Monday, January 17

– it was like a nightmare


The rower Are Strandli had to get on a lifeboat in the semifinals. – It turns black for me.

Are Strandli is picked up from the water by rescuers. It’s broken.

The Norwegian double scull medal candidates used words like shocking and surreal. For 13 years on the same boat, Strandli (32) and his partner Kristoffer Brun (33) have never experienced the boat capsizing. It happened when it mattered most, in a semi-final at the Olympics. About 250 meters from the finish line.

Strandli’s oar got into the water badly. He lost it. There were crosswinds and waves, but they had tackled it so far in the race.

Suddenly they were both in the water. The ship capsized, but stopped first. It happened as the years passed. The ship capsized.

They were in the hot water for so long before Strandli was taken up in an inflatable boat that said Rescue.

The partner returned to the rowboat and finished alone towards the finish line.

– It was shocking, said coach Johan Flodin, who followed the race in an accompanying car on the ground.
He did not believe in his own eyes.

Words like “horrible” were repeated. The Swede explained that it’s easy to get tired on the forearm at the end of such a run of over 2000 meters, but again: I’ve never experienced this before.

Strandli in the water, Kristoffer Brun looms over the boat.

– There are no words

Then they stayed there afterward, the two rowers who had gotten together and dried up. What happened?
They tried to explain.

Kristoffer Brun had to use two fingers to stop the tears. They pressed in the corner of the eye. Right next door was a Dutch women’s team that brilliantly announced a race for the medals. The contrast was great.

Are Strandli, who in any case intended to give up, tried to get his voice out. The throat was soft. It was marked.

– There are no words.

I was so sorry. The duo that took bronze in the previous Olympics was the one that surpassed it in Tokyo. Everything had been taken care of during the season. The wins and gold at the WC 2013 and EC 2018 would also become gold at the Olympics.

Are Strandli is sad because he was the one who lost the oars. Feel shame and guilt.

– It was unreal at the Olympics, unreal. I felt like we had done everything right. It’s like a nightmare.

The veteran takes a break, thinks a bit, looks at all the mobiles on a table in front of him, and records the sound of both of them.

– He turned black, continues Strandli when asked to explain what he thought when he realized that the end of the year failed him. The waves, the wind, there’s a lot to blame. It did not.

Warm hug in goal, but comfort is scarce. Coach Johan Flodin takes over at Are Strandli.

The moment they didn’t imagine

Brun has gotten to the hooks long enough to report how he experienced the situation.

– It was a nightmare. It was the most absurd moment of a life. And then it happens in an Olympic semi-final. We were going to that final. There was no question about it.

For Are Strandli, it is special. It will hand itself over as an asset. Even the last year of overtime has just been a chapter I wanted to finish. But it shouldn’t end like this.

What has driven him and his partner to be together in recent years has been precisely the golden dream. It was realistic.

– I will not row a meter after this, says Strandli firmly.

And add:

– I feel like we deserved better. But sadly, that’s the way high-level sports are.

Strandli is so upset that he hardly knows if they will be able to handle Final B. Since Brun kept rowing and reached the finish, they have a chance to do it. But does it make any sense?

– I have to think about that, says the man from Stavanger, before press manager Halvor Lea says:

– Enough.

The three disappear outside the area where the journalists may be. When a couple of tents pass, Lea puts her arms around their shoulders.

A class that no one had imagined.

NB Final B takes place on Thursday. Norway came in last place, six minutes behind the winner Germany.


www.aftenposten.no

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