Ski Team

The Nordic combined team is looking forward to the World Ski Championships

After a successful World Cup at Holmenkollen on the 8th and 9th of March, with three Norwegians in the top six places, it is now two years until the athletes can compete in ski jumping and cross-country skiing in Oslo. Both Nordic combined athlete Espen Rian and sport chief Bård Jørgen Elden are looking forward to a Nordic World Ski Championships on home ground.

“The World Championships in 2011 is definitely a motivational factor for all of us who are competing at the top level, but also for everybody who is involved in cross-country and Nordic combined in Norway. A World Championships on home ground will be a big event both for us who are active in the World Cup, but also as far as recruitment is concerned and for all the others who are involved in the sport. I really hope that the World Championships can contribute to the building of a multi-purpose sports venue which is needed for cross-country, ski jumping and Nordic combined. If we can achieve this, we will have a great activity level in Oslo”, says the sport chief for the Nordic combined national team, Bård Jørgen Elden. 

The Nordic combined athlete, Espen Rian, who achieved a great 5th place in this year’s World Cup - his best World Cup result ever - agrees that the chance to experience a World Championships in Oslo is a very big goal. He is looking forward to having a new and more modern ski jumping facility with a larger ski jump, and the motivation for continuing competing in the Nordic combined is at its greatest level. 

“I have been skiing ever since I could walk, and I love ski jumping and big challenges. Nordic combined is about doing well in two totally different disciplines, which is very demanding, but getting it right it is very inspiring”, says Rian. 
He is certain that Norway will do well in the Nordic combined disciplines in 2011. 
“We already have some interesting juniors, and in three years time they might just be breathing down the necks of those of us who are in the World Cup now!” 

Complete confidence in the organisers
One of the main goals for Ski-VM 2011 AS is to organise the event for the participants in the best possible way. Both Rian and Elden have great expectations, but are confident that the interests of the Nordic combined athletes will be looked after. 
“I do not doubt that the Nordic World Ski Championships will be a great event, with experienced organisers who have been doing this for many years. The commitment here at Holmenkollen is amazing”, says Espen Rian. 

“Holmenkollen might be the oldest organisers of ski races, and they are professional on so many levels. Now that we are getting an upgrade of the facilities, I believe it will be a fantastic World Championships. What we ask for is that the logistics are good and that the event is arranged in such a manner that the spectators have an opportunity to see almost all of the competition, both jumping and skiing”, says Bård Jørgen Elden. At the same time, he also underlines the importance of the athletes, trainers and leaders in the skiing community doing their bit in order to make a great event. 

Narrow breadth – great activity level
“Nordic combined is a small sport compared to the number of athletes, and this is the way it has always been. It will probably never become a so-called “mass sport” to put it that way, but we are working hard to bring through new athletes from a young age. What is important to the whole Norwegian Ski Federation is that there is a great activity level when it comes to skiing, and Nordic combined is part of that. We want to help maintain the breadth of ski sports, whether they are cross-country skiers, Nordic combined athletes or ski jumpers does not really matter – what we want is a great activity level when it comes to skiing”, says Elden.

Note: Following this interview, Bård Jørgen Elden resigned as sport chief for the Nordic combined team, as of the end of this season. The decision was made on the 2nd of April. Elden’s contract with the Norwegian Ski Federation runs out in May 2008.