Berger Named Head Coach for Disabled National Team

Berger Named Head Coach for Disabled National Team
Lars Berger at the IBU World Cup in Hochfilzen (AUT) December 2013. Photo: Madshus
Lars Berger at the IBU World Cup in Hochfilzen (AUT) December 2013. Photo: Madshus

Madshus skier Lars Berger (NOR), 35, was announced head coach for cross-country and biathlon to the Norwegian national disabled ski team.

Berger, who lives just north of Lillehammer, officially steps into the position on May 1, which is traditionally the kick-off date for the new racing season. But Berger is already settled into the National Ski Association/National Biathlon Association offices in Oslo and ready to launch.

“When I decided to retire from full-time skiing after this season, this position presented itself as a perfect opportunity to stay involved. The top disabled skiers put down every bit as much training effort as those on the regular World Cup circuit, and I’m really excited to get started,” Berger said in a press release Monday.

As a joint effort with the Norwegian Olympic Development Center (Olympiatoppen) and the National Biathlon Team, the Norwegian Ski Association has established a combined national team for the biathletes and cross-country skiers, which will embark on its first season this year.

Aage Skinstad, the National Team Director with the Norwegian Ski Association, is excited to have Berger as the head coach.

“We feel extremely fortunate to have a head coach in place who is a World Champion in both biathlon and cross-country skiing. With experience at the top level from both biathlon and cross-country skiing, we believe Lars is the right man to lead this team to both the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Paralympics, and develop the best IPC national team in the world,” Skinstad said.

“This new combined effort with Olympiatoppen and the National Biathlon Association is really exciting, and we are really looking forward to contribute with our resources,” he added.

Lars Berger is one of only a handful skiers who have won World Championship gold medals at both the FIS Nordic World Championships as well as the IBU World Championships.

Berger helped Norway to a gold medal in the biathlon relay at the 2009 IBU World Championships in South Korea, and in 2007, he won the individual gold medal in 15km skate event at the FIS World Championships in Sapporo, and also helped Norway to gold in the men’s 4x10km relay at the same World Championships.

He was also a part of the Norwegian cross-country team that won gold in the 2005 FIS World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Additionally, Berger has a silver medal from the biathlon relay at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and four silver medals from IBU World Championships (2004, 2007 and 2009), and seven Norwegian National Championship titles.