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Did You Know...

... that Fortitudo represents Norway at the World Meet in France?

Norway's Fortitudo at the NSL office
posted Jan 22nd, 2008 - Fortitudo stands for courage and strength in Latin language, which goes back to the Roman empire. It is now the team name for a new 4-way line-up that will represent Norway this year in IPC's female 4-way category.

The Fortitudo line-up already has a lot of strength and experience, which is being provided by the team's player coach, Lise Nansen, who won three bronze medals with the DeLand Norgies at the World Championships of Formation Skydiving in 1999, 2001 and 2003. Lise, formerly Aune, also runs a coaching business in Norway under the same name.

Fortitudo is a promising combination of competition experience and talent, as the team profile will show. Lise Nansen has taken the Center Inside position, former Valkyrie member Trude Sviggum is in the Center Outside slot, Ellen Burchardt (Tail) and Kristine Willadsen (Point) complete the line-up. Gudrun Rokne is filming the team.

Bronze medal for Lise Aune in 2003
The career of Lise Nansen has been covered by the NSL News in several stories. The career story until the first bronze medal with the DeLand Norgies in 1999 can still be found in the NSL Profiles. She won the first 4-way medal for Norway at a World Championship of Formation Skydiving and the first 4-way medal for a female competitor at a World Meet in skydiving history.

Then she added two more bronze medals after the NSL Profile story was posted before she took a break from high-profile competition and had two babies with her husband, Nicolai Nansen. She was still actively involved in 4-way competition as Norway's national coach and team manager until 2004. Her logbook shows a total number of approx. 10500 jumps to date.

Silver medal for Trude Sviggum in 2003
Her Fortitudo partner in the center of the formations is an experienced 4-way competitor, as well. Trude Sviggum won her first 4-way silver medal in IPC's female category at the World Championship of Formation Skydiving in Spain 2001 and repeated this in France 2003 with a 16.2 average. Current Arcteryx member Ditta Valsdottir was her 2001 and 2003 teammate with the "Norgie Girls".

Norway did not send an all-female team to the World Meet in Croatia 2004 and came back for the World Meet 2006 in Germany. Trude Sviggum was once again a member of the new line-up, which ended up only in 7th place with a 12.6 average. It was the beginning of a 2-year plan for Valkyrie, whose members were recruited from the Norwegian military service.

Valkyrie at the World Meet 2006 in Germany
Trude Sviggum continued with the same Valkyrie line-up throughout the 2007 season. Her team won the silver medals for Norway at the CISM Military World Games in India behind the US team.

Lise Nansen and Trude Sviggum have both been involved in the Norwegian skydiving project, which produces new 4-way talent year after year. Trude Sviggum has continued with Lise Nansen's work as the project manager for the Norwegian association since 2004. They both observed how Ellen Burchardt and Kristine Willadsen made their way through their training system with impressive progress.

Fortitudo's Point, Kristine Willadsen, who is 27 years of age, started skydiving in 2002, and Trude Sviggum was her AFF instructor. It took the new 4-way competitor only a few training camps within the Norwegian project until she was on her first intermediate class team and later selected for the Norwegian "farm team".

Derek Broughton with Arcteryx
Kristine Willadsen spent one year with the farm team in 2006, which is traditionally the talent pool for Norways' national 4-way team. She was a candidate for the open Arcteryx slot when √ėyvind Buer left the team at the end of the 2006 season. However, world-class freeflyer Derek Broughton, member of the farm team line-up at the same time, became the new Arcteryx point, and Kristine Willadsen was still in the farm team.

At the same time, Ellen Burchardt went through almost exactly the same progression and experiences. Fortitudo's 23-year old Tail started skydiving in 2001, attended three training camps within the Norwegian team project and ended up in the same farm team "Prospects" with Kristine Willadsen. She was also one of the top candidates for the open Arcteryx slot at the end of the 2007 season. They became best friends and finally decided in 2007 to make their own plans.

Ellen Burchardt and Kristine Willadsen in the NSL office...
Ellen Burchardt, Kristine Willadsen and Trude Sviggum discussed the option of forming their own team already at the end of the 2006 season. Their current team commitments by then would not be in the way of the new plans. They decided to ask Lise Nansen to become the player coach for the team and guide Fortitudo to the World Meet of Formation Skydiving in France 2008.

Especially Ellen Burchardt and Kristine Willadsen had never been in a committed team with the same line-up for a longer time period since the members of the farm teams change frequently. Trude Sviggum and Lise Nansen knew the talent and skills of the two young Norwegian skydivers after working with them for years, as Lise Nansen confirmed:

"I just couldn't say no. I have known them for so long, I like them, and I know their talent. Guiding them to the World Meet is such a fun challenge."

... and with medals at Norway's Nationals 2007
Lise Nansen was still competing with the DeLand Norgies once a year at the Norwegian championships, and Trude Sviggum trained and competed with Valkyrie in 2007. This created an interesting situation at Norway's Nationals 2007. All four Fortitudo members knew already that they would join forces very soon and competed in three different teams.

Lise Nansen with the DeLand Norgies lost for the first time against Arcteryx. Ellen Burchardt and Kristine Willadsen placed 3rd with their team and defeated Trude Sviggum with Valkyrie. Then the traning with Fortitudo began. Fortitudo asked Gudrun Rokne to film the team who agreed to her first serious team commitment. She was very happy when she was asked and now enjoys the new challenge of 4-way competition. It was time for the new team to set goals on a very different level.

NSL News interview with Fortitudo
Fortitudo has medals at this year's World Meet in mind. The team surely is an underdog in the competition with extremely strong teams from the United Kingdom (Bodyflight Storm), USA (Fastrax Blue), France and Russia (Jet Bats). However, Lise Nansen is experienced enough to set achievable goals. She thinks that her team will be in medal contention with a 19.0 average. The potential and progression of the team obviously allows her to see the 19.0 average level in reach.

The new Fortitudo line-up made approx. 100 jumps in 2007 and completed 15 hours of windtunnel training at Bodyflight Bedford last year. The next 100 jumps were added at the recent winter training camp in DeLand. The team will come back to DeLand for the next training camp in March and compete at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008. The World Challenge 2008 in Bedford is on the meet agenda, as well.

Student Lise Aune
Fortitudo plans to complete approx. 400 to 500 training jumps before the World Meet in August. Additional 12 to 15 hours of windtunnel training in Bedford are supposed to lift the team performance to the medal level in France.

The Fortitudo pieces have their own special aspects. Trude Sviggum was Kristine Willadsen's AFF instructor in the front piece. Ellen Burchardt was born when Lise Nansen made her first skydive in 1984. It truly is a combination of experience and talent in both pieces.

It seems to be a long way for a new team in a short time period. However, the unique combination of experience and talent, together with a lot of motivation and excitement, especially on the younger side of the line-up, might bring the underdog into contention for the desired medals. Lise Nansen already knows how to pursue such goals successfully.

Training jump of Norway's Fortitudo from a Pilatus Porter in DeLand - see video
Fortitudo briefing
The team's 4-way veteran also has the knowledge and experiences how to master the right-hand door exit from the Pilatus Porter. She had to go through the identical change of jump planes from 2001 to 2003 with the DeLand Norgies and was quite relaxed about this challenge.

The most difficult part for the new team is the financing of the project. Norway has three official teams in the project: the national 4-way teams in the open class and in the female category and the farm team. The two national teams represent Norway at the World Championship of Formation Skydiving, but only the national team in the open class receives financial support by the association. The Fortitudo members have to spend their own money for training and competition.

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