The Norwegians Have Arrived!
By David Summerfield
In scouring the internet for interesting world records, I landed on Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s 2-mile world record (last year). This Norwegian has amassed so many world records, starting early as a 15-year-old, and getting faster each year. The Ingebrigtsen family boasts three fast brothers: Jakob, Filip and Henrik, all coached by their father Gjert.
Here’s Jakob winning the 5000 meter race final in Eugene, OR in 2022 (13:09) via wikipedia.
Jakob was the 1st 16-year-old to run a sub-4:00 mile (3:58), and he lowered that each year. His two older brothers (Filip at 24 and Henrik at 26) were in the same meet, and ran a 3:56 and 3:53, respectively. What caught my attention most was his 7:54.10 2-mile time last year in Paris. That’s averaging a 3:57 mile back-to-back. He beat the 25-year old record set by Daniel Komen (7:58) in 1997. His other amazing achievements include the mile at the Prefortaine Classic in Eugene, OR, where he ran a 3:43:73. The world record of 3:43:13 still stands (held by Hicham El Guerrouj). Enough stats for now. Of interest (to me) is that Norway has a TV reality series called “Team Engebrigtsen”, which ran for 5 seasons. In it the three middle-distance runners shared the trials and tribulations of their lives as runners.
Henrik, Jakob, and Filip hamming it up in Berlin, 2018 via nzz.ch.
Here’s Jakob as a 16-year old running the 3:58 mile via vg.no.
While Norwegians are more known for their winter sports heroics, now they can add an amazing trio of brothers who all run faster times than any other group. Of course I am interested in knowing the specifics of how the three were coached at such early ages.
I grew up being inspired by another Norwegian, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who has won more Olympic gold medals (8) than any other Winter Olympian (13 total medals). He’s a biathlete, carrying an eight-pound rifle on his back, skiing three 3.3km loops, and Ole prefers the standing shot. He has five shots at a target (penalized an additional 150 meter loop for every missed shot) and shoving back on his skis to repeat the process over and over. Somehow he has managed to keep his throbbing heartbeat from making him miss the mark more than any other athlete. Any of you readers who know how to skate ski should understand. Just carrying the rifle is enough of a distraction. So, I’ll just finish with a picture of Ole Bjørndalen doing the impossible. (Oh, and he just turned 50, and he is the same height as me, and we both ski on Madshus skis, and of course I wear the signature Bjørndalen jacket).
Ole Einar Bjørndalen in competition via delfi.ee.
Oh, and he has now retired, but I discovered that promising Norwegian athletes (like other nordic countries) attend “sports schools” – in their teens – so they train year round and that explains in a small way why Americans (and me specifically) can never enter their world of super-athlete-dom.
Hmmm, his skis look just like mine….the comparison ends there! Via sportyzive.cz.