U.S. Ski Jumping Head Coach
Would you want to coach the American national team?
In May 2022 I got a call from Clas Brede Bråthen. He had one question for me: Would you want to become the head coach for the American ski jumpers? He gave me time to think about it, but I think Clas knew a spark was ignited as we hung up.
After 16 years as a coach and teacher at NTG coaching young ski jumpers in the start of their career, I felt like there was time for a personal change, and this offer was flattering. Intimidating, but flattering. Head coach for an international team? I slept badly for a few nights, I could not let the thought about this challenge go. A team that had struggled for years, but with a lot of promise and young athletes with long careers ahead. A chance for me to develop further as a coach with a team, and with the new cooperation with the Norwegian team waiting to be announced it seemed even more appealing.
My answer had to be yes.
The athletes arrived in Lillehammer a few weeks after I accepted the challenge, and we were all curious about how the merge of the merited Norwegian team and the young American team would go. We needn’t worry. The friendship between the US and Norwegian athletes seemed effortless, they now share inside jokes, locker rooms and coaching staff.
One and a half years later I am traveling home from the World Cup opening of the 2023/24 season. It is my second season as the head coach of the American athletes, the second of the collaboration with the Norwegian team, and we have learnt and experienced so much since May 2022. The quota of the athletes we were allowed to compete with has doubled due to the amount of World Cup points we’ve taken.
The highlight of the first year of the cooperation was to get the World Cup back in Lake Placid, to see my athletes compete on the top level of our sport on home soil. Even bigger was the experience of getting to be one of the eight teams in the final of the World Championship team competition for the men. We managed to beat Finland and finished 7th.
It’s a young team still, and therefore we must hurry slowly to build a solid team for the future.