“I feel like I was the first choice. That’s why I’m sitting here,” Trond Nystad said when he was introduced as the new head coach for the Norwegian national men’s all-round team. Nystad replaces Morten Aa Djupvik, who resigned in April. Nystad served as the head coach for the US Ski Team from 2002 to 2006.
The Norwegian Ski Association (NSF) initially had a long list of candidates to narrow down. Some of the individuals the NSF approached were not interested, others determined that they didn’t have the time and some were tied up with other obligations. Pretty soon, Trond Nystad was identified as the hottest candidate to replace Morten Aa Djupvik.
At the end of that process, four candidates interviewed with the staffing firm Adecco Select.
“We believe Trond Nystad has what it takes to do the job for NSF,” Hedevig Stang Castberg of Adecco Select said to Norwegian news agency NTB.
“I feel that we have hired a leader who is ready to coach as well as manage the team. Previously, we have been accused of only looking within our own ranks to fill these kinds of positions. This time, we have hired an outside candidate with experience from the United States, Germany and Switzerland,” Hermod Bjørkestøl said. He is the chair of the NSF cross-country committee.
“He was one of several strong candidates, and I am satisfied with the outcome. Trond has the skills and qualities we were looking for, and we believe we have a strong coaching team in him and assistant coach Steinar Mundal,” national team director Vidar Løfshus said.
Løfshus knows Nystad well from their time in the United States. They both worked together as coaches with the US Ski Team. That bond was one of the reasons Nystad was identified as a strong candidate for the national team coaching position. National team directors like to know who they are working with.
Nystad said he was “grilled, double-checked and cross-referenced” in a long, exciting and exhausting hiring process.
“It was a very open, honest and diligent process. I did not choose myself for the position. I am honored to step into this position. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with athletes and coaches of this caliber,” Nystad said.
– What goals do you have in terms of results?
“The Norwegian racers placed well both in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and in the 2011 World Championships in Oslo. The biggest challenge will be to improve on those results in a non-championship season. We have to do better at Tour de Ski, and we need a more consistent World Cup results,” Nystad said.
Nystad considers himself as man who performs well under stress and is a good communicator.
“I believe I work well in a team,” Nystad said.
Brothers on the team
Neither the NSF nor the staffing firm Adecco Select considers it a problem that Trond Nystad’s twin brother Knut Nystad is the head wax coach for the Norwegian national team. They don’t worry that the relationship between the brothers will be a destructive factor.
– What kind of relationship do you have to your brother?
“We don’t have any issues. We’ve worked together before in a professional setting, and we agree on a lot of things. He thinks he’s nicer, more intelligent and sexier than me. I don’t entirely agree. That’s a discussion I don’t think we’ll ever finish,” Trond Nystad said.
Trond Nystad is currently the CEO of a company in Denver, Colorado. That’s a position he has to conclude before he moves back to Norway. Most likely, the national team camp at Sognefjellet in the beginning of June will be Nystad’s first coaching experience with the Norwegian national team skiers.
From NTB, May 13, 2011. Translation by Inge Scheve
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.