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Vilde Nilsen - PyeongChang 2018

Vilde Nilsen

Nordic Skiing
1

Vilde Nilsen is one of Norway’s emerging stars in Nordic skiing.

She made a name for herself at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, claiming an unexpected silver in the women’s cross-country sprint standing.

Nilsen extended her success into the new season, with five golds and one silver in cross-country, and two silvers in biathlon across two World Cups. She is now preparing for her second World Championships, set to take place in Prince George, Canada.

At her first in Finsterau, Germany, in 2017, she finished fifth in both the cross-country sprint and mixed relay.

When she is not on the skis, Nilsen can be seen going on forest walks with her dog, fishing, hunting, playing the violin, guitar and piano.

At age eight she contracted linear scleroderma in her left foot, leg, thigh and hip. The condition attacks the skin, muscles and connective tissue and resulted in restricted mobility in the joints, less muscle mass and a leg length difference.

"I've always been a girl with a lot of energy and a great competitive spirit. I think it was sport that helped me through the most difficult time when my illness was at its worst."

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Impaired range of motion, Leg length difference
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
LW4

Further personal information

Residence
Lillehammer, NOR
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
Norwegian

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began skiing in 2003, at age two, in Norway. She took up biathlon at age nine, and started focusing on Para sport at age 13.
Why this sport?
She was introduced to skiing by her parents. "They taught me to love the sport." She discovered Para sport after watching the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. "I've always been a girl with a lot of energy and a great competitive spirit. I think it was sport that helped me through the most difficult time when my illness was at its worst."
Club / Team
Kvaloysletta Skilag: Tromsø, NOR
Name of coach
Magnus Evenby [national], NOR
Training Regime
In March 2021 she said she had been working on her upper-body strength. "I'm doing a lot of strength training for my upper body and double pole training both in the summer and winter. I've [also] been training a lot with able-bodied persons this year."

General interest

Nicknames
Vildus (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Hobbies
Fishing, hunting, playing the guitar, piano and violin. (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning silver in the standing sprint classic event at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Most influential person in career
Her brother and sister. (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Hero / Idol
Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjorgen. (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She listens to music before competing. (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"See opportunities, not limitations." (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Awards and honours
She was named the 2019 Female Para Athlete of the Year in Norway. (aftenposten.no, 13 Jan 2020; Instagram profile, 05 Jan 2020)
Other sports
She has represented Norway in both Para biathlon and Para cross-country skiing. At the 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Prince George, BC, Canada, she won four gold medals in cross-country events and one bronze in biathlon. She also competed in both sports at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, claiming silver in the cross-country sprint classic event. (SportsDeskOnline, 18 Nov 2021)
Ambitions
To win gold at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Impairment
At age eight she contracted linear scleroderma in her left foot, leg, thigh, and hip. The condition attacks the skin, muscles, and connective tissue, and resulted in restricted mobility in her joints, less muscle mass, and a leg length difference. (skiforbundet.no, 01 Jan 2016)
Other information
BIATHLON
She competes in both Para biathlon and Para cross-country skiing. "I have been doing biathlon for a very long time and I just had a break this year [speaking in 2020]. I tried to focus on biathlon for a while, but it was very hard to focus on cross-country too because I had to do some classic skiing. It takes a lot of time to train with the weapon and it took up a lot of energy. So this year I decided to just focus on cross-country." (paralympic.org, 16 May 2020)

AMBASSADOR
In 2020 she became an ambassador for MOT, a global charity founded by Norwegian speed skaters Atle Varvik and Johann Olav Koss, which aims to create a safer society through education and sports. "I wanted to become an ambassador for MOT because I want to help promote bravery. For me it has been necessary and important to be brave, to be able to reach my goals and have a good daily life. When I got sick and also got my impairment, I decided to see it as an opportunity, not a limitation. I had to be brave and dare to have the courage to live a valuable life. That is why MOT has been very important to me." (mot.no, 27 May 2020)

Results

Unit Date Rank
2017 IPC Nordic skiing World Championships Finsterau, GER (Finsterau, Germany)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Sprint - Free Style Standing Final 2017-02-12 5
Mixed Relay Final 2017-02-15 5
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 6km Standing Final 2018-03-10 5
Women's 1.5km Sprint Classic Standing Final 2018-03-14 2
Women's 7.5km Classic Standing Final 2018-03-17 5
4x2.5km Mixed Relay Final 2018-03-18 8
Prince George 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships (Prince George, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Middle Distance - Free Style Standing Final 2019-02-17 1
Women's Sprint - Free Style Standing Final 2019-02-18 1
Women's Sprint Standing Final 2019-02-20 3
Open Relay Final 2019-02-23 1
Women's Long Distance - Classic Standing Final 2019-02-24 1