Young Talent Without Big Plans

FasterSkierJuly 7, 2004

Twenty year-old Tord Asle Gjerdalen (Norway) skied well a number of times last year, but the medicine student was not interested in being a part of the Norwegian National team and is not spending a lot of time thinking about the future in skiing.

Many wondered who this unknown young man was when he placed 5th in the pursuit on the first day of the Norwegian Championship last winter. He followed up that with a 13th in the 15-kilometer classic and 7th in the 50-kilometer. Placing this high is unusual in your first year as a senior. Tord is humble about it and feel it’s no big deal.

-It’s lots of training for many years, and besides that a bit of (good) luck, says Gjerdalen.

But you are not that old?

– I’m 20-years old so I have done this for some years. My results are not that exceptional either. There are several skiers that are approximately as old as me that have skied better.

You can despite Tord Asles modesty understand that he is a big talent if you look at his result record. As a 16 year old he won every Norway-cup race in his age group that he participated in except for one. As a 17-year old he won all of them. He hardly competed at all in his first year as an older junior due to illness. In his last season as a junior he captured a silver medal at junior nationals, a 9th individual and bronze in the relay at junior Worlds.

Following this seasons results he was considered a candidate for a spot on one of the national team, but he made it clear that he was not interested whether he was selected or not. He was more interested in being a part of Team Impuls and be allowed to participate at a few selected camps with the national team. The reason for this is being a med. student in Oslo.

– It’s not possible to be on the national team, I have to show up at school twice per week and that’s not possible with all the camps.

Studying medicine is probably not the type of study that requires the least work by the students, how are you able to combine this with training (hard) for cross country skiing?

 -I don’t find that to be a problem. It’s all about being organized and structured. You have to plan your day around your schedule and workload. You are not able to train all day, but I would probably have trained myself to the ground if I hadn’t been studying anyway. I have completed three semesters and feel great about combining school and training.

How do you structure your training?

– As most skiers, one or two weekly hard sessions, one strength workout and the rest is easy distance training.

After racing this well already at this age, what are your thoughts about the future?

– I’m thinking as little as possible. It’s fine to not think and plan a lot since things usually don’t pan out the way you planned it. It’s fine if I ski fast, and if not I have my studies.

What about goals, do you have some you want to give away?

– No. I have not set any for myself either. I’m going to see how it develops in both skiing and my studies, and then take it as it comes.

You don’t need to improve much to qualify to ski World Cup and you might miss a day or two at the university?

– It’s still a long way up to the best skier on the World Cup, but I might consider splitting up some classes if it proves hard to combine.


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