
Skjenstad notes that changes in training procedures have also contributed to Björgen being in good shape since the 2010/11 season.
It was all that made it better and I think it’s always important to see the whole. That is, man as a whole and not least training, along with mental training and this part. Because there’s never anything so decisive about being a great runner like Marit from 2010 to 2018, he says.
– That Brett had a positive meaning, no doubt at all. But there are always many things that always come into play for a good result. The sum of all the good things done produces good results, says Skjenstad.
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