Episode 9: four Norwegian friends in a European Championship
Presentation of the Norwegian delegation
This is actually a cool band of buddies that we have to deal with! The four friends belong to the same ice-skating club. They discovered roller skating late. About six years ago, they put on their first pair of skates ... with wheels.
"We loved this, so we decided to continue." Barely two years later, they take the start of their first inline marathons in Norway and Sweden. Their purpose : to participate to the World Championships in Gijon in 2008! Meteoric rise? Not so sure! The challenge was high, but our four young Norwegian skaters took up the challenge with a hint of ambition! They arrived in Gijon for the marathon world championships withour participating to the intermediate stage of the European Championships ... However, without much success!
"But it was a great experience," they say heartily. So this year, in 2011, they decided to participe to the European Championships before going to the Worlds, their first ones!
Objectives: the party first?
Their goal in the Netherlands was to "win ... the after-party!" they say between two laughts. All athletes in Heerde and Zwolle were not on the same wavelength ... Not sure that the humor of the Norwegians made laugh their opponents...
"More seriously, the goal was to finish among the top 20 in the first package." Objective achieved? Two of them have completed the marathon at the 26th and 31st places, not far from the famous first packet. Concerning their two club fellows, they seem to have been forced to retire. They were respectively ranked 48th and 58th places. We do not know if they had recovered in time for the After Party ...
Indeed, the Federation (which is the same for ice and for the roller-skating) does not appear to be interested in the event. No coach, no Federal Commissioner on site. No! The federation only paid the sum of € 1000 (in all) to her four representatives.
"Basically, we had the money for our stay in the Netherlands and we were free of our expenses," said one of them. "Our club of ice-skating has also significantly helped financially, and our parents of course! ".
Their preparation for the European Championships was made during the year with 2 KPN Cups. The races of the German Inline Cup were also part of the program... not including the training course in Hamar the week before the marathon in Zwolle.
Apart from partying, these young Norwegian are motivated to skate against the best world skaters such as Yann Guyader (France) or Bart Swings (Belgium). The informal motivation was confessed by one of them: "We want to have fun before the ice season. "
That's a lot of fun for this delegation. Does that mean that the roller speed-skating is considered as an entertainment in Norway? Depending on the country, we really have different approaches of our sport ...
If they were the funny buddies of the European Championships, at least one of them should wear his ice-skates very quickly. His name is August. No more fun! Since his objective iss to participate in the Winter Olympics in Sochi (Russia)! A serious opponent or just a training partner for Alexis Contin (France)? The haven of the Frenchman for the coming winter is precisely Norway. Serious things should not be long before it starts ...
A last word for the French skaters? "If they come by here, in Norway, they can join us, they are welcome! We need training partners! "
Useful linksWritten by Lea Réguer-Petit
Translated by Alfathor
Photos: Vincent Esnault and Daniel Busser