Imagen
a male sit skier punches the air in celebration

Jesper Pedersen

Alpine Skiing
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Competing at PyeongChang 2018 was a life-changing experience for Jesper Pedersen. The young Norwegian alpine skier won gold in the men’s giant slalom sitting and bronze in the super-combined.

“Nobody knew me when I went to Korea but when I got back everybody did. The TV coverage from PyeongChang 2018 was good in Norway so lots of people wanted a chat.

“It was pretty cool. Everyone knows me in my hometown anyway but now I'm the guy with a gold medal. They think, 'Whoa'."

It was the cherry on the cake of a perfect season which also saw him climbing onto the top of the World Cup overall standings for the first time.

Following such outstanding results, he received the Paralympic Honour Award from the Norwegian government. He was also presented with the Gold Medal Honour by the Norwegian Ski Federation.

Pedersen, who was born with spina bifida, competed at one World Championships in 2017, failing to reach the podium.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
LW11

Further personal information

Residence
Oslo, NOR
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English, German, Norwegian, Spanish
Higher education
Political Science - University of Oslo: Norway

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He first tried skiing in 2001 with his father in Norway, and began skiing alone in 2007 in Beitostolen, Norway.
Why this sport?
"When I'm skiing I feel free and I'm able to do the same things as my friends. I also [enjoy] going fast down hills and competing."
Club / Team
Plogen IL: Norway
Name of coach
Hans Blattmann [national], NOR

International debut

Year
2014
Competing for
Norway
Location
Landgraaf, NED

General interest

Hobbies
Athletics, cycling, spending time with friends and family, swimming, table tennis, badminton. (skiforbundet.no, 01 Mar 2020; NPC Media Guide, 2018)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold at the 2021 World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, and the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (paralympic.org, 24 Jan 2022)
Most influential person in career
His father. (Athlete, 05 Mar 2018)
Hero / Idol
Norwegian alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal. (Athlete, 05 Mar 2018)
Injuries
In 2018 he was affected by a heart infection and was unable to ski for six months. He returned to competition in January 2019. (paralympic.org, 22 Mar 2019, 10 Dec 2018; nrk.no, 03 Jul 2018)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
He always goes through the course with his coach before the start of the race. (Athlete, 22 Jun 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"With enough training, you can do anything." (paralympic.org, 10 Dec 2018)
Awards and honours
In 2018 he received the Paralympic Honour Award from the Norwegian government. He was also presented with the Gold Medal Honour by the Norwegian Ski Federation. (regjeringen.no, 07 Jun 2018; langrenn.com, 04 Jun 2018)
Other sports
He has competed in Para athletics for the Akra IL club in Norway. (skiforbundet.no, 2016)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (skiforbundet.no, 01 Mar 2020)
Impairment
He was born with spina bifida and is paralysed from the waist down. (tv2.no, 05 Jan 2022; skiforbundet.no, 01 Mar 2020; Athlete, 05 Mar 2018)
Other information
TRIBUTE TO LATE FATHER
His father Bjorn passed away in November 2020, at age 51, after a heart attack. In January 2022 Pedersen won gold in sitting downhill at the world championships in Lillehammer, Norway, and dedicated the victory to his late father. "He can take a large part of the credit for that win. I would not be where I am today without him. The gold is in his honour. I have him with me in my mind all the time. And I have a picture of him. Dad first took me skiing when I was two years old." (vg.no, 14 Jan 2022; tv2.no, 05 Jan 2022; paralympic.org, 15 Jan 2022)

RAISING AWARENESS
In early 2021 he auctioned five kilograms of cheese that he had received as a prize at a World Cup event in Veysonnaz, Switzerland. His intention was to raise awareness of the difference between what Para alpine skiers and their able-bodied counterparts receive for winning races. The cheese was sold to a bidder for 50,000 Norwegian kroner [around 5000 euros]. "It was a stunt, but the response has been incredible. I did it mostly to shed light on the topic. People who were not aware that there was such a great difference now think it is wrong that I do not receive a single kroner while able-bodied skiers can get 600,000 kroner for winning a race. I try to increase awareness of the differences that exist. We need attention so that people will open their eyes to us." (nrk.no, 07 Mar 2021; tv2.no, 04 Feb 2021)

PARALYMPIC SUCCESS
He was Norway's sole gold medallist at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, claiming victory in the sitting giant slalom. "Nobody knew me when I went to [the Republic of] Korea but when I got back everybody did. The TV coverage from Pyeongchang 2018 was good in Norway so lots of people wanted a chat. It was pretty cool. Everyone knows me in my hometown anyway but now I'm the guy with a gold medal. They think, 'Whoa'." (paralympic.org, 10 Dec 2018)

Results

Unit Date Rank
2017 IPC Alpine skiing World Championships Tarvisio, ITA (Tarvisio, Italy)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Downhill Sitting Race 1 2017-01-25 8
Men's Super-G Sitting Race 1 2017-01-26 7
Men's Super-Combined Sitting Race 1 2017-01-28 6
Men's Giant Slalom Sitting Race 1 2017-01-30 9999
Men's Slalom Sitting Race 1 2017-01-31 5
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Downhill Sitting Final 2018-03-10 6
Men's Super-G Sitting Final 2018-03-11 4
Men's Super Combined Sitting Final 2018-03-13 3
Men's Giant Slalom Sitting Final 2018-03-14 1
Men's Slalom Sitting Final 2018-03-17 5
Kranjska Gora/Sella Nevea 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships (Kranjska Gora/Sella Nevea, Slovenia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Giant Slalom Sitting Race 1 2019-01-21 3
Men's Slalom Sitting Race 1 2019-01-23 2
Men's Downhill Sitting Race 1 2019-01-30 7
Men's Super-Combined Sitting Race 1 2019-01-31 2
Men's Super-G Sitting Race 1 (from SC) 2019-01-31 3