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Whats Up Interview: Norwegian skaters to the olympics?

Tommy talked to national team leader Henning Braaten at Brettforbundet about the Norwegian national skateboard team, and the likelihood of seeing Norwegian skaters participating in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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Norwegian national team leader Henning Braaten things there is a chance we will see Norwgian skaters fight for medals during the Olympics in Tokyo.

Skrevet av: Tommy Jørgensen
Publisert: 2/6/2020 | Oppdatert: 6/3/2020

Are you optimistic about seeing any Norwegian skaters in the Olympic Games?

Yes I am optimistic about getting someone to the Olympics, but its so hard to say. You have to work you way up the ranking, and then there are so many coincidences that determine if you go up or down on it. It also has a big impact that it is limited to 3 from each nation, then a lot of the Brazilians, Americans and Japanese are out of the list, which means there is room.

    Read also: Skateboarding in the 2020 Olympics

But some of them are skating for other countries now, such as Lizzy Armanto who is skating for Finland?

Yes there are some of those. But there are also quite strict rules around that, and you would either have to have a dual citizenship, or have lived there for many years. So I dont think you can switch now. It is to prevent nations from buying athletes and such.

    Read Also: Lizzie Armanto to skate for Finland

Is it just Elias that skates Park, the rest is focusing on Street?

Kevin skated the world championship the year before last, but he has been injured a lot and has been on a lot of sponsor trips interchangeably, so he has focused more on that and has released a lot of awesome video parts and such. It is a challenge to get enough time for both. Karsten has done a bit of both, but has not skated park other than during the Norwegian championships. But Elias is very focused on that part. And Mats Hatlem also wants to go that way, and he has an awesome basis from his vert skating so it will be exciting to see. He is also on his way back from an injury..

    Les også: Kevin Bækkels Higher Power Part
    Les også: Whats Up: Hermann Stenes skade
    Les også: Whats Up: Karsten Kleppan interview

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Karsten stops by the indoor skatepark when he is at home relaxing between the battles.

But in the end it is the ranking that determines who gets to skate the Olympics?

Yes, its not like I or anyone else can sit here and decide who get to the Olympics. It is the athletes that have to be good enough, and then they have to have good enough results. Then the national Olympic committees can select them for the Olympics based on those results.

As of now the Norwegian skaters are not high enough up on the ranking. How many qualification events remain where they can gather points?

Some new ones were added the other day, so there are a lot of contests. They need five results from season two, and two from the first season, so they have really just started and can still get their five best results in the ranking. Next is Peru, then Las Vegas. Then there are two in China, one in Japan, and one in China again. After that it is the Dew Tour in Los Angeles and Street League in London, and then there is the park world championship in China. So both disciplines have a fair amount left. Some of them, like Tonje has skated EM and STU Open in Rio before, that are returning for season two. But they have to select some contests where they think they can do well, and then get as much ranking points as possible there. So its really that simple. If you participate in enough, and max out your quota on the number of contests, and do as well in the contests as possible, then..

    Les også: Oi Stu Open 2019 Mens Qualification Results and Footage
    Les også: Oi Stu Open 2019 Womens Qualification Results and Footage

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Tonje skated Oi Stu Open in Rio last year. Picture: Screen cap/Oi Stu Open.

Then Im wondering about that article that Petter Brunvatne had in Fædrelandsvennen recently..

Yes, where he talks a bit about what he wants.

    Les også: Looking forward to Olympic qualification

I read in it that he was only sure about having a budged for three of the five contests he is planning to attend, so I was wondering how much Brettforbundet supports the athletes on the national team?

Contrary to popular belief, the national skateboarding team has a small budget, so its mainly their sponsors, and special grants, that pay for their travels. When we select the national team for the world cup and such, we help with hotels and registration, but they mostly finance their trips themselves. It is a job for them too, so they have to really want it and have to organise a lot themselves. Of course we wish we could facilitate more economically, but the national team is very new, and in Norway there is no tradition for just pumping money into something without having anything to show for first. So we kinda have to build this thing into something that deserves it.

    Read Also: Jonas Carlsson wins dream final
    Read Also: Petter Brunvatne gets 100.000 kroner grant
    Read Also: Sports grants for Agder skaters

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Petter skated at Oi Stu Open in Rio Last year. Photo: Screen cap/Oi Stu Open.

