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Petter Northug Jr. from Norway is competing in the Winter Olympics 2010 in Vancouver in the skeleton.

Petter Northug Jr. has been compared with the great Bjoern Daehlie, and could eventually match his great countryman's record tally of Olympic medals. Unlike the soft-spoken and workmanlike Daehlie, however, Northug brings bravado and a sometimes-abrasive style with the intention of bringing more show and action to a sport that has declined in popularity since Daehlie's retirement in 1999. Qualified to compete in all six events in Vancouver, he should contend for medals in four.

Raised by father John and mother May in Mosvik, a small town of 900 near Trondheim, Northug started skiing when he was three years old. His competitive nature came out when his two younger brothers, Thomas and Even, came along and started skiing on his heels. During his formative years, Petter would go out on the trails seven or eight times a day. When Petter was ten, he and Thomas, then six, took their competitiveness one step further. They each put on a boxing glove - there was a pair lying around at home - and started socking each other. The bout ended with little brother knocking Petter down - and almost out - with a vicious right hook.

Northug's international breakthrough came at the 2005 Junior Worlds, when he won medals (two gold, two silver) in all four of his races. The next year, after being left off the 2006 Olympic team, he swept all four events at the Junior Worlds. Northug made the 2007 World Championships team, and won a gold medal skiing the anchor leg of Norway's 4x10km relay team. However it was a head-first fall near the finish line of the men's pursuit, and subsequent fifth-place finish, that sparked a bigger dream: to become world champ in an individual race. To motivate himself at the next Worlds in 2009, he listened to the same music on his iPod that he had listened to the morning of his fateful fall.

Northug climbed his first major peak at the 2009 Worlds in Liberec, Czech Republic, by winning his sought-after gold medals in the pursuit and 50km mass start, plus the 4x10km relay. In each race, his finishing spurt did in his closest competition. To illustrate his small margins of victory, he won the three races by a combined 6.4 seconds. With three victories, he did something only five male skiers - Gjermund Eggen, Gunde Svan, Vladimir Smirnov, Daehlie and Mika Myllyla - had accomplished previously at the Worlds. Runner-up in the pursuit, Anders Soedergren, commented to Swedish SVT, "I have never seen a ski racer like him. He finds strength out of nowhere, and when he puts his foot on the gas, there's no one who can keep up." He added, "He can be beaten. You just have to make sure you put him behind you before the final kick."

In Vancouver, the long-standing rivalry between Norway and Italy in the relay may play second fiddle to a new duel: Norway vs. Germany. The skier known by rivals as "Storkjeften fra Mosvik" (the Big Mouth from Mosvik) has often ruffled the feathers - both during races and in the finish area - of Germany's top skier Axel Teichmann. During the final leg of a World Cup relay event in 2008, Northug cut off Teichmann on several occasions, once causing a heavy collision. The Norwegian lost the cup on his right pole in that collision, but the German lost his marbles afterwards, telling the Norway's Aftenposten, "He totally forgets that there are other skiers out there, and then he does idiotic things after he crosses the finish line." Psychological games with Teichmann continued during the final meters of the relay at the Worlds, where Northug reportedly uttered mid-race, "You'd better go now if you want to have a chance." Germany has finished runner-up to Norway in three of the four past World Championship relays.

During the offseason, Northug wears jersey number 99 as a member of the Mosvik IL soccer team in the Norwegian fifth division. Among his teammates are his brother Thomas and a skier on the Norwegian cross-country sprint team, Jon Kristian Dahl. In August 2008, Northug was given a red card for kicking an opponent in the thigh in retaliation for a hard, sliding tackle. He has sustained injury playing "The Beautiful Game" on two occasions, something that has not gone unnoticed by ski federation officials, who encourage cross training ... not cross checking.


PETTER NORTHUG JR.: FACTS

How tall is Petter Northug Jr.? How old is Petter Northug Jr.? Where does Petter Northug Jr. live? Who is Petter Northug Jr. dating? Find out here.

Age: 28 years old
Birthday: January 6, 1986
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 180 lbs.
Birthplace: Mosvik, Norway
Current Residence: Meraaker, Norway





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