From TV to track, runner Jakob Ingebrigtsen rising star
For five seasons and 25 episodes, Jakob Ingebrigtsen was constantly followed by cameras.
Such is the price of fame for the star of a Norwegian documentary series called “Team Ingebrigtsen”, which chronicles the life and adventures of Jakob, his brothers and his family and what it takes to be racers. Olympic caliber.
Spoiler alert: Last season’s finale culminated with Ingebrigtsen winning Olympic gold in the 1,500 meters at the Tokyo Games.
But how he got there, to the TV screen and to that gold medal, can be attributed to his big brothers. It was Henrik and Filip who developed a love of running rather than soccer and cross-country skiing. It was their guidance and tutelage, along with their father, that made him who he is today – elusive.
Ingebrigtsen is the favorite for Tuesday’s 1,500 meters final at the world championships in Eugene, Ore., and a contender in the 5,000 meters as well.
You do not believe it ? Just ask him.
“We always thought we were the best,” Ingebrigtsen said.
One thing he has never lacked is confidence. He’s not just about winning either, but he wants to win big. Like a world record.
It’s not so much arrogance as a practice-based belief. His family found a training method that worked for Henrik, who is 31 and a two-time Olympian. It worked for Filip, who is 29 and a 2017 world championship bronze medalist in the 1500m. And it certainly works for Jakob, the 21-year-old who has won gold medals at every stage of his career.
The architect of the success is their father, Gjert, who takes a step back and leaves the training of Jakob to his older brothers. They discovered a formula to unleash all that talent: an aerobic capacity training plan.
Simply put: hard work. Tell Jakob Ingebrigtsen what to do, how fast to run it and he’ll take care of it from there.
“We have found a program and a philosophy that is probably one of the best in the world for running fast from 800 meters to half marathon,” Ingebrigtsen said. “So we’re definitely not trying anything new. We just find something that works to be a really good runner. We stick to what works.”
Leif I. Tjelta, a sports science professor who recently retired from academia, published a 2019 article about the Ingebrigtsen family. The title was: “Three Norwegian brothers all European 1500m champions: what’s the secret?”
The conclusion of the article in the International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching: “With a proper training regimen, strong family support and mental toughness brought these brothers to the highest international level of distance running.”
In an email, Tjelta added that “good genes are part of that, of course.”
A broad knowledge of the breed doesn’t hurt either.
“Tactically he’s the smartest runner I know,” Australian runner Stewart McSweyn said of Jakob Ingebrigtsen. “He has so much conviction.”
The connection between the brothers is evident in their television series. Like at the end of last season’s show when the family met Jakob at the airport upon his return from Tokyo. They presented him with a gold jacket that matched the color of his medal.
“It’s great fun to be able to have this kind of documentary and show – everyone follows how we actually live and what we do, what we think and how we train,” he said. said. “We are really happy to have had the chance to reach so many people.”
Next on the list of people he wants to reach: Those who make the Olympic calendar. He is pushing to find a way to run the 1,500 and 5,000 meters at the Paris Olympics in 2024. It was not as feasible for him in Tokyo, with a series of 1,500 and 5,000 on the same day. So he chose to focus on the 1500m, where he beat Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot for the title.
This week in Eugene, he has two days between the 1500m final and the start of the 5000m. More than enough time to recover.
Really, though, he just wants the track world to start looking outside the box — toward doubles that aren’t traditional. Take Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, for example, who scored a remarkable hat-trick in Tokyo winning gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m, as well as a bronze in the 1,500m.
“I believe the organizers want the biggest stars to be able to perform as well as possible,” Ingebrigtsen said. “But you have to adapt to new times, and maybe the 100 and 200 (double) aren’t as relevant as they used to be. … So you can’t have a double that exists today. You have to find that new doppelganger. That’s where the athletes are.
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