OSLO, Norway (Oct. 20) — Olympic 1,500 meters champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and his brothers, Filip and Henrik, have publicly accused their father and former coach, Gjert Ingebrigtsen, of aggressive and controlling behavior.
The allegations, which have been vehemently denied by Gjert, come amid a period of intense scrutiny for the family, who have been a staple in Norwegian athletics and even had their own reality TV show.
“We grew up with a very aggressive and authoritarian father, who used physical violence and threats as part of his upbringing,” they wrote in an article published in the Norwegian daily VG and circulated worldwide.
“We still feel a sense of discomfort and fear that we have felt since childhood,” the Norwegian brothers added.
A Family Affair Turned Sour
The Ingebrigtsen brothers, who have represented Norway at the Olympic level, penned a column for Norwegian website VG, stating that they “still feel discomfort and fear” around their father, Reuters reported.
They described their upbringing as one marred by “physical violence and threats,” adding that the situation reached a tipping point two years ago, leading to their decision to split with Gjert as their coach.
“When we broke up with Gjert, we thought we would be able to handle the situation in an orderly manner, without mentioning the underlying circumstances,” the brothers wrote in Thursday’s column.
“We now realise that is not possible. This matter has become so inflamed and has had such a great consequence that we feel a responsibility to clean it up.
Gjert Ingebrigtsen, through his lawyer, has called the allegations “baseless” and emphasized that no criminal charges have been filed against him. He admitted to having weaknesses as a father but denied any form of violence.
“I am far from perfect as a father and husband, but I am not violent,” he added.
“This is a tragic situation for my family”.
The Impact on Athletics
The Norwegian Athletics Federation has responded by revoking Gjert’s accreditation as a coach for upcoming international championships.
The governing body stated that it aims to provide a “safe and healthy performance environment” for athletes and will intensify efforts in this regard based on the brothers’ statements.
Media Spotlight and Future Plans
The Ingebrigtsen family has lived much of their life in the public eye, including through a reality TV show called “Team Ingebrigtsen.” The brothers said they felt compelled to share their story due to the intense media coverage surrounding their split with their father.
They expressed a desire to “return to the joy of playing sports and representing Norway” and called for peace to focus on training and competitions.