Athlete of the Month – July 2011

Name: Olav Lundanes
Country: Norway
Discipline: Foot orienteering
Career highlights: World Orienteering Champion (long distance 2010), Junior World Orienteering Champion (long distance 2005&2007, middle distance 2007, relay 2005) 

For our Athlete of July, reigning long distance World Champion Olav Lundanes, travelling isn’t a problem. Which is an advantage when you are away from home 220-230 days per year.

The 23-year-old athlete won the long distance at the World Orienteering Championships last year in Trondheim in a terrain that was very similar to what he grew up with. Something very different is waiting for him at the upcoming World Championships. That is why he has spent as much time in France as at home this year. “When the World Championships begin I will have been about three months in France since August last year”, Olav says.

A lot of travelling

In the end of June Olav visited his family in Western Norway, close to the city Ålesund. In July he’ll be one week with the national team in France, followed by some weeks in high altitude in the Pyrenees. After that he’ll travel to the area where the World Championships will be held in the middle of August. Totally Olav will be away from his home town Halden 220–230 days this year. “If you want to be the best in orienteering you need to get experience, compete, and get new challenges”, he explains.

“The travelling does not bother me. I can easily sleep anywhere, in airplanes and cars when travelling”, he says, and continues: “I am also used to travelling since I was a child, as my family often travelled to competitions all around Norway.”

Even if Olav is used to sleeping anywhere, he still feels tired after training camps. “But after a couple of days at home with less training I feel better again”, he says.

Likes challenges

The terrain in the forest races in the upcoming World Championships is with its thousands of details very different from everywhere else. “I have been so frustrated there at times”, Olav laughs. “But I like new challenges.”

The Norwegian has done well since he was young – he is remembered for his performances at the Junior World Championships in Dubbo, Australia in 2007, where he won two gold and two silver medals. He has also all the time been able to train as he has wanted: he has not had any big injuries at all.

Next year different story

Even if the distance between this year’s and next year’s World Championships terrains is not that long, the terrain next year is not as extreme as in France. That means probably less travelling for Olav: “I will not visit Switzerland as often as I have visited France”, he says.

Winter sports as a hobby

Olav Lundanes is looking forward to the challenges in the French terrain.

Tove Alexandersson, June’s Athlete of the Month, asked Olav:

What is your favourite thing to do when you are not training or doing something related to orienteering?

Olav’s answer was maybe not that surprising. Orienteering or not, sports seem to be his big favourite: “I like to see winter sports like cross country skiing and biathlon on TV.”

Our next athlete of the month will be Thierry Gueorgiou, who will challenge Olav, the reigning World Champion, on the long distance in France. Olav’s question for Thierry is:

What will you do when the World Championships are over?

We will hear Thierry’s answer 1 August when next Athlete of the Month is published, two weeks before the World Orienteering Championships in France begin.

Text and photos: Erik Borg

Previous Athletes’ of the Month

February 2011 Olga Novikova (KAZ)
March 2011 Olli-Markus Taivainen (FIN)
April 2011 Emily Benham (GBR)
May 2011 Søren Saxtorph (DEN)
June 2011 Tove Alexandersson (SWE)

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