Birgit Skarstein wins Norway’s first Paralympics gold in Tokyo: “It was like a dream”

Birgit SkarsteinPhoto: Torstein Bøe / NTB

32-year-old Birgit Skarstein had set herself the goal of winning a medal at the Paralympics in Tokyo. In Sunday’s rowing final, no one could stop Skarstein, and she secured a gold medal.

In the games in 2016, Skarstein ended up in fourth place, and in Tokyo, the rower aimed for a place on the podium.

Skarstein took a clear lead from the start. 

“The strategy was to scare the others a little from the start and psyche them out a little,” Skarstein told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) after the race.

With the clear lead, it was all just about avoiding falling into the water, losing an oar, or other slip-ups.

Norway’s first Paralympics gold medal in Tokyo

She continued to increase her lead, and thus Skarstein was able to secure her first gold medal in the Paralympics with a time of 10.56.88. It was also Norway’s first Paralympics gold in Tokyo.

“Fantastic. It was like a dream. It was exactly the way I trained for it,” Skarstein said.

The 32-year-old from Levanger qualified directly for the final by winning in the trials on Friday night.

This gave Skarstein the advantage of starting in the best course, which is usually course 4. But since there were demanding wind conditions in Tokyo, as it was also during the Olympics, Skarstein switched to course 1.

“There was a bit of a tricky wind… So we got to use all the tricks in the book,” Skarstein said about the weather conditions.

The newly crowned gold winner said she was aware of how important the national team rowing coach, Johan Flodin, has been to her. The Swede is resigning as coach after the Paralympics.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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