Fil-Norwegian figure skater Anne Line Gjersem. Photo from Anne Line's Facebook account.
OSLO – Filipino-Norwegian figure skater Anne Line Gjersem hopes to skate her way to Olympic victory and make history for Norway on Wednesday at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.
Norway’s hopes rest on the 20-year-old Gjersem’s shoulders as she is the first Norwegian and the only figure skater to qualify in the Olympic event after 50 years. Not since 1964 has a Norwegian qualified to compete in the sport, which was ruled by Norwegian figure-skating legend and three-time gold medalist Sonia Henie in the 1928, 1932, and 1936 Winter Games.
Appearing before Norwegian’s TV2’s Senkveld Saturday night, a confident and bubbly Gjersem showed off her light blue sequined outfit that she will wear to the competition on Wednesday.
In the TV interview, she called her twin sister, Camilla Marie Gjersem, her “biggest supporter and competitor,” and said that she would not be where she is now without her sister’s support.
She clinched Norway’s place in the event at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Obertstdorf in September last year when she placed seventh among other figure skaters from 35 countries.
She broke into the international scene last year by placing first in the European Championship, and clinched a qualification to the World Championship.
Gjersem and her twin sister Camilla are the biggest figure skating stars in Norway.
The twins started skating in 2002, and four years later, where taken into the Olympiatoppens Sonja Hennie project to prepare them for their Olympic careers.
Under the project, the sisters trained three times a week under Claude Lebreaux and dance with Christer Tornell. They both credit the training they got under the project to the success they are today.
In 2008-2009, Anne Line debuted in the Junior Grand Prix and Junior World Championships, and took the bronze medal in both the European Youth Olympic Festival and the Nordic Championship.
Camilla has also won her fair share of medals in the Nordic and European championships.
Anne Line and Camilla Marie were born in Norway to Petter Gjersem, and Filipina Perlina Bangug, who hails from Ilagan, Isabela.
In an interview with ABS-CBN Europe, Camilla said she and her sister have been to the Philippines four times – when they were one, five, seven and 10 years old. They have not been to the country since they started training for their sport.
Asked what she thinks of Filipino figure skater Michael Christian Martinez, Camilla said she found him to be “very nice and down-to-earth.”
She revealed that her sister first met Martinez at the Nebelhorn Trophy competition last year, where they both qualified to the 2014 Winter Olympics. She said she has also met Martinez in several international competitions, including the Brasov in Romania, the Riga in Latvia, and in the Junior World Championships last year in Milan.
Camilla also gushed over Martinez’s performance at the Olympics, calling it an “impressive debut” and tagged him as a “figure skating talent,” adding that she is confident she will see more of Martinez in the future.
Camilla said she and her sister are already setting their sights on the 2018 Winter Games.