May 1, 2012: One of the darkest days in Norwegian sports history.
From the USA comes news that shakes Norway and the entire international swimming community. Alexander Dale Oen, one of Norway’s foremost athletes, dies suddenly and without warning. A 26-year-old swimming heart stops beating.
– It is an event that affects me every single day.
Sindri Thor Jakobsson tells TV 2. He was a roommate with Dale Oen during the training camp in Flagstaff ten years ago.
The 30-year-old shines his eyes when he talks about “Alex”. He breathes deeply.
Jakobsson had an appointment with Dale Oen the night his friend passed away. They were going out to eat. Jakobsson waited nicely in the next room, but when Dale Oen spent a very long time in the shower, he eventually realized that something was wrong. What happened then he has mostly repressed.
– How can one describe something like that, Jakobsson asks rhetorically before he takes a long break.
– It is something no one deserves to experience. Losing a person who was so close to him and who meant so much to Swimming Norway … I think it’s totally sick that ten years have passed. It’s scary how fast time goes.
– It made people reflect on how fragile life is and what we are really doing, says an emotional Jakobsson.
In retrospect, it was proven that Dale Oen had a serious heart defect that was not discovered until it was late.
– “Alex” became a role model for me
“Last! Max kick! Get power on your feet! »
TV 2 meets Jakobsson at training in AdO Arena, named after Alexander Dale Oen. The Norwegian-Icelander is a coach for swimmers in Bergen West Swimming Club, which is the new name for Dale Oen’s old club Vestkantsvømmerne.
Now Jakobsson is doing everything to pass on Dale Oen’s values to young swimmers.
– I never thought of becoming a coach. I remember when I swam myself that I said I would never be, he says and chuckles.
– “Alex” became a real role model for me, a leader. He was a person I want to be. I have taken a lot from him in my daily life and into the coaching role I am in now.
See report about Dale Oen and Jakobsson at the top of the case!
Dale Oen inspires the young
When TV 2 asks Jakobsson about Dale Oen, the friend does not mention the fantastic achievements. Olympic silver and World Cup gold are not topics. It is persons which are drawn out, on repeated occasions.
– He was one of my best friends, but he was also a mentor to me. He was one of the best in the world and in Norway, says Jakobsson.
– I learned an insane amount in terms of attitudes and how to behave, how to utilize every single workout. We had a close relationship, says Dale Oen’s former teammate.
The young swimmers in Bergen West Swimming Club can not remember the day when Dale Oen passed away. But there is no doubt that Øygarden’s greatest hero lives on.
– He was the only role model I had. It says on the board that one “should not ask for an easy journey, but for a strong back”. I have taken that from him, says Andreas Ramsvik (19).
– Dale Oen was very good, and good at motivating others. He is a role model. I want to be as good as him, that’s what I train for, says Kristin Hals (17).
INSPIRED: Swimmers Kristin Hals and Andreas Ramsvik look up to Alexander Dale Oen.
Jakobsson is very happy that Dale Oen is an idol for the young swimmers today.
– He lives with us in his spirit. Every single day. Then I try to pass on the values he had towards the young people I train today, says the friend, and concludes:
– The legacy of “Alex” is still there. It will always do that.
Facts: Alexander Dale Oen’s Merits
- World Cup gold in the 100 meter breaststroke in 2011
- European Championship gold in the 100 meter breaststroke in 2008 and 2010
- Olympic silver in the 100 meter breaststroke in 2008
- European Championship silver in the 100 meter breaststroke in 2006
- European Championship silver in the 200 meter breaststroke in 2006 and 2010
- European Championship silver in 50 meter breaststroke in 2008
- European Championship gold 100 meters breaststroke in 2011
- World Cup bronze 100 meters breaststroke in 2006
- European Championship bronze 100 meter breaststroke in 2006 and 2011