Hailing from the western coast town of Moss, in Norway’s Ostfold County, Sara Emilie Fiskerud is among one of the country’s most promising talents in ice sledge hockey. Having first mounted the sled for Team Europe during the 2012-13 season, the teenaged competitor is working towards becoming a future cornerstone for the squad.
Of note, Fiskerud’s initial sojourn into the sport, back in 2010, was nearly short lived. At first, she found her early experiences humbling, realizing that the sport was much tougher than it appeared. Contemplating a departure from the sport, her decision to continue resulted in an opportunity to contribute towards sporting equality.
“I got involved with ice sledge hockey through one of my friends. I told her about how I was done with just sitting around doing nothing, and she invited me to a practice! I have to say that it looked a lot easier than it really was, and at one point I had to sit down and think about if I wanted to keep going!
Awhile after, I decided to keep going and things started to work out. Thinking back at it now, I am extremely happy I never gave up! I still have things to work on, but I am looking forward to getting better and better as time goes!”
Like so many young athletes, the transition from nervous rookie to confident veteran tends to be attributed to a mentor. Such a person becomes a remarkable influence, setting a strong foundation in place. As Fiskerud’s proficiency on the sled improved, she discovered a more influential presence navigating her towards increased buoyancy,
“When I first started, I had this one player on the Norwegian men’s national team help me out a lot! If there was something I did not understand, he would try to help me understand! If I had questions about rules or the game in general, he was always happy to help! With him helping me as much as he did, Thomas Jacobsen automatically became someone I looked up to as a player!”
One of the most accomplished disabled athletes in Norway, Jacobsen was part of the bronze medal winning Norwegian squad in ice sledge hockey at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Adding to the impact of such an accomplishment was the fact that Norway had to defeat the host country in the bronze medal game. As a side note, Jacobsen competed in adaptive alpine skiing at Sochi’s 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Taking into account that women’s ice sledge hockey shall be a demonstration sport at the 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympic Winter Games, Fiskerud is aspiring to emulate his glories. Having acquired international playing experience since 2013, at the tender age of 14, she brings the potential to blossom into a key leader.
Competing at the inaugural IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Women’s International Cup in Brampton, Ontario, it represented a key milestone. One that saw Fiskerud and Team Europe emerge with a bronze medal. Of note, she was one of five Norwegian players on the Team Europe roster. Joining Fiskerud included Oslo resident Stine Frydenlund, along with Maren Norheim, Solvei Skjold and Amalie Ystebø, all from Bergen.
Although Fiskerud remained off the score sheet, the lessons learned were invaluable. In the aftermath of the medal round, she had the chance to compete in the Friendship Game, adding an enjoyable element of sportsmanship which featured two rosters mixed with players from all competing teams.
Upon reflection, the chance to be part of such a historic event in the game represented an exceptional time in her career. One that has provided her with memories that she shall cherish for years to come,
“My favorite moment playing ice sledge hockey, is without a doubt when I got to be a part of the first IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Women’s International Cup. The whole trip was simply amazing, and something I will never forget!
I learnt so much, and had the best time with the rest of the team! I am super excited about the future for women’s ice sledge hockey!”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”