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Point Of Interest:

I And Oyvind Torp (National Champion Of Norway) ski jumped together while he was here in U.S.

One of the funniest stories is when we were all partying and Oyvind and my father wanted to rodeo. This was on a night when we were home about 12:00 am and it was raining. Our home had a creek running through it with pines and hardwood trees. We’ll we had a young appaloosa that they felt was gentle enough to ride as the Native Americans did (this was the challenge) at midnight with cheeks and nose glowing red. So we walked into the field and first my father mounted up and wrapped his left hand into the mane and rode across the creek in pure darkness and came back dismounted and all was well. Next up was Oyvind a tall 6’4″ Ski Jumper From Norway as Jan Stenerud (Jan Stenerud (born November 26, 1942) is a former Professional Football player for the American Football League‘s Kansas City Chiefs (1967-1969), and the NFL’s Chiefs (1970-1979), Green Bay Packers (1980-1983), and Minnesota Vikings (1984-1985). MSU drafted many Norwegians including Oyvind And Jan for place kickers as their ski jumpers had powerful legs.

So Oyvind mounted upon the wet appy and dad wrapped his hands into the mane but this time slapped ‘fella’ on the bottom which made him run down the field into the creek through the trees and we heard nothing. Oh my dad felt bad about that, but he felt a young strapping Oyvind would hold on and make the ride. Not So! Oyvind came walking back through the dead black night wet as a rainbow trout and muddy as a raccoon laughing. Oyvind was unhurt but laughed as a strong scandinavian would – I suppose that same scandinavian humor was why dad gave ole Oyvind a ride of his life when he slapped ole ‘fella’ on the bottom back so many years ago in Montana.

Both I and Oyvind out distanced Jan’s ski jumping record on a 55 meter hill here in the Rockies. Oyvind did out jump my record, but fell by dragging both hands – ha ha Oyvind!

I can go on telling many more stories, but one thing is true, and that was Oyvind’s incredible physical stamina and love for humanity. I remember Oyvind as incredibly powerful on the hill and as gentle as a lamb with humanity. His mother sewed both me and my brother Norwegian caps which we have to this day. Don’t ask me about Oyvind’s Crash Helmet which I still have, nor ask me about the Norwegian language he taught me to shout out at the visiting Norwegian XC athletes competing against MSU! They were bigger than I and I had to start running – I put two and two together quickly – LOL :O)


Whatever happened to … Øyvind Torp

By JIM CNOCKAERT Chronicle Sports Editor

The day of the Super Bowl, Øyvind Torp and his son, Kim, broke out a large American flag and hung it on the living room wall. Then, just before kickoff, they grilled some fat hamburgers to get them through the game.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ØYVIND TORP Norwegian kicker Øyvind Torp hit on five of his eight field-goal attempts in 1970 for Montana State. His longest was a 47-yarder against Fresno State. Then, as they do every year, they watched the NFL’s best slug it out.

It’s a familiar scene in the U.S., but maybe not so much in Norway, where soccer and skiing are national sports. But in the Torp house in Hamar, Norway, American football is highly regarded.

“We watch a lot of football,” Torp said. “A lot of people in Europe don’t like America, but Kim is very pro-American. His attitude is very positive. He’s very informed.”

And he might be more than a little bit biased.

That’s because his dad knows a lot more about America and American football n than many Europeans.

Torp, now 61, was one of a number of Norwegians who competed for the Montana State ski program during the 1960s. And, as did countrymen Jan Stenerud and Frank Kalfoss, he also wound up kicking for the MSU football team.

“When I got to Bozeman, there was an expectation that I would try it,” Torp said.

As were Stenerud and Kalfoss (who was his roommate for two years at MSU), Torp was a fine athlete. He was the Norwegian age-group champion in the Nordic Combined (cross-country skiing and ski jumping), as well as the starting goalkeeper on the Norwegian junior national soccer team.

He was such a good athlete, in fact, that he also played some at defensive back for the Bobcats during his career.

Ski jumping was an NCAA event until 1980, and Norwegians were some of the best in the world at it. Kalfoss was a ski jumper who had to learn to cross-country ski. Torp was already accomplished at both when he got to Montana.

“To be diplomatic, ski jumpers were looked at as being kind of wild,” Torp said with a laugh. “When we’d practice at Bridger (Bowl), Americans thought we were crazy. We were jumping one day, and two older ladies asked us if we were real. They told us we were some kind of entertainment.”

Torp was Kalfoss’ kicking backup from 1967-69 before taking over as the starter in 1970.

Because rules then did not place the ball back at the original line of scrimmage after a missed field goal, strong-legged kickers such as Torp took shots from long distances. His career long was a 47-yarder in a 26-12 win at Fresno State, but he barely missed 61- and 64-yard attempts in the season finale at Nevada-Las Vegas. He did make two shorter field goals, recovered two fumbles and also made two tackles in that UNLV game.

Torp returned to Norway after graduating from MSU, but he soon received letters from five NFL teams and one from the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League about the possibility of kicking for them.

The Dallas Cowboys, who had scouted him at MSU, sent a representative to meet with him in Denmark. Family issues at home prevent him from returning to the United States, he said, so he was not able to pursue an NFL career as Stenerud did.

“I have had many sleepless nights about that,” Torp said. “But, then I think, if I had gone to the United States, I would not have met my wife (Kari), and we would not have had Kim.”

He did continue his soccer career in Norway, however. He was recruited by the country’s top team, and he wound up playing in Champions League matches against some of the storied clubs in European football.

Torp finished his MSU ski career by winning Big Sky championships in his specialties. But neither he nor the Bobcats had much success at the NCAA Championships in Steamboat Springs, Colo., his senior year.

Torp’s son does more than just watch American football. He plays in a Norwegian league of American football against youngsters ages 16-20. He was off to a good start last season as a defensive back and running back before he contracted mononucleosis.

Kim Torp is a good kicker, and he hopes he can demonstrate enough accuracy and distance to earn a scholarship to compete for a U.S. college team. Father and son have sent tapes to a number of programs, including Montana State’s, and Torp said one Pennsylvania school is very interested.

“He has never kicked closer than 45 yards in practice,” Trop said of his son. “He will have a psychological advantage over American kickers, who start at 25 yards and then move back. He uses the same power every time. He stresses technique. Then comes the power.”

The older Torp had never seen a football until he arrived in the United States, but he quickly developed an appreciation for the game and the athletes who play it.

“I would say this: I was impressed with the discipline and mental power,” he said. “The linemen were big and could move. Also one thing I remember: Before we played a game, the coach and captains prayed to God. That made a big impression on us.

“But there was also a different attitude: It was winner take all. In Norway, we are more socialistic. It’s more sharing. We all have the same chances.”

Jim Cnockaert is at and at 582-2690.

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