Encouraging children to participate in local sports and living within their means have been one of the pivotal reasons behind Norway’s brilliant run in the Winter Olympics, The Guardian reported on Friday. The Scandinavian country currently sits on top of the table in Pyeongchang with 36 medals, which includes 13 golds.
The children are asked to play without their competitive shoes before their teens in local sports clubs, which Norway’s Olympic Committee says played a huge part in it’s success. The country has a population of 5.3 million, less that than one-fourth of Mumbai.
“Our vision is sport for all,” Tom Tvedt of the Olympic Committee says. “Before you are 12 you should have fun with sport. So we don’t focus on who the winner is before then. Instead we are very focused on getting children into our 11,000 local sports clubs. And we have 93 percent of children and young people regularly playing sport in these organisations.”
And the transition from local clubs is also streamlined and is built through a carefully constructed programme.
“All our medals have come from athletes who have started in local clubs. If an athlete is good, we will then bring them to the Olympiatoppen – our elite sports centre, where the top sport science comes into the picture,” Tvedt added.
With countries like Britain and USA spending heaps of cash on their athletes, the report stated that Norway’s sports federation works on a shoestring budget of £13.7 million.
Togetherness and community building has also played a substantial role in Norway’s stupendous ascendancy. During the off season, the entire Winter Olympics squad train together, with their partners in tow. “We believe there is no good explanation for why you have to be a jerk to be a good athlete,” skier Kjetil Jansrud, who won silver and bronze in Pyeongchang said. “We just won’t have that kind of thing on our team.”
The top athletes in the country also have no qualms about paying from their pocket to allow poorer ones to train.
“That kind of attitude is basically running through the whole system,” Norway’s equestrian Morten Aasen, who had competed in the 1992 Olympics said. “We don’t do skeleton or bobsleigh, like Britain, because that costs too much money. It is a paradox in Norway. We are a very rich country but we believe in the socialist way of doing things. That success should be from working hard and being together.”