SNARØYA (VG) Norway’s Olympic gold hopeful couple claim they have become better at talking to each other after Kristin Skaslien (36) four years ago apologized for cursing at the curling ice in Pyeongchang – before she and Magnus Nedregotten (31) was awarded the bronze medals.
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– Oh yes, what did I really say? Was it so ugly? I think I so sorry, Kristin Skaslien answers confronted with the reactions open microphone to the TV viewers created when she and Magnus Nedregotten who always had heated discussions during the game in the 2018 Olympics.
– You must never say sorry. Then they discover it, Magnus shoots in during the interview’s introduction on the second floor over the rough ice, brooms and stones in Snarøya curling hall out on Fornebulandet – two weeks before their departure for the winter games in China.
He adds that at that time – because of all the media management they were not used to – they put on “a little” more ties.
– A little? Quite a lot more, Kristin points out.
Four years after the first ever mixed doubles tournament in the Olympics, she and Magnus are the same loudly outgoing – “at least”. He believes that it has literally increased in strength because they have played on more self-confidence, she that it is part of their team dynamics.
– To get what we have inside us, and move on, says Kristin Skaslien.
– We probably shoot more from the hip than they do in a team that does not have such a close, close relationship privately. It’s an advantage. Then you get it out right away, the husband adds.
They also agree that the exchanges are more constructive than they were.
– We have become better at talking together, he thinks.
Much has changed for the curling couple, as they call themselves on Instagram, after losing the bronze final in mixed doubles to OAR (Olympic athletes from Russia) in South Korea four years ago – but 11 days later were celebrated as winners of it because the male part (Alexander Krushelnitsky) of the Russian couple had given a positive doping test.
Magnus Nedregotten and Kristin Skaslien married in 2019, six years after he first proposed to her.
– I missed her very much, he says about the background for the first courtship in 2013.
She was on a boat across the Atlantic. Five years later, she issued an ultimatum. If there was no wedding “now”, the proposal would be out of date. The following year it was in a box, or estate.
They have received a private sponsor, which they have kept after Kristin quit her full-time job in the shipping company behind the sponsorship. Now they share a 50 percent position as teachers at the Norwegian top sports high school’s curling line in Lillehammer. Four years ago, they received the Olympic Summit’s B scholarship (70,000), then they were good enough for A-scholarship (120,000).
Before the Olympics in South Korea, they trained around 500 hours a year, in the years leading up to the upcoming Olympics, according to Magnus Nedregotten, they are up to 750 hours.
In May last year, they won the World Cup silver medal after a final loss to Scotland in Aberdeen. After winning a tournament in Gothenburg before the New Year, they top the world rankings. However, they do not place much emphasis on that. Kristin believes that all 10 participating nations, at least five to seven, can win a medal in Beijing. The mixed doubles tournament starts two days before the Olympic flame is lit and the final takes place on February 8 – the day before the men’s team tournament starts.
Magnus Nedregotten is a reserve for Norway’s Olympic team «Team Walstad», while Kristin Skaslien is scheduled to travel home to Norway on 11 February. Then all theirs around is counted 3500 days as a curling couple over. Magnus will continue on the men’s national team until the Olympics in Italy in 2026, Kristin says that there are other things in life as well. When asked what, she answers “try to get a job” and to be with aunts.
Under mild pressure, «family increase».
She has a degree in logistics engineering, has a master’s degree in management and technology. During the corona period, she has studied sports management at the Norwegian Sports Academy.
– Impressive. She works hard, notes Magnus Nedregotten.
Four years ago, Christoffer Svae at Norway’s then Olympic men’s team thought that mixed double had nothing to do in the Olympics. Kristin Skaslien counter sharp. When asked if the two and mixed doubles have generally improved since then, he answers that they now play against the best players in the world – and she that the hit percentage among the best mixed teams is as high as with the men’s teams.
Magnus Nedregotten believes that the biggest difference between mixed doubles and team curling is that the first variant goes much faster than the second, an hour and a half against two and a half hours. Team curling can be compared to long chess, mixed doubles with fast chess.
In the last year, and especially the month before the Olympics, the curling couple has lived almost in isolation, with a lunch box at the door, zero cinema visits and strict infection control.
– What is scary is that participants who are infected can now test positive just before the Olympics – even if they are not carriers. Then you lose the Olympics. That thought creeps in a couple of times a day. We must be careful, says Magnus Nedregotten.
Ps! The mixed doubles pairs will not be allowed to go on the ice until the same day as the tournament starts (February 2) in Beijing. That is why Skaslien / Nedregotten brings a ski mat that the skaters use to China. They will use it during the training sessions in the room in the participating village – the five days before the opening match against the Czech Republic.