There was an article in Transworld recently about how they had organised the financing themselves in Finland, so they could be independent of World Skate. How it is in this country?

Nobody gets financed trough world skate, so it is really not that unique. All the countries have their own way of financing their sports.

    Read Also: Finlands Finntastic Response To World Skate

In the article it is also said that the skateboard association in Finland took control over skateboarding there, contrary to most other countries in Europe that have been organised trough roller skate organisations. But is it not the case that similar measures have been taken in Norway also?

What we have done here is that NORB, when this happened, was clear that skateboard was going to be classified as a sport, and one would have to have an association with sports to govern the activity. That is when NORB went to its members to ask for permission to take NORB into sports in some way. So that was the first step, to have backing from our members.

    Read Also: NORB prepares for skateboard Olympics

There are probably many matters to disagree on, but at least we tried to take control in a time when there was uncertainty around it. But at least we knew that loosing control over skateboard completely would be worse than being part of governing something we didnt quite know what was yet.

    Read Also: NORB + NIF = TRUE

But I guess one could say that the article agrees that it was a smart thing to do.

That is true.

Were you one of those who were in dialog with Samuli Heino in Finland prior to this?

I had a good dialogue with Samuli Heino in Finland trough the process. There has been dialog between the Nordic countries in particular, and with Germany and some others. There have been many who have wondered how to find their place, and its really quite natural when going trough such a big change. And its a lot about relations and who one can work with. It could be that in some countries a roller skate organisation would be perfect for skateboard, while other places it would be outrageous. We were in dialog with both the ice-skate association and the snowboard association, and the reason the ice-skate link was there is because of all the roller sports that are in there. The ice-skate association were really nice to us, and said that we would govern our sport, and they would to everything to facilitate if we wanted to be there, but they understood that our affiliation might be somewhere else. They were also helpful amongst other things with the link internationally, and a few of us from NORB went down to Rome to meet with the president of World Skate, as one of the first countries. We brought along a document from the Norwegian sports association and the Olympic committee saying we represented skateboarding in Norway, and then we were recognized as that.

    Read also: NORB joins NSBF to form Brettforbundet
    Read also: NIF approves skateboarding

But I have to say the part about information being hard to find is a bit familiar.

A challenge might have been that part of the calendar has been difficult to plan by. It has been very short time for the contests, from being official to starting registration and such.

Sometimes it is a bit hard to find information, but if one contacts them to seek information the respons has been pretty good. I dont know if I have any advantages there, since I have skated contests with several of the people in the skate committee in World Skate earlier. It is a bunch of old skaters, so that part is safe i a way, and is very well preserved in the interest of the skaters. They have big judges conferences and judges groups. There are different parts when they have developed the criteria for judging contests, and what should be important and what should not be important. And the width of skaters involved there is pretty comprehensive, so its not figure skating judges that gave been converted to skateboard-judges. They are highly qualified people. They are very keen to keep the direction in skateboarding, as something creative and innovative, as most want.

    Read also: ISF + FIRS = World Skate

Its good that skaters are controlling the things related to skateboarding at least.

Yes, knowing that those that are leading the development of contest, and how they are going to look and be, are people with bruises on their arms themselves is reassuring in a way in my world.

Could you say something about how to get on the national team, for the hopeful?

The national team has kinda been based on those that have gone out and done something and got results, and at the same time wants to be a part of it and represent it. So you would have to go out and skate hard and have something to show for, and want it. After all the support and arrangement we get trough Olympiatoppen is largely based on results.

    Read also: The Norwegian National Skateboard Team

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The Norwegian national team when it was launched in 2017. Photo: NORB.

So if you start getting good results in contests you will get a phone call from Henning?

Yes. Or we cant guarantee it. Its an overall assessment, but we wont ignore a skater that is starting to perform internationally. They will get noticed, and then we would have to take it from there. But its not like we are coming to get someone who does not skate contests, just because they are good. You have to want to go down that road. If not we would have a very big national team, if I were to put on everybody that I thought were skating cool. Because that is something we have enough of here in Norway. The level of skating is insane.

Definitely. Just pop by the indoor skatepark and you will see.

Yes. Also see how Norwegians are in all the international media, and it is being noticed. Norway is an awesome nation.

For sure. Thanks for the chat.

Related Groups

Read more about the Norwegian National Skateboard Team and the Olympics in our wiki.





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