New skating star is born

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A teenager from Asker, west of Oslo, took the skating world by storm over the weekend and is now enjoying plenty of accolades at home. Ida Njåtun appears to be taking it all in stride.

Ida Njatun of Norway reacts after the women's 3000 metres race during the Speed Skating World Cup in Berlin November 20, 2010.   REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz   (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT SPEED SKATING)

Njåtun, age 19, seemed to come out of nowhere when she suddenly placed second in the Speed Skating World Cup’s 1,500-meter event in Berlin, earning Norway’s first spot on the winners’ platform for women since 2006. She also set three personal records and was thrilled with her performance in the women’s 3,000-meter race on Saturday (photo at right).

She had managed to become triple Norwegian champion earlier this fall, when she won the 1,000-, 1,500- and 3,000-meter events, but she admitted herself to newspaper Aftenposten that her weekend in Berlin “was all a bit unreal.”

Now she’s back home and working out at a training center in Asker, calming down with time on a cycling machine. Her performance, which cheered her teammates along with speed skating fans, marks a triumph for the young woman who suffered a serious accident two years ago and didn’t qualify to skate in last winter’s Olympics.

in 2008, Njåtun was injured while training on rollerskates, taking first a bad fall and then being literally rolled over by fellow skaters. Her face was badly cut and some worried she would no longer be keen to pursue the sport she’d been passionate about since childhood days.

She was, though, and now hopes to cement her place within the “A-team” and win more medals throughout the season. With her accident and last year’s drama on the skating team behind her, she says she’s only looking ahead.

“I just want to keep up the tempo I have now,” she told Aftenposten.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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