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Britta Johansson Norgren Has A New Challenge

In April, Britta Johansson Norgren ended her successful professional sports career. Now she will coach other people both on and off the ski tracks.

Photo: Magnus Östh/Ski Classics

Britta Johansson Norgren ended her successful sports career in April. Now she will be a coach.

March 20, 2003, Johansson Norgren made her World Cup debut and finished in the 29th position. It was the start of a career in traditional cross-country skiing that would include three Olympics and three World Championships, with a bronze and silver medal at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships in the 4x5km relay races.

But it would be in long-distance skiing that Britta Johansson Norgren left her most significant mark. During the last decade, she has been the queen of Ski Classics.

After six overall victories and a total of 25 wins, she ended her professional sports career in April by wearing Lager 157 Ski Team colors and starting at her last competition, Ylläs-Levi.

Four months have passed by:

“Certainly, it has been an adjustment to no longer be an elite skier. Like now when it’s the Blink competitions in Norway, or when I see that the team is on a training camp. It has become a habit of having a goal to work towards. But at the same time, I must be honest and say that it’s very nice to feel that I don’t have to go out and double pole for five hours if the weather is bad,” says Britta Johansson Norgren with a laugh.

How do you see the impact and skiing development you have been part of with double poling?

“A lot has happened during these years. And I was one of those who were the first to double pole. In the beginning, I got a lot of “comments” because I, as a girl, chose to only double pole. I heard questions and opinions about why I didn’t do like the others. But now most of the girls are double poling. Then I’ll be honest and say that I don’t understand how I managed to double pole initially, considering the technique I had then. Because when it comes to double poling technique, a lot has happened.”

Have you set any new sporting goals after finishing your elite career?

“No, I have chosen not to. Now I want to find a balance, to train to feel good. But there will be some goals in the future, but it won’t be in skiing, because I will only get worse there. I would think there will be something with running, but what it is, we’ll see, I honestly don’t know.”

However, it is clear that her upcoming professional challenge is ready, and it will be sports related as a coach.

What will it look like?

“It’s about long-term plans. I want to work with people, preferably for one or more years. To achieve results, these are processes that must last for several years. It’s about starting with a meeting where we discuss the current situation and where you want to be, and then there will be continuous meetings and conversations. In parallel with my elite sports career, I have read about sports science, nutrition, and training, and all combined with the experience and knowledge I have had throughout my career, I will use now.

Are you targeting elite athletes?

“No, not just the elite. I want to work widely; it can be about an entrepreneur who wants to go to Vasaloppet and combine this with family and work. People who want to become better skiers and feel good simultaneously. I feel that many people feel bad during the last weeks before, for example, Vasaloppet, because they feel that they are not with their family enough and want to perform well at work and feel that the training is almost exhausting. I want to help them find an effective workout, not just many hours where you get stressed by the training.”

Throughout her career, Britta Johansson Norgren has had a close collaboration with the mental advisor Stig Wiklund, and now he is a key figure in Johansson Norgren’s new profession as well:

“Stig has been very helpful, and the advice I receive and have received from him has been precious. I was very early on with mental training, which has made a huge difference. The vast majority in elite sports use mental advisors, and it is important also to manage life apart from the ski tracks and not just the training or competition itself. I want to help and support people to do that in my new role as a coach.”

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