The ”Kollen roar” is world famous

Why is Holmenkollen the third best known sporting arena in the world? Only Wembley and Wimbledon are ranked ahead of us, while Madison Square Garden and all the other sporting arenas have fallen behind. It is hardly the ski jumping hill with its 18 reconstructions and continuous dispensations from the regulations which has created this success. No, it’s the spectators, culture and expertise which lie at the root of this reputation.

After putting World Cup winner Lukas Bauer in his place in 2008, Swedish skiier Anders Sødergren said that “skiing 50 kilometres through the Nordmarka forest, surrounded by constant cheering, is one of my biggest moments ever – simply a dream”.
Having won two Olympic gold medals, followed by a victory in Holmenkollen in 2002, Swiss ski jumper Simon Amman said that “we jump on better hills, but nothing compares to Holmenkollen. For atmosphere and expertise it is in a league of its own”. They have basically all said it, with only a few minor complaints about the hill profile and old facilities mixed in with all the praise.

The stars were impressed
Juha Mieto was possibly the one who had the most and the best to say about the old arena. Even if we didn’t understand it all in Finnish. But Russian Alexander Zavjalov, American Bill Koch, Polish Adam Malysz, Austrian Toni Innauer, French Raphael Poiree, German Rene Sommerfeldt and all the others have more or less said the same thing. Austria’s Gregor Schlierenzauer put it this way: “To me, it was a very special honour to be the last winner in this ski jumping hill, with all its history, before it came down.”
Still, both Gregor and all the others had a reason for their expectations. No one would ever believe that Kaziyashi Funaki, Vladimir Smirnov, Elena Vaelbe or Ronny Ackermann haven’t heard about Svein Sollied who won the Nordic combined in 1892, Lauritz Bergendahl’s 10 victories in five years, Asbjørn Ruud’s showstopping performance at the Liberation race in front of 100 000 spectators in 1946 or Sverre Stensheim’s three 50 kilometre races in the 60’s.
The Mekka of ski sports
They have spoken to each other, heard stories and learnt that Holmenkollen is the Mekka of ski sports. These things stay with you. A number of great ski stories are hidden in the walls of Skistua, where the medal ceremonies were held for many years, and where all the athletes have stayed over the years. They talk about skiing 24/7, no matter where they are in the world. In this way, the history of Holmenkollen has extended far beyond the ski jumping arena. Television and other media have further communicated the achievements and stories, thus helping to spread Holmenkollen’s reputation to the farthest corners of the world. This is part of the reason why we should take extra good care of our culture and the spectators in Holmenkollen’s new phase – as a new ski jump.