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Norway's Skregelid: 'For Me This Is Just The Beginning'
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Recently crowned Northern European all-around champion Martine Skregelid of Norway tells IG about the dramatic improvements she made since the world championships earlier this month, and the even higher hopes she now has for herself and her country.

In this IG Online interview, recently crowned Northern European all-around champion Martine Skregelid of Norway details the dramatic improvements she made since the world championships earlier this month, and the even higher hopes she now has for herself and her country.

The 19-year-old Skregelid was the most successful female gymnast at the Northern European Championships in Torshavn, the Faroe Islands, held October 21-22. She won the all-around gold medal with 50.450 points, ahead of silver medalist Irina Sazonova of Iceland (49.666) and her bronze medal-winning Norwegian teammate Thea Mille Nygård (49.250). In the apparatus finals, Skregelid won gold on balance beam and bronze on vault. She also led Norway to gold in the team competition.

Skregelid's performance at Northern Europeans was noticeably more consistent and confident than at the 2017 World Championships in Montreal that took place October 2-8. In the Faroe Islands, she bettered her all-around total of Montreal by nearly five points and bettered her balance beam score alone by approximately three points.

Born July 6, 1999, Skregelid is a veteran of two world championships and two European senior championships. She placed 20th all-around at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, and competed at the 2015 European Games in Baku. Skregelid trains 25 hours per week at Asker Turnforening in Asker. Her coaches are 1988 Romanian Olympian Valentin Pintea on vault, uneven bars and floor exercise; and Polish-born Joanna Uracz on balance beam and floor exercise.

Skregelid shares her thoughts on the advancements she made from Montreal to the Faroe Islands, her new title as Northern European all-around champion and the promise she sees in the future of Norwegian gymnastics.



Skregelid with her all-around trophy at the 2017 Northern European Championships

IG: You had a very steady set of routines in the Faroe Islands, and a much better overall performance than earlier this month in Montreal. To what do you attribute your consistency at Northern Europeans, compared to Montreal?

MS: I am much more satisfied with my performance in the Faroe Islands than in Montreal. I think that what I did in Montreal had a big impact on my performances at Northern Europeans. Because worlds went that bad, I was inspired to work harder before Northern Europeans, which also was my last competition this season. After worlds, I had two weeks to work on my routines and improve my execution a little bit. I learned from my mistakes in Montreal, and worked on them in the training in between the two competitions. That included many repetitions of my routines and some adjustments.

IG: How much of a surprise was winning the all-around title at Northern Europeans, and how has it boosted your confidence even further?

MS: The all-around win came to me as a big surprise and it makes me very inspired and motivated. I had never imagined that a Norwegian girl would win the all-around at the Northern Europeans, but this proves that Norway is improving as a gymnastics nation. Of course, it is still a big gap between us and the better teams in Europe and the rest of the world, but for me, this is a beginning.

IG: You have been a mainstay for Norway at the big senior competitions of 2015, 2016 and 2017. With your new title as Northern European all-around champion, what improvements do you hope to make in 2018 so you can challenge all of Europe and the rest of the world?

MS: I am very lucky to have been able to represent Norway in many international competitions in the last few years, and it has been really fun and motivating. With this new title, I am inspired to continue my gymnastics career. I wish to continue representing my country, and hopefully compete at the big competitions next year, such as the European Championships in Glasgow or the World Championships in Doha. I have a wish to participate in one of these big competitions and really be able to show what I can do, by performing a set of steady routines, and then see if I have what it takes. As improvements for the next year, I hope to have stable and clean routines, and I want to improve both my Execution and Difficulty scores.


Skregelid at the 2015 Northern European Championships

IG: For a lot of the up-and-coming countries, the new rules make to difficult to create routines that have enough difficulty to compete against the best gymnasts in the world. What is your opinion of these rules? And what suggestions would you make to make the rules not only challenging to everyone, but encouraging to the lesser countries?

MS: I agree that the rules can make it difficult to compete against the best gymnasts in the world. Anyway, I like that the rules changes, because it creates variation in the sport. Sometimes the rules can give you advantages, and sometimes they make it more difficult. I don't think I have any suggestions that I would make about the new rules.

 

IG: After leading Norway to the team title at Northern Europeans, what do you think Norway can and should do, to not only stay on top not only in Northern Europe, but challenge the rest of Europe, too?

 

MS: I am so proud of the team for taking the gold in the team competition. I hope that Norway will continue to stay on the top in Northern Europe, and maybe even in Europe one day. If we are going to able to do that, I think it is important to work together as a country and collaborate even more — for example, by having national training camps. There are a lot of gymnasts in Norway, on many different levels, and I think that the country has a lot of potential. I personally do not see any reasons why we can't be as good as other countries. We will just have to work harder and smarter.

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