Norwegian swimmer Aleksander Hetland was greeted with hugs, flowers, flags and cake when he returned to Norway after winning a world championship victory in Istanbul over the weekend. His own thoughts, he said, went to his late teammate and fellow champ Alexander Dale Oen.
“On the winners’ podium in Istanbul, I thought, ‘here stands Alex and me,'” Hetland said after landing in Oslo. The swimmer from Bærum, who’ll turn 30 next week, will now get his photo on the wall of the Bærumsvømmerenes Hundsund swimming club in Bærum, after winning the 50-meter breaststroke event.
It was an unexpected victory for the swimmer who now says he’ll be retiring after a difficult year following Oen’s death from a heart attack last spring. “Especially during training, I’ve felt he (Oen) is with me,” Hetland told newspaper Aftenposten. Now he can end the year, and his swimming career, with the world championship win back in the same city where he became a European champion in 2009.
Now Hetland plans to start working in marketing for, appropriately enough, the Imsdal and Farris water brands produced by the Ringnes Brewery in Oslo.