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New coaches for the Norwegian women’s national team

Marit Bjørgen and Pål Gunnar Mikkelsplass have been hired as the new coaches for the Norwegian women’s elite cross-country skiing national team. The Norwegian duo will work under the guidance of head coach Sjur Ole Svarstad.

Photo: Mathias Bergeld/Bildbyrån

Marit Bjørgen is one of the new coaches for the Norwegian women's national team

In a press release today, the Norwegian Ski Association informed that Marit Bjørgen and Pål Gunnar Mikkelsplass will be the coaches for the women’s elite in a team with Sjur Ole Svarstad as a head coach.

“It started with Sjur Ole asking me if it could be relevant. I have a lot of respect for him. From before, I know the group of athletes and know what they stand for. Being there and contributing is something I’m passionate about. The thing with Marit is another point, and it will be very exciting to take part in her experiences and, not least, to work with her. The main goal is the World Championships at home. It gives an extra boost in a group and a championship in Norway is something very special,” says Pål Gunnar Mikkelsplass.

Marit Bjørgen also commented about the new job:

“This role was not in my mind three weeks ago, but I am incredibly grateful that Sjur Ole called me and showed interest. So, there has been a process, and the motivation and commitment have only grown and grown. I love cross-country skiing, and I am both very happy and humbled to be able to work with dedicated athletes. I have no coaching experience at this level, but I have a lot of knowledge through a long career with ups and downs. I’m looking forward to starting the job, getting to know the women well, and getting to work with Sjur Ole and Pål Gunnar,” says Marit Bjørgen.

Also Read: Marit Bjørgen’s journey to becoming the World’s best winter sports athlete

The hiring process was conducted by national team manager Ulf Morten Aune, together with Per Elias Kalfoss.

“We have had a good and thorough recruitment process with many talented candidates who want to contribute to Norwegian cross-country skiing. In Marit and Pål Gunnar, we get two very knowledgeable coaches with versatile backgrounds. Both know what it takes to reach the top. We are absolutely sure that the two of them, together with head coach Sjur Ole Svarstad, will form an extremely competent coaching team heading into the World Championships on home soil. At the same time, we know that there are many other talented coaches out there who are disappointed at not getting the opportunity,” says Ulf Morten Aune.

General Manager Cathrine Instebø is pleased with the hiring of Marit Bjørgen and Pål Gunnar Mikkelsplass:

“It’s particularly pleasing that we in Marit are getting a female coach at the top level. I’m proud that we are getting the female Winter Olympian of all time on the team on the road to the Ski World Championships in Trondheim. In Pål Gunnar, we are bringing in an experienced coach who can show very good results. In Sjur Ole, Marit, and Pål Gunnar, we have a dream team,” says Instebø.

Are you interested in more content about traditional cross-country skiing? Click HERE and read more.

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