Ski-jumping teams enter into historic partnership

Cooperation across borders

The U.S. and Norwegian ski jumping teams posed for a photo at Holmenkollen in Oslo with the announcement of a historic agreement.

LARS EIDE & STIAN GRYTHAUGEN
NTB

In the coming years, the ski-jumping teams in Norway and the Untied States will collaborate closely on training, research, and sponsorship work. The agreement has an initial duration of four years.

The historic collaboration was announced at a press conference with both ski- jumping teams at Holmenkollen in Oslo on Aug. 24. The jumping race director in the International Ski Federation (Fédération internationale de ski or FIS), Sandro Pertile, also participated.

The parties referred to the partnership as “an agreement without parallel.” Reportedly, the idea is that resources on the coach and athlete side, as well as research and development, will be linked together.

Norwegian Tore Sneli becomes the American national team manager. His new students will mainly be based in Norway throughout the winter.

The sponsorship work will also be worked on jointly from the Norwegian and American sides. The plan is “to establish and secure global sponsors who can support both teams,” they said in a joint statement.

Rex Bell

Rex Bell from the American Ski Federation was on hand to celebrate.

Approved by FIS

Furthermore, it is stated that the employees of both organizations must work side by side during training sessions to develop the athletes from the United States and Norway.

In addition, the collaboration has been approved by the International Ski Federation.

“This has been very exciting,” said Norwegian jumper Halvor Egner Granerud, who won the World Cup title in 2021, to NTB.

“We probably didn’t know that it was nailed down, but we have trained with the Americans and had meetings with them all summer. It has been rewarding and very enjoyable. I feel that this is good for both parties. For the sport of jumping, as a product, this is also an opportunity to share our expertise, so that it can benefit ski jumping as a whole in the long term. I have great faith in this.”

Norway national team manager Clas Brede Bråthen will act as the leader of the joint training group.

“When it comes to the top sports part of our investment, our goal is to consolidate Norway’s position as the world’s most important ski-jumping nation,” said Bråthen in a statement. “By uniting the good forces of the ski jumping communities in the USA and Norway, we sincerely want to raise the sport of ski jumping internationally to the highest possible level.”

Norway’s Clas Brede Bråthen will act as the leader of the joint training group.

Getting praise

In response to a question from NTB, Bråthen says that in the short term, Norway does not benefit from the cooperation, neither in regard to sports nor finances.

“From a sporting point of view, we have a coach, Tore Sneli, who gets international experience at the highest level that we might not have been able to give him in the first place,” said Bråthen. “It is a value we can reap from later. But, on the whole, we don’t get any sporting or financial benefits to talk about in the short-term perspective.”

He further stated that the American association covers all the costs of its athletes.

“They absolutely cover all the costs they incur in relation to our business,” said Bråthen and added that coach Sneli is employed by the Norwegian Skiing Association but will be paid indirectly by the Americans.

From the American side, people are also very optimistic about the upsides of Norwegian cooperation.

“Our organization enters into a collaboration to further develop the athletes, the coaches’ education, the national team training, sports science, and the work with sponsors because it is the best way to transform the sport of jumping,” said Tom Bickner, chair of the American Ski Federation.

Race director Pertile has great faith in the partnership.“Both organizations show a dedication by setting a new standard, creating a new process and a new approach to the sport that can be shared with ski jumping nations all over the world,” he said in a statement.

Norwegian head coach Alexander Stöckl was present with his team for the gathering at Holmenkollen.

Ski-jumping history

Of course, Norway’s ski-jumping history is much richer than America’s. Norway won 14 of the first 18 Winter Olympic ski-jumping medals in 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1948, and 1952. Overall, Norway has won 36 ski-jumping medals in the Winter Olympics, 12 of them gold. Marius Lindvik won gold on the large hill at the Beijing Games in February 2022. The trove is even more impressive considering Norway didn’t medal in 1956, 1960, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1992, 1998, and 2002. They have six medals in the last two Olympic Games.

The United States has earned just one Winter Olympic medal, in the first games in 1924. It comes with two caveats. Anders Haugen did not receive his medal at the games. Fifty years later, a scoring error was corrected, giving him the bronze. Haugen was alive to enjoy it. However, Haugen was born in Bø, Telemark.

Photos: Javad Parsa / NTB

Translated and edited by Michael Kleiner.

Some information from espn.com and The Norwegian American.

This article originally appeared in the October 7, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Michael Kleiner

Michael Kleiner, business and sports editor, has more than three decades of experience as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. He has operated his own PR and web design business for small businesses, authors and community organizations in Philadelphia since 1999. Not of Norwegian descent, he lived in Norway for a year with his family at age 11 and has returned as an adult. He is the author of a memoir, Beyond the Cold: An American’s Warm Portrait of Norway, and a member of NorCham Philadelphia. Visit Kleinerprweb.com; beyondthecold.com.