Ladies in the Spotlight: Silje Opseth (NOR)
„These will be the most significant competitions in my career so far!“
The second edition of „Ladies in the Spotlight“ features 15-year-old Silje Opseth from Norway who will soon travel to Oberstdorf to meet up with her fellow international Nordic Combined Ladies for the first time in the history of the discipline. Before the big event, she points out the importance of the occasion for Ladies Nordic Combined, reveals what she is looking forward to the most and gives a glimpse into her career so far.
What are you looking forward to the most when you think about the training camp in Oberstdorf?
Silje Opseth: I’m actually looking forward to the whole concept, the whole experience. This is the first camp for ladies in Nordic Combined ever in history, I am overjoyed just because I got the chance to take part in it. I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know some other Nordic Combined athletes. Another thing is that I’m curious about the level of the competitions. I have no idea of my own level compared to the others. It will be funny and interesting to find out!
But when I’m thinking about Oberstdorf and the camp in general, the competitions are maybe not the most important thing for me. Of course, these will be the most significant competitions for me in my career so far, but it is even more important that all the girls will get closer to each other and that Nordic Combined for girls is finally accepted as a discipline.
Is it also a special motivation for you that the current stars of Nordic Combined will do the Prize Giving Ceremony together with the winners of the Youth Grand Prix?
Opseth: It’s cool that the Prize Giving Ceremony will be together with the stars of the Nordic Combined. That means there will be a lot of people on location and it will be a good mood surrounding the ceremony. To me this is not the main source of motivation, though.
Personally, I find motivation in taking part in the competitions and the opportunities that this will give to Nordic Combined for Ladies in the future. As I said earlier, I don´t know the level of the other girls skills, so I have to train as much as possible to see how it ends.
You will also have to chance to watch the Summer Grand Prix competitions in Oberstdorf during the camp. Who will you cheer for?
Opseth: Of course I will cheer for the Norwegian team. (smiles)
Can you tell us a little bit how your career as an athlete has gone so far? When did you start skiing and jumping? Have you been training both, cross-country and ski jumping until now?
Opseth: My career is a little special. I got my first cross-country skis when I was one and a half years old and I started skiing at that time. When I turned six, I began cross country ski training in a group once a week. I went cross-country skiing until I was twelve and besides that I did orienteering in summer time.
Starting with ski jumping was just a coincidence for me. At the age of 12, my family and I spend Christmas together with another family. The boy in this family was doing ski jumping and they had a New Year tradition: “New Year ski jumping competition”, more or less, just for fun. I took part in this mini- competition, and jumped surprisingly well. The father in this family told me to try ski jumping, and after one jump with the correct equipment, I just couldn’t stop.
From that day on, ski jumping and Nordic Combined has changed my life. For the next two years I tried to do both, ski jumping and cross-country skiing. But because of the school and some problems with my feet, I was forced to give ski jumping the highest priority. I still love cross-country skiing and from time to time I still attend some competitions.
Now, when I heard about the Ladies Nordic Combined training camp in Oberstdorf, I started a more specific exercise program for cross-country skiing again. And I’m sure I will continue if my feet feel fine. I will for sure never quit the cross-country skiing totally.
Do you see yourself as a Nordic Combined athlete in the future?
Opseth: Maybe. It’s a little up to FIS, I think. If the development goes fast and my feet are okay, I would like to train much more cross-country skiing and combine it with ski jumping. I would absolutely appreciate it if Nordic Combined for Ladies became a part in the World Cup and the Olympics within the near future. I guess time will tell.
What sets Nordic Combined apart from ski jumping and cross-country skiing?
Opseth: To me, Nordic Combined is one of the most challenging sports in the world. To combine a very technical sport like ski jumping and a physical sport like cross-country skiing, where you absolutely need to have good endurance levels is hard.
The only thing that is sad about Nordic Combined, at least in Norway, is that it seems a bit like a forgotten discipline. I hope this will change, also by introducing us positive girls - the “supergirls” into the sport. (laughs)