Feature | Ski Jumping

Five things you didn't know about Norwegian sensation Halvor Egner Granerud

Granerud has come from nowhere to win five consecutive Ski Jumping World Cup events. Find out more about the former kindergarten assistant from Oslo.

By Ken Browne ·

Halvor Egner Granerud winning World Cup events has become ski jumping's new normal.

He's the latest sensation to roll off Norway's winter sports production line, and the sky's the limit.

The 24-year-old's career took off this season when he exploded onto the podium, claiming five straight World Cup victories and leading his nation to a third consecutive ski flying team world title in Planica.

Granerud became the first Norwegian to win five in a row, surpassing Lillehammer 1994 gold medallist Espen Bredesen and former world champion Ole Bremseth who both managed four.

Oslo-born Granerud is still something of an unknown quantity outside of Norway, so here are five things that will help you get to know him better.

1. The kindergarten assistant turned ski jumping king

He may now be an international high-flyer, but only last summer Granerud was working in a kindergarten in Trondheim.

He largely plied his trade on the second-tier Continental Cup tour last season, earning selection for the two World Cup events in Rasnow, Romania where he finished 31st and 23rd.

Continental Cup wins don't pay the bills, and Granerud had to borrow to get him through the year.

"Life has really turned upside down," he told Norway's NRK.

"I lived on the savings account for well over a year. Now I have been able to repay what I borrowed and have filled up my BSU (young persons' housing savings) account," he said with a smile.

But the kindergarten job wasn't just about money - he enjoyed getting the children active and says disconnecting from the demands of professional sport helped him become a better jumper.

He said, "It was a very nice experience to work there, and something I would like to use later. It was good to do something different.

"As a top athlete, the days are very similar. You work towards the same goal all the time, which is to get better at jumping."

So which is harder, a day of ski jump training or a day spent chasing kids?

"When I train, I get tired in the body," he tells skiforbundet.no. "The legs become heavy, and going up a flight of stairs becomes a chore.

"After a day in kindergarten, both the head and the body are worn out!"

2. The second most famous man in the family

Ski jumping is huge in Norway and almost everyone knows him now, but Granerud plays second fiddle in his family to his late great grandfather Torbjørn Egner who wrote the children's classic 'Hakkebakkeskogen'.

Asked by Norway's TV2 if he's now in a popularity contest with Egner, who passed away in 1990 aged 78, he laughed, "It will take at least take a couple of Olympic golds to get there."

Hakkebakkeskogen is a story about a mouse and his friends who live in fear of being eaten by the fox and other predators who do not care about other animals.

In classic Scandinavian fashion they then get together to make some laws so they can all co-exist in peace.

Granerud collects memorabilia like plates with the story's characters on them and says the multi-generational success has created a strong bond in the family.

"I think I have an even stronger relationship with it than most," he says to TV2.

"The effect of having Torbjørn Egner on top of a family tree means that our family is much more united than families otherwise are. We have family reunions every other year where all relatives are involved."

3. Robert Johansson is "the moose"

Asked which animals are most like his team-mates in the Norwegian ski jumping team by TV2, Granerud doesn't hesitate.

"I think Robert Johansson must be 'Elgen' the moose. I imagine that it is the moose that is most likely to have a beard."

Fitting for the man they call 'The Flying Moustache'.

Anders Fannemel is 'Grandmother Skogmus' who has the ability to fly, "simply because he is the one who has had the world record in ski flying the longest of us on the team," says Granerud.

"The 'Climbing Mouse' writes songs and is a creative type. And Johann Andre Forfang likes to make videos and some blogs, and is a creative type. So then he gets the role of Climbing Mouse."

"Daniel Tande has to be a fox. He has a bit of a leisurely style, and often wears caps. So does the fox. Then he has a little fluttering hair behind, so Tande has to be a fox."

But what about himself?

"I myself must probably become 'Brumlemann'. I'm a little fussy and a little lost. I often need a little help with a few little things. The whole end of Hakkebakkeskogen is that you have to save Brumlemann after he has been kidnapped. But fortunately I have not been kidnapped yet," Granerud smiles.

Introducing 'The Flying Moustache'

Norway's Robert Johansson is a three-time Olympic ski jumping medallist, an...

4. "He's a machine"

From 'Moose' to 'Machine', Olympic gold medallist Johansson is full of praise for his soaring young countryman.

At the Ski Flying World Championships in Planica, Slovenia, it all came down to Granerud and the previous day's individual champion Karl Geiger.

Norway trailed Germany by 11 points going into the final jump, but Granerud delivered in no uncertain terms.

He sailed out to a massive 234.5m scoring 250.1 points, and secured a third straight title for Norway with Geiger unable to get close.

"Totally raw to see Granerud during the day. He is a machine," Johansson said afterwards.

If there was ever any doubt, the competition proved that Granerud is a team player too, ending the final day with practically no voice from roaring on his team-mates.

"It shook my vocal cords, yes," he confirmed.

Norway - Golden Highlights at PyeongChang 2018

Celebrate the achievements of Norwegian athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympic...

5. Jumpers in Christmas jumpers

Fully focused when he's on the hill, Granerud is fun away from competition.

He's into frisbee, golf, gaming, and just about every outdoor action sport there is. And as is clear from his post on Instagram, he loves a good Christmas jumper too.

The caption reads, 'Santa and his helper.'