Jacobsen and Bardal hang up their skis

Two of Norway’s ski jumping greats wrap up their incredible careers after the 2015 season

Photo: Tor Atle Kleven / Wikimedia Anders Jacobsen after winning the Norwegian ski jumping championship January 19, 2010.

Photo: Tor Atle Kleven / Wikimedia
Anders Jacobsen after winning the Norwegian ski jumping championship January 19, 2010.

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

Anders Jacobsen announced his retirement on April 21 after a successful decade of ski jumping. The 30-year-old athlete first joined the ranks of the Norwegian sports heroes when he became the youngest Norwegian to win the Four Hills Tournament in 2006-07. Jacobsen went on to win a total of 10 World Cup medals and a bronze medal in the Olympics.

This isn’t the first time Jacobsen has decided to retire, though. The ski jumper first hung up his skis in spring 2011, but came back to the sport after one season as an expert commentator for NRK. Nevertheless, Jacobsen seems committed to his decision this time.

“I feel that I am ready now. I am finished as a ski jumper. I have hung up my skis. It is a strange feeling. It’s been a very difficult decision to make,” he said to Norges Skiforbund.

Jacobsen admits that he’s going to miss ski jumping, but he has chosen to prioritize time with his family over time spent training and traveling.

“I’ve thought about it a lot, and spent a lot of time—especially at Easter—in the mountains with my family. With my kids and wife. Now I see that is time to start a new chapter,” he continues.

He doesn’t know what this next chapter will entail just yet, but he’s looking forward to moving on and challenging himself with something new.

“I have been at the World Cup level for nine years, won the Four Hills Tournament, and—last but not least—taken a World Cup gold in Falun with the team. I’m happy, I’m satisfied, and I’m ready to start on something new.”

But he isn’t the only Norwegian ski jumper exchanging his skis for more time with family. Just a month before Jacobsen’s announcement, 32-year-old Anders Bardal announced his retirement after 25 years in the sport and 15 years at World Cup level.

Photo: Bjoertvedt / Wikimedia Anders Bardal at Holmenkollen, Oslo, during FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, March 11, 2012.

Photo: Bjoertvedt / Wikimedia
Anders Bardal at Holmenkollen, Oslo, during FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, March 11, 2012.

Throughout his exceptional career, Bardal won two Olympic bronze medals and seven World Cup medals, in addition to an overall World Cup championship.

“I’ve always said that I would retire as long as it’s still going well. It is neither the joy of the sport nor physical conditions that aren’t holding up anymore, but I know good well what is required of an athlete at my level. I no longer feel that I have 100 percent motivation and the desire to put in what is required to stay a world leader. Therefore, someone with more motivation and desire can take my place in the coming years. I knew that after this year’s World Championship in Falun,” explained Bardal in a press release.

Bardal doesn’t know exactly what is in store for his future either, but he does plan to devote more of his time to his wife and children. And even though Bardal feels it is time to move on, he looks back on his career with fond memories. “I am proud and grateful to have represented Norway in the sport that I love most,” he said.

Over the years, both Bardal and Jacobsen have been leaders and role models in Norwegian ski jumping.

“They haven’t been just father figures, but also leaders, and they have taken some of the pressure away from the young jumpers. They are the two most experienced jumpers we had,” comments ski jumping expert Jan-Erik Aalbu.

Looking forward to next season, NRK’s ski jumping expert Johan Remen Evensen thinks that yet another Anders—Anders Fannemel—might be able to take over as leader: “He is a guy who dares to speak up about what he wants. If he continues to deliver the results that he did this season, he can be an important part of the ski jumping team in the future.”

Norway’s ski jumping team may be losing the two most-experienced athletes, but it is also opening doors for future talents to follow in the tracks of Jacobsen and Bardal.

This article originally appeared in the May 8, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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