Interview with Anette Boe
Anette Bøe was the superstar of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1985 in Seefeld and won two times gold, one time silver and one time bronze. She is one of the most successful cross-country skiers of all times. 34 years after her big success in Seefeld she is here again. A few hours before the start of the competition we talked with the likable Norwegian about “her” Seefeld, her memories of 1985 and her expectations for the coming days.
Dear Anette, it’s wonderful to welcome you again here in Seefeld, 34 years after your triumph at the first Nordic World Ski Championships here in the Olympic regions. What is your current task here at the Championship?
I currently work here for the Cross Country Academy of Martin Tauber. I am here since December and will stay till the end of March. I am very happy to be able to work with people and to teach them cross-country skiing. I see their delight and it makes me happy. Seefeld is always boosting my energy level, it’s a magical place.
What are your memories of 1985, the most successful year in your long career?
It was a wonderful experience! The year 1985 was by far the most successful of my career. I worked long and hard to achieve my goal to become World Champion. In 1985 my dream came true. Seefeld is my „village of fortune“. I won four medals at those games and I really achieved all my goals.
Two times gold, one time silver and one time bronze – Seefeld truly was golden for you then! Who were your biggest competitors then?
Those were certainly the Russians and Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen from Finland. And of course my Norwegian team mates.
In the local newspaper “Tiroler Tageszeitung” they wrote in 1985: “Anette is conquering all hearts!” Do you have one of the copies as a trophy at home?
I didn’t get hold of a copy then. But I am very happy to have received one now! That’s so sweet of you (laughs). I will have it framed back home. I am very proud that people like me here.
The year 1985 was the year of a big change in style: without the “Siitonen step” you couldn’t win anymore, it was said. You mastered the change perfectly. Can you tell us your secret from that time?
It all started during the Olympic Games in Sarajewo where I staid with my team. There, I recognized that Bill Koch and Gunde Svan had already tried this technique. At the end of 1984 there were the world’s best athletes competing in the North of Sweden. There, the men took away the wax at the start. I thought, I will do the same as the men. Basically, I was the first woman to start with it.
In Seefeld I was in a private training camp and saw that all present teams had introduced the Siitonen step. Therefore I wanted that for myself too. It was a lot of fun and something totally new. That’s the story.
Seefeld now and then. What is your current impression of this Championship village for the second time?
I am very impressed by the change of the cross-country tracks. It looks totally different now. In 1985 start and finish were located right at the church, the stands were situated right of the church and we started up towards the woods.
Seefeld has changed tremendously since that time. For me Seefeld is the best place in the world to do cross-country. Even if my own folks will now be angry. In Norway it’s wonderful of course. But here, in the middle of nature surrounded by these beautiful mountains and the fantastic tracks I love to skate in Seefeld. What do you want more: sun, mountains, friendly people and great tracks – It’s an irresistible combination. In Norway it can be very early dark and very cold. Here, you have much more light and therefore much more energy!
What do you think of the modern World Championship premises here?
I am very proud of Seefeld. I have seen how the mayor and all locals have contributed to this wonderful Championship location and buildings. Everything is open and spectators have a wonderful view from all sides. Everything is perfectly prepared. I have to say I am really of Seefeld.
What is the secret of the cross-country success in your home country, Norway?
I think it’s very popular in Norway and we work a lot with our youth. If you have stars such as Marit Björgen it is much easier to inspire young people to start cross-country skiing. I think it’s a shame that you have all these wonderful cross-country tracks here that people don’t use to the full extent. Maybe thanks to the World Championship cross-country skiing is going to be more popular in Austria. The conditions are certainly like in paradise – in winter as well as in summer.
Norway hast o topstars here: Therese Johaug and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo. Is this going to be another “Norsker festival“?
I am sure they are very strong but don’t underestimate Russia and Finland. Also the Swedish team is ery strong. You shouldn’t forget the Germans and also some Swiss women. And Austria has Teresa Stadtlober. And I believe a lot will fight to get some medals. Johaug and Klæbo are favourites, but you never take medals for granted.
I hope that Teresa Stadtlober is going to be right in front. In Pyoengchang she was close to winning silver but went the wrong way just before the finish line. I hope she is going to fight for victory. For Austria and Seefeld it is important that the local athletes are doing well. I love Austria and therefore I won’t only cheer for Norway but keep my fingers crossed for the Austrians.
Dear Anette, these are wonderful final words. Thank you so much for this wonderful interview!
Fotos: OK Seefeld, Kari Kraus, Tessa Mellinger