Anja and Gro are Teammates in Handball and in Love | A Game for Two


I’m Gro Hammerseng-Edin. I’m a handball player
and I’m an Olympic champion. I started playing handball
when I was ten years old and I started because a friend
I really looked up to asked if I wanted to come
to practice with her. My name is Anja Hammerseng-Edin
and I’m a handball player. I started playing handball
when I was four years old. I always had the ball with me
whatever I did, and I loved it. I played
my first handball match when I was about ten years old, I’ve been told by my father, and I remember
I thought it was great fun, and I felt I had
a some talent for it. I was the smallest kid
on the team so I started as a goalkeeper. And I thought that… I had this passion for handball
since I was a tiny little girl. Anja as a handball player
is very creative, technical. She is especially great
in the attack. She is a smart and wise player.
Great game intelligence. And she’s brave. We’re very, or I feel
very dedicated to handball, and when we don’t
succeed there, I get emotional, it affects me, and it makes me understand that I still wish to get better
at handball, I still have a passion
for what I’m doing, and that’s what drives me. One of the greatest
disappointments in my career was when we didn’t succeed in qualifying for the Olympics
in Athens in 2004, and it was
a great disappointment for the Norwegian
handball audience. One of the greatest experiences I’ve had as a handball player
was winning the European Championship
in Hungary in 2004. It was my first gold medal. I was also the captain
of the team. Another very important
moment would be the Olympic gold medal
in Beijing. That’s also one of my greatest
moments as a handball player. Gro is a physically
strong player, she’s extremely skilful
at what she does, she’s dedicated to the sport. At the same time she’s very
concerned with making her team-mates better
so she is able to get the best out of
every player on our team. Gro and I met at a gathering
for the national team and I thought
she was very special and I liked her right away. Anja and I met
through handball, at a gathering
for the national team. It was not the best timing
in the world, but it felt inevitable,
in a way. She was the one. When I met Gro she was
a very famous athlete in Norway and the two of us as an item
got a lot of attention before we were ready to think
of ourselves as a couple. And that scared me, I felt
it was a bit uncomfortable. And my mother sent me
a message asking me if there was something
I’d forgotten to tell her. I don’t know
if the interest for us arose because Gro was well known or because we were two girls
who were together, but at the same time I think that the media should respect
people’s privacy and as we eventually chose to
be open about it, I think that that’s been important, because
there are a lot of people who need to gain
more knowledge about it. I remember that some of
the girls in the national team asked if we were together and Anja answered that,
no, we weren’t, “Because she hasn’t asked me.” So then I had to ask her, before the whole team,
basically if she wanted to be
my girlfriend. It was important to me that we weren’t defined
by someone else, that we should define
what we were ourselves, and I felt that Gro had to make
a bit of an effort to… ..to be with me. I’d describe it like getting
a bomb in your head, really. It was very unexpected and a bit of a cliche,
in many ways. I was really surprised once
when Gro gave me a tattoo
as a Christmas present, because that was so surprising. She had actually said
I shouldn’t really have any more tattoos,
but I love tattoos and so that was really a great
declaration of love, I felt. The most romantic thing
Anja has done for me was to propose to me. She asked me
if I would marry her. So she did it in a proper way,
kneeling and… it was very nice. When Mio was born,
I thought that Gro was the strongest woman
I’d ever met. At the same time, I felt this great responsibility
for a human being and curiosity as to who he was.
I wanted to get to know him. I remember the first time
Anja and I were going to fly after Mio was born. I started thinking, “What if
something happens to us? “Who is going to take care
of him?” It was a new thought. I suddenly got anxious
that something might happen. If I’m to say three things
that I would change about Gro, then I’ll have to think
about it. One thing I might want
to change would be that she was keener
on cleaning the house. Good question. One thing I would be tempted
to say that Anja should change would be to work a bit less, but at the same time
that’s something I love, that she’s independent,
creative, that she has a burning passion
for her projects. I like her quite a lot,
apparently! We’ve been together
for six years. Together for six
and married for…three. Good. I’d say it changes a bit
when you get married. I don’t know exactly
how to explain what it is that changes. I feel that having
the same surname, for example, has been a very nice thing. Especially since
we got Mio together. Especially about the name. That’s been
the greatest difference for us. I like that we have
the same surname. For me that’s meant an extra
association with the family. The feeling of being a family.
I think it’s nice. When we had to decide
a name for Mio, we started with the name Theo, which we considered for a while
and which we liked a lot, and then we came across
this “name carousel” online where you can type in
names you like and they give you
similar suggestions, options in the same genre. And then Mio appeared. And that was from a fairy tale
that we both knew, by Astrid Lindgren, which is about a little boy
who is very brave. And we felt
it would be appropriate and we wanted to pass
this name on to our son. And then we like the fact that we didn’t know anyone
with the name Mio. So that’s just him for us –
him and the fairy tale. Our last romantic holiday… Maybe you should talk
about that, since you played
the main role, really? Yes, I was supposed to organise
a trip for the two of us to Copenhagen. It was supposed to be
a surprise holiday. But then it turned out when
we got to the airport that… I apparently hadn’t paid
for the tickets I’d booked. And you were patient,
as always, and took it with a big smile, and then we ended up
in Gothenburg instead. We spend quite a lot of time
on this beach because it’s so close
to our house and it’s very peaceful here. It’s wonderful
between training sessions when Mio is
at the kindergarten, to make some coffee
and come down here for some downtime, really. Yes, and some alone time
where we can just be us and not always mums
or handball players, but just take it easy
and be together. We’re lucky to have
a place like this so close to our house.

15 thoughts on “Anja and Gro are Teammates in Handball and in Love | A Game for Two

  1. And once you have a place like that you never want to leave.. I live by the ocean.. I couldn't move away from it… I never will ….

  2. the moment where anja is trying to think of something she'd change about gro and completely blanks out is the cutest <3333

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