Olaf Tufte of Norway racing at
the 2008 Rowing World Cup in
Tufte’s training. He estimates that Tufte rows
5,000km a year – at least.
Ovrebo coached Tufte through to silver in the
double at the 2000 Olympics and then gold
in 2004 in the single. He then left his coaching
job and started working for Norway’s Olympic
Committee. Bjoern-inge Pettersen took over
as Norway’s head coach.
“For the last four years most of the day-to-day
training for Olaf has been with Bjoern-inge.
But my relationship with Olaf has developed
into a strong one so we have maintained
dialogue all along.” Pettersen took over Tufte’s
technical development and daily routine,
with Ovrebo coming in for regattas. “Nearer
to the Olympics in Beijing, we agreed that
my responsibility was Olaf’s wholeness, his
as race manager, was the one that went to
Beijing with Tufte.
“Olaf had a heavy influence on that decision,”
says Ovrebo. “In the last part leading up to
Beijing, from Poznan (Rowing World Cup) on,
it was Olaf and me alone.”
outsider. “We did not define Olaf as defending
champion, we defined him as the challenger,
a dark horse,” says Ovrebo. “Olaf preferred it
this way. It did not mean less work but part of
his preparation was how to attack.”
Apart from two coaches, a large team was
assembled behind Tufte leading to the Beijing
Olympics, including psychologists, strength
trainers and doctors. Ovrebo oversaw this
team and on race days became Tufte’s
manager. Because only one coach could be
accredited for the Beijing Olympics, Ovrebo,
Winning gold at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic
Games required t wo very different approaches.
Leading up to Athens, Tufte was the favourite.
As the 2003 World Champion, all eyes were on
him to dominate at the Olympics.
In typical Tufte style, the sculler maintained
heavy training loads right through to the
last few weeks before Beijing. He was well
prepared. The respiratory problems that had
begun in 2004 were under control, he was
relishing the role of underdog and a second
Olympic gold was the reward.
The lead up to Beijing was significantly
different. For 2008, Tufte saw himself as the