„We want to close the gap to Frenzel & Co.“
TUESDAY TALK: BK Ingebrigtsen (NOR)
After a season for the record books, Norwegian head coach Kristian Hammer announced his retirement leaving, Sports Director Sverre Rotevatn with the difficult task of finding a suitable replacement without breaking the „never change a winning team“ rule too much. With former club coach Bjoern Kaare Ingebrigtsen, who had a big part it the development of the athletes from Trondheim, including Magnus Moan and Olympic Champion Joergen Graabak, it looks like he found the ideal solution. High time to catch up with the new man at the helm of the Norwegian team.
BK, welcome as the new head coach of the Norwegian team. How have the first weeks been? What training camps did you do and how satisfied are you with the team?
BK Ingebrigtsen: Thanks! The first days and weeks have been fine, we have been working quite much with the upcoming strategy and off course we have started with the training. At the moment, we have done 3 camps: in Alicante, Spain, Trondheim & Sognefjellet and Lillehammer & Oslo. When it comes to the performance, it looks like we’re in the zone which we have planned in our strategy.
After Kristian Hammer decided he wanted to quit quite early on, was it a natural choice to have you as the new main coach, considering that six of the seven national team athletes are from Trondheim where you have coached before? Why did you decide not to step in as national coach but share the work with Sports Director Sverre Rotevatn?
Ingebrigtsen: It’s a big honor to be asked to be the head coach for the Norwegian Nordic Combined team, and I’m really looking forward to work together with the rest of our coaching and service team. We have managed to keep almost everyone in the same roles as last year, and also we have made some reinforcements in the team.
Sverre as the Sports Director will be more involved in the team this year, his primary task during the competitions are be to be the Team leader, work with the logistics and sponsors. My primary task is everything around the sport, together with our jumping coach Nik Huber and Stein Vidar Thun who is our physio and acts as cross-country technique and tactical assistant coach.
After two very successful seasons for the Norwegian team, including a lot of individual victories and the team gold and individual gold for Joergen Graabak, you have some big footsteps to fill. Do you feel pressure from this or is it rather motivating?
Ingebrigtsen: The last seasons were for sure very successful for our team and it was nice to take part in this kind of experience, especially the Olympics in Sochi. I still think we have more potential in the team and right now it’s time to look forward to the upcoming season were we want to fight for the victories and podiums. Frenzel and Co. are still the favourites but we would like to close the gap. It’s also important to not try to top everything, but work step by step towards our goals.
Next to the six well-known national team athletes from last year, Thomas Kjelbotn is new on the team this year. What do you expect from him in the future?
Ingebrigtsen: Thomas is new in our team and his role is to raise the jumping level in the team during training and competitions. At the same time he needs to develop his XC stamina one step, then he can fight for some really good results. Thomas was showing us a really good attitude during the comeback from his knee injury, and for me as coach attitude is everything!
How about SGP this year, two years ago the Norwegian team mainly skipped the competitions, is it on schedule for your athletes this year?
Ingebrigtsen: The Summer Grand Prix is on our schedule this summer and we’re planning to participate with the complete team.