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TUESDAY TALK with Jens Luraas Oftebro

May 21, 2024·Nordic Combined
Jens Luraas Oftebro at the finals in Trondheim © Modica/NordicFocus
Jens Luraas Oftebro at the finals in Trondheim © Modica/NordicFocus

The first Tuesday Talk of the summer features one of the most successful Nordic Combined athletes of the last seasons. Norways Jens Luraas Oftebro, Olympic team champion and Individual silver medalist, talks about his rollercoaster season, which was overshadowed by a serious fall in Ramsau.
The 23-year-old, who placed 2nd in the Overall World Cup in the 2022/23 season, also gave his opinion on the new sprint format and what goals he set for himself for the upcoming home World Ski Championships in Trondheim.

After the long season, how did you spend the last months? Did you have time to go on holidays?
It’s always nice to get some easy weeks back home with friends and family after a long season. We have been travelling a lot during the winter, so I wanted to stay in Norway for the whole off-season period. I have still been skiing a lot and I have also participated in some cross-country races against the specialists which has been fun.

The spring is also a period for me where I need to catch up on the studies that I should have done during the winter.

Your start into the season was perfect, with a victory at the Compact premiere in Ruka. You didn’t participate in the format in Ramsau, but became 4th in Oberstdorf. As a strong skier, tell us what advantages this format brings for you?
The Compact format is designed to make the competition more exciting for the spectators, which of course is important for our sport. I’m not sure if this format is the best way to do that, but I am positive that FIS is to trying something new. To be able to start closer to best jumpers is of course an advantage for strong skiers. However, the best jumpers nowadays are also really strong skiers, so you need to start close to the front if you want to win or a podium.

Oftebro (m) sprinting to the Compact victory in Ruka (c) Nordic Focus

As mentioned in the previous question, you couldn’t participate on the second day in Ramsau after your heavy crash during the Mass Start Ski Jumping part. What influence did the physical and especially mental effects of the fall have on your preparation for the second period?

My crash in Ramsau was unfortunate, but I am lucky that it didn’t result in any major injury. Physically I was able to get back pretty quickly, with my shape being gradually better during January and February. It was a bit worse mentally with my concussion. I tried my best to rest and recover the first weeks, but I was still maybe a bit too eager to get back into the normal training routines. It’s difficult to tell, but I was not feeling 100% mentally for a while, which might have influenced my jumping. 

Overall, it was a rollercoaster season for you. From the victory in Ruka, a 2ndplace in Lillehammer and a 3rd place in Seefeld to being 31st in Otepää. Are you still taking something positive away from the winter?
This season was of course a bit disappointing for me compared to last season. Although, I have shown that my top level is still competitive against the best. My skiing has been strong in most of the races, but my jumping has been inconsistent. I will definitely try to improve my jumping level for the next season!

Jens Luraas Oftebro at the Seefeld TRIPLE 2024 ©Modica/NordicFocus

The sub-committee decided to add the Super Sprint to the World Cup calendar in the future. If the committee and council confirm this decision, it could be part already next season. Do you have experiences with the new format, since it’s been tested mainly in national Norwegian events?
I have been testing this format in national competitions in Norway already, and I really like the Super Sprint format! I think it’s nice with tight sprints, high speed and something different. It’s also exciting for the spectators to watch with a lot of action during the heats. I think this format suits even better in the World Cup. It’s going to be tight duels already from the first heat, and also the green laser line in the SJ hill would make it easier for the spectators to watch. Hopefully we will have the Super Sprint format already this winter and in the WSC soon. 

With the home FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Trondheim coming up, what goals are you working towards to this summer?
The World Championships in Trondheim are of course a huge goal for me this season. It will most likely be my only chance to participate at home soil in a WSC. I am sure that the crowd is going to be amazing, and I hope I can perform at my top level. My goal during the WSC in Trondheim is to win medals both with the Norwegian team and individually.

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