Friday, December 28, 2012 // London 2012 - The Dream
Nearly two years before London 2012 I took the finale decision: I want to win the gold at K1 1000m in London. After Worlds in Halifax 2009 I stopped training and competing at international level and I was pretty sure that I would never get back into kayaking at top level. One year with little training and a total different lifestyle puts things into perspective and I realized that I missed the life I’ve lived for the past 15 years! Training for London would give me two more years with that life! My motivation was back and I was sure I could win if I did everything right for the next two years. My sponsors thru many years, Essve and Thaugland, signed up after the first meeting! Olympiatoppen and my former coach Ørjan Madsen all believed in the project and careful planning started right away. Season of 2011 was all about getting back into the shape as quick as possible and qualifying thru Worlds in Szeged. I had a good race in Szeged 2011, but it was very far from being an Olympic gold winning race. I had improved a lot since the beginning of fall 2010, so I knew it was possible for me to go even faster with another 12 months of training. I trained really hard through fall and winter and was happy when I came to spring camp 2012 in Florida and was in good shape compared to my Norwegian training partners. I got even happier when I did some endurance sessions with my biggest rivals, Adam Van Koverden, Max Hoff, Anders Gustafsson and Rene Holten Poulsen and I was strongest! From that day I knew my endurance level was back at the top of the game and I had succeeded in raising my level since Worlds the year before. Getting faster the first 250m of the 1000m was an important task for me, especially since Adam had put up a blistering show at the worlds the year before. It was important for me not to be more than a boat length behind after 250m and maintain that distance for the next 250m. My training program was focusing on this and after the first competition I could tell that I had improved my first 250m compared to the year before. The competition in London was very different compared to other Olympics since we this time had heat and semi-final on the same day. The last 4-5 weeks before Olympics my week cycles were the same as in the competition week. Two hard sessions on Monday morning with 1 hour rest and a 1000m at 100% intensity Wednesday morning at the exact same time in the morning as the Olympic finale would be.
I had a perfect start, from the first stroke I felt in balance and the first 10sec of the race was just as fast and perfect as the best starts I had done on training. Adam flew of the line, but I was together with the rest of the field and knew this was a good position for me to be in. Adam got a boat length but not more. After 500m I was going faster than him and when we passed the 800m mark we were neck to neck. It was hurting bad, really bad, but this race happens every fourth year so it’s supposed to hurt! When hurting the most I got a flashback to Olympics 2004 and I told myself Adam had the same flashback. With 100m to the finish line I did my last effort and managed to get the necessary centimetres in front of Adam…
Without the support of my wife Mira I would never found the motivation to train as hard as needed to win another Olympic gold. It was a huge boost when Mira qualified for the Olympics and I could relive the excitement about going to the first Olympics. Olympiatoppen, sponsors and team mates does all have an important part in this gold medal. Last but not least: my personal coach, Ørjan Madsen, and team coach, Tom Selvik, both did an amazing job. Ørjan being the most educated coach I know and with 30 years of experience from coaching at top level, he’s the best there is. Always knowing what to train at the right moment and carefully monitoring how I react from day to day. Tom with dedication to the sport and going far beyond what you can expect from his job, making sure that I had the best conditions possible wherever we were around the world.
I love my sport and I’m sure Norway will keep up their good traditions in canoeing. I’m done competing at international level, but far from done kayaking!