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Norway’s First Family of Skiing to Participate in 2012 American Birkebeiner - Birkie.com

01/27/2012, 12:58pm CST
By Susan Kendrick

Vegard Ulvang Story: Olympic Duo & Daughters to Ski Birkie, Korte, Junior Birkie

Check out who you’re standing next to ... at the start line of your event at this year’s American Birkebeiner, February 23-25. It could be an Olympian or one of their two daughters.

Six-time Olympic medalist Vegard Uvang, recognized as one of Norway’s Top Ten Nordic skiers of all time, is the “Research Ambassador” for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at the Birkie this year. He brings with him his wife, Grete Inge-borg Nykkelmo and, and their two daughters ages 11 and 13, who will each be participating in their own age-class events as well.

Many husbands and wives ski together and with their kids ... but, not many go home to a wall of Olympic medals. Vegard Ulvang won three Olympic Gold Medals at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville. He also won Silver and Bronze Medals at the 1988 and 1994 Games. He won the famous Holmenkollen 50K three times. He is currently the executive director of FIS Nordic and the creator and director of the hugely successful Tour de Ski.
Ulvang completed his most recent ski—an 800-mile expedition to the South Pole—on December 14 as part of the centennial celebrations of Amundson’s South Pole expedition in 1911. See the team's South Pole Expedition Blog.

Ulvang’s wife, Grete Inge-borg Nykkelmo, is also a highly decorated international athlete and is predicted to be one of the ones to beat in her age class in the Birkie Skate race. Age 51, and also from Norway, Nykkelmo competed as both a biathlete and cross country skier from 1979 to 1992. She was also a member of the Norwegian Olympic biathlon team.

Nykkelmo won four medals, including a gold at the 1985 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Seefeld. At the 1991 Biathlon World Championships in Lahti, she won gold medal. She won the Egebergs Ærespris in 1990.

She and husband, both still active in and for the sport, have two daughters, ages 11 and 13. During their family Birkie visit in February, while mom and dad are skiing the 50K American Birkebeiner skate race, the older daughter will ski the 23K Kortelopet and the younger one will ski the 3.5 Junior Birkie on Friday.


Ski with Ulvang. The first 30 people who contribute $1,000 or more to the Skiers for Cures program will have the opportunity to ski with Ulvang for one hour and enjoy a private lunch with him and the group afterwards. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will take place Thursday, February 23.

Win a Trip to Norway. For every $250 contributed to Skiers for Cures, donors will receive one entry in a drawing to win a trip for two to Norway and the 2013 Birkebeinerrennet. The trip includes two race entries, three night’s lodging and a $1,500 voucher for air travel.

Get Your Pin To Win Other Prizes. This year’s great-looking MS “Ski for the Cure” pin will once again be available for $20 at the American Birkebeiner Expo or online at wisMS.org. Those wearing the pin on their Birkebeiner or Kortelopet race bib when they cross the finish line will be randomly selected to win prizes such as Fischer skis, Swix poles, Bjorn Daehlie jacket and pants, free entries to the 2013 American Birkebeiner, and more.

** Your Pin is your admission ticket ... to see Vegard Ulvang’s presentation, “800 Miles to the South Pole … on Skis!” on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 4:00 p.m. in downtown Hayward. See details below.




Where and When to See and Meet Vegard Ulvang

THURSDAY - Feb. 23

• 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. “800 Miles to the South Pole … on Skis”
  Hayward High School (next to Hayward Middle School and Skier Expo/Bib Pick-up), Hayward, WI

Attend Vegard Ulvang’s live presentation where he will give a vivid, first-hand account of his Norwegian team’s ski expedition to the South Pole as part of the international, centennial celebration on December 14, 2011 of Amundson’s South Pole expedition in 1911. Here is a link to his 2011 Expedition Blog: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/

* Only 264 seats are available for this presentation on a first-come,
first-served basis at the door. Reservations are not required but suggested and can be made through February 16, 2012. Email birkie@birkie.com.

Part of the fundraising efforts for Multiple Sclerosis, admission is $20 per person or your “Ski for the Cure” Pin, available at the Birkie Expo or at wisMS.org.

• 5:30 p.m. Birkie Torch Lighting / Main Street Fun Ski
  Main Street, Downtown Hayward

Vegard Ulvang will be present at the official Birkie Torch Lighting by Laurie Landgraf on snow-covered Main Street Thursday evening. The public is then welcome to ski “under the lights” along Hayward’s decorated Main Street.


FRIDAY – Feb. 24

8:00 a.m. Worldloppet Breakfast
  Flat Creek Inn and Suites, Hwy 27, Hayward

Worldloppet Passport holders are invited to attend the Worldloppet Breakfast held on Friday, February 24th at 8:30 a.m. at the Flat Creek Inn & Suites. A European-Style champagne breakfast buffet is offered and a fee will be collected at the door.

SATURDAY – Feb. 25

  Main Street, Hayward

See Vegard Ulvang, one of the top ten Norwegian skiers of all time, finish his Birkie skate race on Main Street.

SUNDAY - Feb. 26

• 9:00 a.m. Birchleggings Breakfast
  The Steakhouse, Hwy 27, Hayward

Birchleggings Club members get together at a special breakfast to
reminisce and distribute awards and recognition items.

• 10:30 a.m. Personal Appearance
New Moon Ski & Bike, Hwy 63, Hayward

Meet Vegard Ulvang during this personal presentation at New Moon Ski and Bike, located on Highway 63 north in Hayward.


About MS and Skiers For Cures
This is the third year in a row the American Birkebeiner has supported the National Multiple Sclerosis Society through its Skiers for Cures program. Top international skier, Vegard Ulvang, has offered to be part of this program in 2012 to help raise funds for MS and to create awareness for MS research. Details about all three Skiers for Cures fundraisers can be found at the National MS Society-Wisconsin Chapter’s website www.wisMS.org, or by calling 800-242-3358 or emailing info.wisms@nmss.org.

Funding the Cure
Proceeds from the Skiers for Cures fundraisers support the Society’s mission of driving research for a cure. The Society funds more MS research worldwide than any other nonprofit organization. In 2011, the nonprofit organization invested $39.5 million to support more than 325 research initiatives.

About MS - And Who Gets It
MS interrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body and stops people from moving. It is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. MS is two to three times more common in women than men, and most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. One in 500 Wisconsin residents lives with MS, giving the state one of the highest incidence rates in the country. While the progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, advances in research and treatment are giving hope to those affected by the disease.

MS stops people from moving. We exist to make sure it doesn’t.

Find Out How You Can Ski for a Cure!
Visit the American Birkebeiner's Skiers for Cures information page and find out how you can Ski for a Cure in 2012!

For More Information
For questions or additional details about Vegard Ulvang at the 2012 American Birkebeiner, please contact media@birkie.com.



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