Backing Norway´s skiing heroes of tomorrow

A five-year collaboration agreement has been signed by Statoil with the Norwegian Ski Federation on developing talented skiers, with a key place assigned to the Team Heroes of Tomorrow.

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From left: Åge Skinstad, Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Kjetil Undhjem, Anders Jacobsen, Eirik Rykkhus og Bård A. Amundsen. (Photo: Anette Eriksen)

This talent group will comprise young people hand-picked from all six of the federation’s disciplines – cross-country, Alpine, freestyle and Telemark skiing as well as in ski jumping and the Nordic biathlon.

Well-known Norwegian skiers Kjetil André Aamodt and Bente Skari are fronting the programme, while established competitors such as Therese Johaug, Anders Jacobsen and Eldar Rønning will serve as personal mentors.

The deal makes Statoil the new main sponsor for talent development in the ski federation, and will embrace 20 promising skiers aged between 14 and 20. Selected annually, the members will have their own programme with four annual meetings.

“Becoming the best in the world calls for systematic development of talented individuals, and we needed a partner with funds, expertise and experience from similar talent programmes,” says Bård Amundsen, the federation’s secretary-general. “We’re looking very much forward to starting this collaboration with Statoil.”

Mentors

The talent group will be followed up closely by some of Norway’s most prominent competitive skiers, with Aamodt and Skari serving as ambassadors for the programme.

In addition to Johaug, Jacobsen and Rønning, Eirik Rykkhus, Lars Elton Myhre and Nina Løseth are to act as mentors. They will teach group members, guide their development and show them what is required to take the step up to the level of the senior national team.

“The mentors will attend the talent group’s meetings, and be available to its participants for discussions on training and the like,” explains Amundsen.

“We believe that this transfer of expertise between established stars and aspiring talents could help to provide the little extra required to reach the very top.”

Traditions

With long traditions of developing talented people in a number of arenas, Statoil has established talent development schemes in such areas as football and classical music.

Footballer Ole Gunnar Solskjær and pianist Leif Ove Andsnes currently have roles as ambassadors for these programmes.

“We’ve supported heroes of tomorrow in sports, culture and education for almost 20 years, and developing talented people is the core of our sponsorship strategy,” says Kjetil Undhjem, Statoil’s vice president for brand management.

“We’ve long considered resuming our involvement with skiing, and are accordingly very proud today to become the main sponsor for talent development in the Norwegian Ski Federation.”

In addition to close follow-up by mentors and ambassadors, each member of the Team Heroes of Tomorrow will receive an annual scholarship worth NOK 50,000. Half of this sum will go to their respective clubs.

Statoil’s sponsorship also involves a commitment to the main national competitions in all the skiing disciplines, and participation in other events organised by the ski federation.

Source: Statoil

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