Norway's Espen Jansen, 42 and a veteran of 14 world championships, described how he is spending the holidays — in and out of the gym.
IG Online continues its yearly holiday series, bringing you the scoop on what the world's best gymnasts will be up to at the end of 2010!
IG's John Crumlish is in Scandinavia this week, where 42-year-old Espen Jansen of Norway, a veteran of 14 world championships, described how he is spending the holidays — in and out of the gym.
"On Christmas Eve I trained, of course," said Jansen, who has won 11 Norwegian all-around titles. "Two of my kids went with me. I’m doing a lot of power training now, together with a cross-country skier. We are working really hard, so they see that even grown-up people are crazy and working hard on Christmas Eve."
Jansen, who trains and coaches at the Hoppensprett club in Jessheim (near Oslo), said he welcomed the gymnasts he coaches to join him, too.
"Even during Christmas, I email all the kids in the 6-7 and 8-to-12 age groups," Jansen said. "If they are interested, I will be there training and they can come. Normally the coaches have a holiday. Some of the gymnasts are really happy to have the whole big gym. They come running in and really like it."
After training, Jansen said he and his family enjoyed a traditional Norwegian Christmas Eve celebration. Among the delicacies they enjoyed were sheep ribs, a holiday specialty from Jansen’s native western Norway.
"We had my wife's family over, and Santa came over after dinner," Jansen said. "Santa is the ticket for all the presents, so you need to be there or there are no presents."
Gymnastics is a genuine family affair for all four of Jansen’s children: Jesper, Emma, Mikkel and Maja. All of them are involved in the sport.
"The oldest one (Jesper) trains two times a week with fun training," Jansen said. "It's just fun things, like trampoline, and training on snowboard and twin-tip skiing skills most of the time. Emma is trying a little more to be a gymnast. She's training up to five times a week. She thinks she's trying really hard, but she doesn't really know yet (laughs). The two youngest ones are just playing at the moment, but we’ll see if we can convince them to work hard."
Jansen said his New Year's resolution did not sit well with his wife.
"I was trying to tell her that next year I was going to start training hard," Jansen told IG. "She didn't look too happy."
Check back at IG Online for more reports from Scandinavia this week!