23/03/2018 12:00
Former Norwegian Beach Volleyball stars are back with a bang on snow!
2018 CEV Snow Volleyball European Championship

Wagrain-Kleinarl, Austria, March 23, 2018. Janne Kongshavn and Kristine Wiig of Norway were responsible for the first major upset at the 2018 #EuroSnowVolley in Wagrain-Kleinarl as they opened their campaign under heavy snowfall with a victory over Slovakia’s 2014 ‘Queen of the Snow’ Silvia Poszmikova and her partner Romana Jurenkova. It is a truly remarkable result, especially since Kongshavn and Wiig have teamed up specifically for this tournament after some 10 years ago they played Beach Volleyball together – with Wiig ‘mentoring’ Kongshavn as Janne was making her international debut at the time.

Kongshavn retired from competitive sport in 2016 after failing to qualify for the Rio Olympics, but she is back with loads of enthusiasm and positive energy after giving birth to her son Wiggo last June. “As soon as I heard that Norway were hosting their first Snow Volleyball national championship, I decided I would join and participate. I know the promoter and that was one of the most exciting and professionally-organised tournaments I have participated in for the last few years,” Janne said.

Janne stood on top of the podium at the end of the event held at a ski resort some three hours away from Oslo but the partner she played with there, Janne Pedersen, could not travel to Wagrain because of previous commitments – she still plays Beach Volleyball and is on a training camp right now. “We had very little time to come up with a decision on who I was going to play with and I was asking myself, who would be crazy enough to join me on this adventure? Kristine and I have known each other for many years, so I decided to ring her and ask whether she wanted to join me and she eventually accepted my offer,” Kongshavn recounts.

Wiig, who is married to former Norwegian Beach Volleyball star Tarjei Skarlund, has been away from the international stage for 10 years but she has regularly participated in national Beach Volleyball events ever since with another elite name, Ingrid Toerlen – while taking care of a family including as many as three children. “This morning I played my first Snow Volleyball match and I obviously was a bit careful at the beginning, since I did not know what to expect and the conditions were quite challenging. However, it took me only a few rallies to get into the rhythm and what I especially like is that the adrenaline you feel from competing was back almost straight away,” she said. “It is probably what I have been missing the most. However, now I can put everything into a different perspective because I have children, a husband and a job, so I do enjoy it much more than when I was younger, where there was a lot of pressure coming from the sponsors, the ranking points, etc. I think I never had as much fun as I had today.”

Their respective husbands, Skarlund and Oivind Hordvik, have both retired from competitive sport but Skarlund has been playing on the Norwegian Beach Volleyball tour for the last couple of years. Would they fancy a comeback? “Unfortunately, Oivind could not participate in the national championship because he had surgery a while ago and someone had to stay back home to take care of our child, but I think he will certainly give it a try next year if that is possible. I absolutely love Snow Volleyball and feel like it has the potential to grow into something big, especially in countries like Norway where all conditions are there to play the game,” Kongshavn said. “I am going to lobby for Snow Volleyball to grow as much and as quickly as possible.”

She will have to find some time for that in her busy schedule – including son Wiggo, husband Oivind, the family business she is taking over from her father and the organisation of an Iron Man competition due to take place in her hometown Haugesund this coming July for which she is working as the event manager.

No matter how the tournament in Wagrain ends, Snow Volleyball has found in Janne and Kristine two perfect ambassadors for the sport to grow in Norway and hopefully across the whole of Scandinavia as well…

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News nr. 9 of 22
23/03/2018 15:00:00
Slovakia’s 2008 ‘Man of the Year’ Martin Šmahel reveals love for Snow Volleyball
22/03/2018 23:13:00
Latest ‘Queens of the Snow’ to open programme of inaugural #EuroSnowVolley

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