Source: Luringsposten — Translated by Kaare Appelsin
Norwegian newspaper Luringsposten reported Friday, April 1, 2005, that the Oslo, Norway law firm of Blom, Olsen and Hansen had issued a press release on Wednesday stating that Norwegian-American Seattle, Washington (USA) developer and World renowned inventor Ola â€œUteliggerâ€ Torsteinsdottirsen in his will had left 60 million dollars (440 million Norwegian kroner) to the US Cross Country team.
Torsteinsdottirsen was born in Styggedal, Norway in 1908 and immigrated to the US in 1926. He made his fortune in the construction and housing development business and on several World wide patents, among others the cheese cutter and the paper clip. He was an avid cross country skier and raced the Gunnar Hagen 30-kilometer classic race in Seattle a number of times. Torsteinsdottirsen was also a huge US Ski Team supporter however most of his previous support and donations had been anonymous. He was also very outspoken on cross country skiing’s many health benefits.
As of late Thursday night, Fasterskier.com had not able to confirm the gift or get comments from US Ski Team officials, but we were able to talk to Head Coach Trond Nystad’s cousin Johan â€œGrautgramsenâ€ Bortibakken in Alvdal, Norway where Nystad is on vacation.
Nystad was out celebrating the gift when we called. He had however already outlined a detailed â€œaction planâ€ on how he wanted to use the unexpected gift and discussed this with his cousin. Bortibakken commented that Nystad was obliviously ecstatic about the gift and the fact that the will said that he, and only he, had sole discretion to use the money.
Bortibakken said that Nystad no longer doubted that the US cross country could win Gold in Torino next year. â€œSeveral Gold’s is obviously now realisticâ€ were Nystad’s final words before he left Bortibakken’s house in a rented black limo to head for the town’s only restaurant to celebrate.
Nystad’s cousin Bortibakken, then relayed Nystad’s action plan, but noted that this plan is tentative and might change as emotions calms down. Here are however the highlights:
1. Spend US $40 million (270 million Norwegian kroner) this season and save the remaining $20 million for future seasons.
2. Increase the National team size to 150 (75 men and 75 women) and hire 50 coaches. Spend 90% of the time from May 5 until Torino on snow. On-snow camp sites will include Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Austria, Fairbanks, West Yellowstone, Italy, Finland, Sweden and Norway. The only dryland camp will be two weeks in Hawaii in September. The top 50 skiers selected to the team will receive a substantial six figure salary.
3. Make an â€œoffer they can't refuseâ€ and hire the entire current Norwegian wax team. This would be a big set back for Norway and a huge coup and morale booster for the US team.
4. Make a similar offer to buy all the major ski suppliers’ upcoming season’s race-stock skis. Succeeding here would be a major blow to the competition.
5. Coaches and athletes spring planning and team-spirit building meeting to be held May 1-4 at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. They will rent an entire floor for the weekend. They will also hire the Rock group Blink 182 and soul/blues singer Sade to perform at an â€œinvitees-onlyâ€ celebrity gala dinner while in Vegas.
6. The team will be divided into three groups where one group will train mainly distance training, one group will train mainly 50-50 interval and distance and one group will train mainly interval training. One of these groups will train at sea level, another at medium high altitude and the last group at very high altitude in order to make sure that all bases are covered regarding having skiers ready to peak at the Olympics.
7. Hire the Hawaiian Tropic Swim Suit Team, The LA Lakers Cheerleaders and the famous Australian Male Chippendale Group (can’t forget about the women’s spirit) as cheerleaders at camps and for sideline support at the Olympics.
8. Offer Beckie Scott and Sara Renner US citizenship, plus a hefty salary.
9. Supply every team member with a leased Hummer. The Athletes will be able to sell individual logo sponsorship on their personal cars
10. Hire The Rolling Stones and U2 to play at the award ceremony in Torino when the US team receives gold in the Men’s 4 x 10-kilometer relay.
Agree or disagree? What would you do if you were the US Ski Team coach and had unlimited funds? Post your comments below!