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Adam Spencer | | March 6, 2014

Oedegaard eyes dominant NCAA title run

Rune Oedegaard’s whole life has been about skiing.

One of Oedegaard's--a Nordic skiier from Colorado--first memories is of a ski race back in his native Norway when he was about four years old.

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“You would just ski laps around the ski stadium,” he said. “The more laps you did, the higher you finished. I was just skiing and skiing and skiing all night until my parents dragged me away.”

He said he probably could have done even more laps, but he won an award anyway.

“I won a prize, which was a great feeling at that age,” he said.

Now a junior in college, the only things that have changed for Oedegaard are the distances he’s skiing and the size of the prizes he’s winning.

After winning the 10-kilometer classical race last year, Oedegaard defended his title on Thursday morning, cruising across the finish line with a time of 24 minutes, 34.5 seconds.

With two classical victories under his belt, he’s already thinking about a three-peat.

“I want to maybe do that again next year, too,” he said. “That would be fun.”

But first, Oedegaard and his Colorado teammates have one more chance to ski at this year’s NCAA championships. In last year’s freestyle event, he finished in second place. This year, he would like to improve.

“I think I have equally good chances in both races,” he said. “I will definitely try my best to be at the top [in freestyle]. I always aim to win when I am racing – I just need to step it up when it counts.”

Oedegaard also said that winning a second-straight NCAA championship for Colorado is on his to-do list. But, even if he and his teammates accomplish that goal, Oedegaard won’t be the first member of his family to win two titles at Colorado.

His sister, Unni, skied for the Buffaloes from 1998-2000, with CU finishing first in the country in both 1998 and 1999. Oedegaard’s brother, Gier, skied for CU in 2002, when the Buffaloes finished second to Denver.

He said the atmosphere both Boulder and the university provide enticed he and his siblings to leave their native Norway and join the Colorado family.

“It’s a very different experience from back home,” he said. “The skiing, it can’t get any better than this. In Colorado, you have the elevation, which is a big advantage to train in. And Boulder is a nice, small town where it’s easy to train, but you get the college experience at the same time.”

Oedegaard is certainly making the most of his collegiate experience – in addition to his five (and counting) All-American honors for his athletic prowess, he has twice been named to the Division I National All-Academic Ski Team for his success in the classroom.

Though Oedegaard, a finance major, is certainly taking his studies seriously, he said he wants to pursue a few more athletic endeavors before he decides what to do for a career.

“I’ll try to get a job at some point,” he said. “But first, I’d like to pursue skiing in World Cups for Norway. I’ll start thinking about work when skiing’s over.”

Cracking the World Cup roster for a country as strong in the Nordic disciplines as Norway will take a lot of work, but Oedegaard said he’s up for the challenge.

“It’s tough coming from Norway, where half the country is trying to do that,” he joked. “But that’s what I’m working for every day. And yeah, definitely, the [2018] Olympics are a big goal.”

But, he added, there will be time to chase those dreams after he finishes his college career. Right now, it’s all about the Buffaloes.

“In college, it’s about defending the throne for Colorado,” he said. “Winning as a team again is something I want to do. It’s a special feeling.

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