MOT’s first 10 000 meters – the finish line is crossed


It began with a passion and a dream.

A passion for people.

A dream about the Olympic Games.

Then an idea.

Today, that is 25 years ago.

25 magical laps.

Most laps with good entrances and joy.

Most laps with a good flow and high pace. A couple breathers.

A couple mistakes.

The finish line is crossed. A milestone is reached.

For 25 years Norwegian top athletes have promoted MOT and without them MOT had not existed today. Therefore, we made a book for MOT Norway as a tribute to the top athletes. The book came from the printers at the end of September 2019. 100 athletes, spread over 25 years, are presented in the book with their picture and a personal message.

The top athletes’ message symbolises MOT’s three values: Courage to live, Courage to care and Courage to say no.

It is 25 years since I – together with Johann Olav Koss and Sigrun Vårvik – started the warm-up of what today is MOT.

My motivation to start MOT has primarily been:

  • To prevent destroyed lives and social problems in society – through focus on values and responsible role models.
  • To create a brand that strengthens youth’s robustness, life skills, awareness and courage.
  • To give schools and municipalities a turnkey, efficient and inspirational concept that improves resistance, quality of life, safety, inclusive environments and sustainable communities.

The desire to give something back has always been a motivation for the top athletes, as well as for Sigrun and myself. MOT has in many ways been 25 years “payback” because we have been so lucky, both when it comes to our upbringing, families and our lives in general. The same goes for many of the top athletes. They have had a position where they have been able to influence and have viewed their involvement in MOT as their contribution of doing something good for society.

Sigrun and I would not have been able to work with MOT in the way we have had it not been for our parents. They have been there for us and our two sons. We would not have been able to work in the way we have had it not been for Kristian and Johann who made it simple for us to be their mother and father. Towards the end of the 90’s, Sigrun and I considered whether we wanted another child, but agreed that we would rather view MOT as our third child. We have never regretted this decision. It has been a gift to contribute to strengthening youth’s lives while also giving something valuable back to society. We feel privileged to have been a part of something so much greater than ourselves.

At the time of writing, it is 25 years since I held the first talk on what today has become MOT, for the Olympic Academy in Lillehammer. Present were sports managements, coaches and representatives from The Norwegian Sports Federation and The Norwegian Olympic Committee.

It is exactly 25 years since I visited the first school classes and started testing what today has become MOT’s programmes. That took place for 4th-6th graders from a primary school in Tynset in Hedmark and Vanvikan in Trøndelag.

It is exactly 25 years since the first calendar with Norwegian top athletes saw the light of day. The response from schools, sports clubs and businesses was immense and the whole edition of 45 000 copies was quickly distributed.

It is also 25 years since “MOT” got its first big promotion on TV. Several Norwegian top athletes showed up at NRK (the at that time main Norwegian TV channel) to promote the calendar in the entertainment show Rondo, in prime time on a Friday evening. I have still got great respect for Kjetil André Aamodt, who left his training camp one day early to be on the show.

MOT was started by Norwegian top athletes. I’d like to say thank you to the top athletes for 25 years of passion for strengthening youth’s robustness and life skills, and passion for a warmer and safer society.

MOT is created and founded on the spirit of top athletes. The book is therefore also a thank you to this top-level athletics for all the inspiration and lessons it has given me for 43 years, both as a fan and as an athlete.

A top athlete will not succeed in their sport without extreme passion and efficacy. Those have also been MOT’s factors of success.

What also characterizes top athletes is persistence in what they do. We had never succeeded with MOT had it not been for extreme resilience. Resilience, courage and efficacy for 25 years have been a necessity in the creation of MOT.

Sigrun and I have had a tunnel vision for MOT in 25 years. We have had the pleasure of sitting by the steering wheel for creating and building MOT. When we look back at these 25 years, we can honestly say that we would never have succeeded without a culture among the associates characterized by the spirit of top athletes. We have had a culture that has been result orientated, driven by reaching goals and prioritizing.

We have strived for making the most of every situation and our time more efficient. Similarly, to a top athlete, MOT has been in continuous development and quickly learnt by mistakes that have been made.

The best top athletes are talented in considering their own strengths and weaknesses. The best top athletes easily follow strategies and direction. MOT has also been good at this for 25 years.

Many top athletes point to their team as one of their main factors of success. For MOT the team has been completely essential, and because of this MOT has thrived both locally, nationally and globally. We can look back at 25 years of outstanding teamwork, with tens of thousands of enthusiastic people with good attitudes. It has been a wonderful cooperation between youth, schools, communities, top athletes, artists, business partners, distributers and local, national and global associates. They have been the source of competence and inspiration and we have developed together. We are very grateful for the spirit, joy, ownership and pride the enthusiasts on the MOT-team have shown these past 25 years, whether they took part in it for both a short or a long period of time. Everybody has been important in their own way.

MOT has been a team with the spirit of a top athlete. A team that has strengthened each other, taken responsibility, accepted and respected each other and focused on the positive. A team consisting of many individuals who have dared to go their own ways and be different.

This MOT team, with people and businesses, have used their positions, vitality and idealism to create something meaningful for youth and society. They have contributed to promote good values that make a difference for many people locally, nationally and globally.

My own intensity, the expectations I have had for myself and being my own greatest critic, is what has been the most demanding for me during these past 25 years. On one hand, I have almost always been satisfied, while on the other hand I have almost never been satisfied. What was good enough yesterday is not good enough today. Occasionally I have been tired by all the ideas, evaluations and conversations that I have had with myself, all the assessments I have made and the opinions for and against. But most of all I have loved that these ideas have emerged.

I have loved making the thousands of decisions through these 25 years. I have loved being an identity builder, culture architect and strategist for this playful, efficient and disciplined team. I have loved that others have shared their ideas with me. I have loved listening and talking to people. And I have loved to develop, educate and influence for 25 years.

I am very grateful that for 25 years I have had an unlimited freedom to obtain insight and to develop and create MOT. MOT would not have existed in the way it does today had it not been for this absolute trust. It has made it easy to exercise a dynamic, flexible and efficient leadership. It has made it easy to be an action orientated entrepreneur, who has moved quickly from plan to implementation. It has made it easy to see contexts and comprehensiveness from a creative perspective and given me great room to test and be experimenting and visionary. It has made it simple to combine the use of flair, observations, conversations, literature, research and reflection around academic studies and experiences made on the way.

The unlimited freedom and absolute trust had contributed to Sigrun and me having felt ownership, joy and great motivation. We have felt and extreme commitment and responsibility for MOT developing, spreading and succeeding in the best possible way.

A dream has come true now that MOT exists in both Europe, Africa, Asia and America.

Another dream that has come true is that the rough development of MOT’s concept and brand profile was completed in 2019. It will never be completely finished, but in the future, it will be more about enchancing than changing. And more than anything, it will be about outstanding implementation.

A third dream that has come true is that young adults, who have experienced MOT since they were 12-13 years old, are now central prosecutors and leaders in MOT. 15 years ago, I wrote this about how I envisioned this would be today:

“These young people know what MOT is about and have had great joy and benefit of MOT in their own youth. They wish to spend some of their years returning this favour. They are spreading MOT in Norway and in the world.”

At the time it felt unreal that it would ever come true, but today has become a reality. Sigrun and I are proud.

We are confident that MOT will be preserved in the right way in an eternal perspective, independent of us. It is a good feeling and a liberation. A fourth dream has come true.