Part 24 – Some Mistakes, But Mostly Satisfied

FasterSkierApril 12, 2003

Many ask if I am dissatisfied with the media, if I think they write and broadcast strange things or if I am misquoted. For the most part I have been satisfied, even though we do not need special detecting devices to find the individual situations I have not liked. There were a lot of misquotes in the beginning, before I knew that I could insist upon reading through the interviews before they were printed. No one had told me that. I thought it was dumb to ask about it, too. I was afraid that the journalists would think that I didn’t trust that they were honest, proper people who were capable of their jobs. But now I always ask to read through the longer interviews. As a rule, it works well.

Maybe some one in the Ski Federation or in the support staff should make sure to give new national team skiers an introduction on how the media work and what rights and demands the individuals have. If some one had done that when I came on the team in 1988, we could have avoided many misunderstandings and irritations. At that time we had no thought-out certain attitude towards the media. We answered each question and situation as it came. The danger is then greater to be pulled away by nice people who are good at convincing. Many times I have said yes to things I should have rather said no.

For example I did not like what I saw when I opened up an issue of “We Men” in the fall of 1991. During a team training camp at Sjusjœen I let myself be interviewed because they said they wanted to print a series with serious interviews of elite athletes. They also wanted to have a picture of Vegard and me in the piles of snow outside our hotel. In the magazine they placed the picture so that it looked like we were looking right at two naked women on the next page. It looked like a pornographic interview.

In 1993 I pulled out of a VG arrangement I had first said yes to and had already begun. VG wanted to photograph a number of elite athletes nude. The picture of me was taken. Technically and artistically it was good enough, but I began to doubt it more and more: is there any good that will come of letting the paper print it? After having discussed the issue with Vegard and my wife Vilde, I said no. The reactions at CG were strong, but I got to keep the picture. Today that picture hangs in the bedroom in the cabin we rent in Hurdal.

I also said no when they called fro the editor’s office and said they had rented a Formula Three racecar. They knew I had a thing for cars, and asked me if I wanted to travel to the Netherlands and drive it. Privately it could have been a lot of fun. But would something good come out of the story? I said no.


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