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. He won a Silver Medal in Giant Slalom in Vancouver 2010. In 2018 he finished with a Silver Medal in the PyeongChang Olympic Downhill and got a Bronze in the following Super-G. His total is now 5 Olympic medals, rivaling the best Alpine Skiers through all times. He is a 21-time World Cup Winner in Super-G, Downhill, Super-Combined and Giant Slalom, as well as having been additional 27 times on the World Cup Podium across three disciplines. He has two silver medals from World Championships and a total of 4 Crystal Globes.
Kjetil was born the 28th of August 1985 in Stavanger, Norway. He was, contrary to popular belief in Norway, not born with skis attached to his feet, nor was the first thing he said “I want to go race”. he was the second kid in a line of four in his family.
He spent the first two years of his life in Randaberg, which is a small town outside of Stavanger.
Shortly after he turned three years old his 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 turning him into a skier. He got his first cross-country skis when he was 3 years old, and from there on out he has 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.” He attended school as any other would, the only difference being that after he was done with his homework, his Dad was ready in the car taking him to wherever training was. It could have been soccer, badminton, judo (…) the focus was on doing a lot of different sports when he was young, which he is very grateful for today.
Around the same time (he got his first alpine skis at age 7), there were a few enthusiasts around Vinstra who figured they would start an alpine ski-club.
His Dad, being the sports fanatic, he is, decided it was a great idea for them to try it out. This became the start of numerous years together with 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 together with Amund Rudi, his 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 his Dad got along perfectly.
They spent the following years training at Gålå ski resort. It’s a cozy area about 25 minutes of driving from Vinstra, and looking back it seems the perfect place to start a career of skiing. Also, training lead to racing. He remembers them having this good old Peugeot J5.” It’s sort of a minivan, just on the “garbage” side of the scale. No offence Peugeot. However, it did its job, and before we condemned it, we had driven it around 300 000km of which approximately 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”
Skipping numerous years of training with the National Team, enjoying both the travels and the odd occasion of “lecturing” by his older team-mates, we find ourselves in 2006. The winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. The previous year he had won the European Cup, both the slalom cup, the giant slalom cup and the total cup. “I was on the top of 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 not going to end according to plan.
He didn’t have much results to show in that Olympics. He finished 10th in the combined, which followed his expectations. Unfortunately, during the giant slalom he managed to break his thumb. It was a complicated fracture of his knuckle, and he had to leave the Olympics, fly home the same evening and have surgery done the following morning back home in Norway. That ended the season for him, but at the start of June he was back doing physical 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”. He 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.”.
At a moment of determination, the road he chose took him on a more professional journey back to the skiing circuit. “I’ve never felt as good as I 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” (This was written in 2012 and his back is still a continuous problem today).
In the following years he has battled through several set-backs, including fractures, a torn ACL in the Schladming World Championship, numerous back problems and other knee problems. “As any other athlete, injures are part of a career and you just have to see them through”
“Any way you look at it – the injuries have taught me valuable lessons and I am glad I have experienced those. It has given me a fundament to make the right decisions, and as an extension of that; one of the better stories is how I went from a torn ACL to an Olympic Gold Medal 11 months later in Sochi. But that will be a story too long for this summary. If it interests you, be sure to ask me if you meet me.”
His career is still active, and has since his first podium in Adelboden 2009 continued to reach his goals. A full summary of results and achievements can be found here: