Kjetil Jansrud – born 1985 in Stavanger, is an alpine skier on the FIS World Cup circuit. He won an Olympic Gold Medal in Super-G in Sochi 2014, as well as Bronze in Downhill in Sochi 2014 and Silver in Giant Slalom in Vancouver 2010. He is a three time World Cup Winner in Super-G and Downhill, and has been additional 12 times on the World Cup Podium across three disciplines.
Written by the Athlete:
I was born the 28th of August 1985 in Stavanger, Norway. No, i was not born with skis attached to my feet, nor was the first thing i said “i wanna go race”. I was the second kid in a line of four in our family. three years younger than my sister, i was the boy who was destined to give mom and dad headaches.
I spent the first two years of my life in Randaberg, which is a small town outside of Stavanger. Dad worked in the oil business and at that point there wasn’t really anything that would point me out to become a skier. However, i was pretty good at running around the house with kitchen knives i happened to find, and my favorite part time hobby was to throw rocks into the ocean. oh well, i was two.
Shortly after i turned three years old our family moved to Vinstra, which is about one hour north of the 1994 Olympic city of Lillehammer. That became the single most important factor in me turning into a skier. Mom and Dad had always been very active when it came to sports and activities, and since Vinstra is located in the midst of Norway’s winter paradise it was pretty much given. I got my first cross-country skis when i was 3 and from there on out i have been pretty much glued to anything that is made of wood and usable on snow.
The rest of the years following was as normal as any other kid. Except for the training of course. I attended school as any other would, the only difference being that after i was done with my homework, dad was ready in the car, taking me to wherever training was. It could have been soccer, badminton, judo (…) I did a lot of different sports when i was young, which i am very grateful for today.
At the age of seven i got my first alpine skis. It was a gift from my uncle/aunt and it was the gift that would change everything.
Around the same time i got my first alpine skis. There were a few enthusiasts around Vinstra who figured they would start a alpine ski-club.
Dad, being the sports fanatic he is, decided it was a great idea for us to try it out. Since i loved alpine skiing, this became the start of numerous years together with the other skiers and coaches. The club was named Peer Gynt Alpintklubb (read more about Peer Gynt here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_Gynt) and togheter with Amund Rudi, dad started from scratch in a club that was eventually going to have three out of four full-time racers on the national team.
It was a match made in heaven from day one. Amund and Dad got along perfectly, and i made tons of new friends. on another note: that is why i have come to love sports so much. regardless of your results you will always make friends, and often friends for life.
We spent the following years training at Gålå ski resort. Its a cozy area about 25minutes drive from Vinstra, and thinking back, it was the perfect place to start a career of skiing. Also, training lead to racing. I remember us having this good old Peugeot J5. Its sort of a minivan, just on the “garbage” side of the scale. No offence Peugeot. However, it did it’s job, and before we condemned it, we had driven it around 300 000km. of which aproximately 200 000 being purely for training/racing. Beat that!
At the age of 14 the ski federation in norway picked out the best young athletes in norway for a competition called “Trofeo Topolino” in Italy. It is still going strong, and is considered some kind of World championships for young skiers. I think i lost my ski in the giant slalom part, and i didn’t finish the slalom part, so in many ways it was a rough meeting with the international skiing business. But, it was a start.
At the age of 15 i was done with what we in norway call middle-school (or something like that). And the big question of wether or not to attend a race academy, or ski-gymnaisum came up. It’s like high-school, only you get to work on your skiing skills instead of your mathematical ones.
Being the first in a very long time, i decided not to attend such a school. I had already been selected as one of the few that would make up a newly made reqruitment-team by the Norwegian Ski Federation. and my dad together with the federation decided i would get to travel, and train enough as it were, and that the ski federation would arrange everything i needed in the wintertime, while my dad would control the summer-training.
This worked out great, and i had many years getting to do what i loved the most, with people who have become lifetime friends and also team mates today. The following years i got my international breakthrough in the european cup, as well as a very good international ranking.
Skipping ahead a bit, we find ourselves in 2006. The winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. The previous year i had won the european cup, both the slalom cup, the giant slalom cup and the total cup. I was on the top of my game, feeling unbeatable. I had a fourth place in slalom from beaver creek that season, and was ranked 17 in the slalom cup at the age of 20. However, this season was gonna end horribly.
I didn’t have much results to show in that Olympics. I finished 10th in the combined, which was decent-ish. I was looking foreward to the slalom, but during the giant slalom i managed to break my thumb. it was a complicated fracture of my knuckle, and i had to fly home the same evening and surgery done the following morning back home in Norway. that ended the season for me, but at the start of june i could do some dryland training again. I trained a lot for the upcoming season, determined to make up for the lost races at the end of last season. But i was about to learn a valuable lesson. Never rush it. I got a bulged disc around september that year. Horrified, i tried anything and everything to make it heal faster. But, in the end it put me out of the whole season, and up until october the following year. Injuries are always something that happens to “other” racers. I had never been injured before, the broken thumb i got in Turin was a minor setback, but nothing i would consider an injury. It was the end of the old kjetil. and the beginning of the new.
I spent that year, contemplating on the fact that i was injured, not even close to be able to ski. and if i was ever to be able to come back.
I made a stand, and figured that, throwing the countless hours of training and the amount of time and energy those around me had invested in me down into the trash wasn’t going to cut it.
The road I chose took me on a journey back to the skiing circuit. I’ve never felt as good as did before I got injured, but I’ve worked hard and the results has steadily improved over the last years. The most noticable being the Silver medal in Giant Slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
As some of the best journeys, my road has been made as I’ve traveled. The last four years has been a journey of continuous ups and downs. I scored my first World Cup Victory in 2012 in Kvitfjell and went into the season of 2012/2013 with an eager heart. However, I found myself injured again at the World Championships in Schladming in 2013. From being one of the favourites, the Championship ended the very first day in the Super-G discipline, with a torn ACL and a plane ticket back to Norway. Determined to come back, I kept on working hard and being thorough in my search for details to improve. The rehabilitation of the ACL went faster than many had thought possible, and in Februar 2014 – almost exactly a year after my ACL injury, I managed to fullfill my dream and claimed Gold in Super-G and Bronse in Downhill. This completed my set of Olympic Medals and also brought me through the end of the season with a second wind, scoring my first every Downhill World Cup Victory. Personally when I look back at the season of 2013/2014 I see the achievements as a direct result of being stubborn, working hard – and most importantly, never giving up.
I will be the first to admit that I am a very privileged person to be able to pursue my dreams in a hobby that has turned into a full time job…but the journey isn’t over, and the aim of winning more persists.
To sum it up:
I’ve learned a lot through my years as a skier. Some of my success, but most of all my injuries has developed me as an athlete, but more importantly also as a human being. I hope I can use that knowledge in a positive way and that it will give me that little extra leverage towards becoming that better person, and the athlete that will win more of the races coming in the future.
Life in general
Currently residing in Oslo, I am a guy that enjoys his spare time. I play a little guitar, I enjoy playing games on my computer, I love enjoying what life has to offer and I love the smell of coffee in the morning…. Update: – W0w, things have changed, and not changed in the last years since I updated this section. First of: I don’t play that much on my Computer anymore. It seems the older you get, the day grows shorter. I don’t seem to have as much sparetime as I did a few years back. I still play my guitar(s), and I think I’m getting a little better at it every day.
The plan was to update this section as time went by, but the few questions I have got that regards my social life has now been answered in the “contact me” section. Take a look at it, and if there is anything else you would like to know: Submit your question!