PLANICA (VG) Sjur Ole Svarstad (41) thinks it was tough when he had to give up coaching the women’s national cross-country team after the Olympics in 2018. Now he’s back.
Sjur Ole Svarstad smiled broadly as squirts of champagne were directed at him, the cross-country women and the rest of the support apparatus after the relay gold in Planica on Thursday.
The new national team coach is also in World Cup shape.
– I’m good at listening. Good at taking care of people, see people. Top athletes in their 20s need to feel safe. The first sport is a weak period in life, Svarstad says to VG, it goes up and down, then you have to take care of the person.
After the Olympics in Beijing last year, Svarstad and Stig Ron Kevin took over the national team after Ole Morten Iversen and Ola Vijn Hatstad. For two years, Svarstad was the coach of the national team with Roar Hjelmeset. In that period, Norway, with Marit Bjørgen in the driver’s seat, had a raft of World Cup golds in Lahti and Olympic golds in Pyeongchang, but had to give up already at the age of 36.
– There were personal reasons. It was a breakup that did it. I wanted more time at home with two young children, Svarstad tells VG.
He does not like to talk about his private life. In general, he does not like to talk about himself.
– Nobody knows who I am. Svarstad says and laughs.
– Isn’t it a little naive for you to take the position of coach of the national team in cross-country skiing and at the same time be ashamed of the media?
– Yes, you can say that. But I caught my eye this winter, so things are going well, Svarstad replies and laughs. once again.
After he had to thank himself as a coach for the national team, he got a job in the sports department at Stryn High School.
It was a long ride through the press area for both the athletes and the coaches on Thursday. Almost two hours after Norway claimed the gold medal, the coaches saw the end of the line of waiting journalists.
Svarstad’s coaching career began as a coach on a rink team, before working in a skating gymnasium, then becoming a coach on the national recruit team.
When he had to quit his job in 2018, he hoped he would return.
– I felt so young and promising, I hoped that at some point there would be a chance to return. Svarstad says that opportunity came a little sooner than I imagined.
Now managing a game of solitaire with the kids and a job coaching the national team, he’s looking to move forward with the restroom business in Trondheim in a couple of years.
Earlier in the WC, Norway took silver in the team sprint and Astrid Auer Slend, brought in as a wildcard from long-distance running, took bronze in the 15 km combined start with ski change.
The women’s gold relay honor Svarstad and Kvin. Engfeld Flugstad Ostberg He was a shop manager on the team when Svarstad resigned five years ago.
– I remember being very anxious to keep it going. I told him I wish he would continue, but he was on set at the time, and after that there was no question. He was a disgrace to the team, Østberg tells VG.
The 32-year-old from Gjøvik has been out of the national team this season, but has already felt the energy of the new national team coaching duo.
They have a good mix of twinkle in their eyes, are good professionally and are good at supporting us, says Flogstad.
Anne Kjersti Kalvå was given the task of anchor, and was sent out to what was meant to be a glamor stage since Østberg fled the rest of the field, leaving Sweden’s Frida Carlsson and Germany behind.
– They contributed everything, positive energy and knowledge. They have earned their trust. He made an effort to get to know us and support each one of us. They were very crucial to me and that I am standing here today, Calva says of Svarstad and Kevin.
Stig Rune Kveen is a former runner for the national team and received a lot of attention as coach of Peter Northug when he chose to stand out for the national team. Kveen believes that what sets Makker Svarstad apart is commitment.
– When we entered this job, we said that we would be ourselves. It’s about playfulness and extroversion, Svarstad says.
– And we’ll develop runners, Kevin adds.
For the ladies, there’s only one distance left in the restroom: three miles on Saturday.
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