RECORD NUMBER OF CANDIDATES FOR BESTSELLER’S OLYMPIC HOPE
BESTSELLER has sifted through a record number of candidates to identify three strong nominees for its annual talent award.
On 8 January, BESTSELLER will name the 13th winner of BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope at the annual Danish Sport Awards.
The award, which is part of BESTSELLER’s partnership with Danmarks Idrætsforbund (the Danish Olympic Committee), is awarded to a young Danish athlete with genuine Olympic or Paralympic ambitions.
The three nominees for BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope 2021 are:
- Joel Ibler Lillesø (athletics)
- Bjørk Nørremark (para-athletics)
- Lærke Marie Olsen (judo)
Record number of candidates
Joel, Bjørk and Lærke have been chosen from a strong field of 18 athletes that were submitted by Denmark’s various sports associations.
The sports associations can submit one athlete each year who they believe has a particularly promising future. The award also prioritises certain values such as team spirit and a willingness to contribute to grassroots sport or their local community.
“We have never received as many submissions as we have this year and it hasn’t been easy to choose the three nominees from such a strong field. The three nominees are all talented and represent the values we are looking for with BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope,” says Anders Gam, Brand Director in JACK & JONES and responsible for BESTSELLER’s partnership with Danmarks Idrætsforbund.
Søren Simonsen, who is Chef de Mission at Danmarks Idrætsforbund, adds:
“The large number of submissions is proof of how much talent there is in Danish sport but also how significant the award is. To be named BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope is a massive pat on the back, which acts as a huge launching pad for a young athlete’s career. The special thing about the award is that it isn’t just about the raw ability but that BESTSELLER also focuses on the whole person. This is important because an Olympic athlete is often a role model for others too.”
Win a ticket to Sport 2021
In the coming weeks, a selection panel will interview the three nominees to help determine the winner, while all BESTSELLER colleagues can also play their part by voting for their favourite nominee. The winner will be announced at the award show Sport 2021, which will be held in Herning, Denmark, on 8 January and broadcast live on Danish television station DR1.
The winner of BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope will be awarded with DKK 100,000, including a clothing sponsorship of DKK 25,000. The support should provide the winner with new and specific opportunities to improve their Olympic or Paralympic aspirations.
“Talent development is an important part of the story of BESTSELLER. We have always taken pride in providing talented individuals with opportunities, so they can grow. Our company is renowned for this principle, which is the foundation for BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope,” says Anders Gam.
Read more about BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope and previous winners at bestseller.com.
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BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope 2021 – The nominees
Joel Ibler Lillesø
Joel is one of the most promising talents Danish athletics has seen for many years. The 17-year-old won gold in the 5000m at the U20 European Championships in July – only the fourth Danish title in the championships’ 50-year history. Joel's European Championship success came only a few weeks after he won his first Danish championship at senior level - again in the 5000m. During 2021, he has set a number of new Danish and European youth records in the 1500m, 3000m indoor, 3000m and 5000m. Joel also tops the European U20 rankings for 2021 in 3000m indoor, 3000m and 5000m.
As a very positive and outgoing person, Joel is not afraid to show his joy for his sport. He understands that the best Danish runners must work together to get the best possible results, so he helps to organise – and participates in – training camps with other, more experienced Danish runners. At several occasions, Joel has helped Danish competitors by pacing them during races – and vice versa.
Joel's mobile phone cover features a ticket to Paris 2024, ensuring the Olympics is always top of mind for him. He is currently attending high school at Falkonergården in Copenhagen.
Name: Joel Ibler Lillesø
Sport: Athletics (1500m, 3000m og 5000m)
Club: Bagsværd Atletik Club
The past year has been packed with experiences for Bjørk Nørremark. After a fifth-place finish in the long jump at her first international championship at senior level in June, Bjørk made her debut at the Paralympics in Tokyo in August and was chosen as the Danish flag bearer at the closing ceremony.
The European Championship result, in particular, proves that Bjørk is one of the great talents in Danish para-athletics. After a long injury period, she achieved an impressive personal best with a jump of 5.26m, which at the same time was only two centimetres from a bronze medal at the European titles. Bjørk was Denmark's youngest Paralympic athlete in Tokyo. Unfortunately, she did not get the result she had hoped for, ending up 11th and not performing her best. However, the 19-year-old has quickly turned her attention to Paris 2024, where the goal is to qualify directly, which requires a place in the top four at the World Championships or a top-six global ranking.
Bjørk is an excellent ambassador for parasports and a fantastic role model for children and young people with a disability. She is not afraid to stand up and speak her opinion – including to the media. Next summer, Bjørk will graduate from the high school Falkonergården in Copenhagen. She and her twin sister, Carla, share a passion for drawing and other creative activities. The two have their own company, Some Other Waves, where they sell art prints and tote bags carrying their own designs.
Name: Bjørk Nørremark
Sport: Para-athletics (long jump)
Club: Hvidovre Atletik & Motion
Lærke Marie Olsen
As the first Danish woman ever to compete in judo at the Olympic Games, Lærke is literally a trailblazing athlete. Lærke made her Olympic debut in July, competing strongly but without success against the eventual bronze medal winner in the first round. The 23-year-old judoka is also the first Dane to win a world championships medal after she claimed silver at the U21 World Championships in 2018.
Lærke is originally from northern Zealand but moved to Copenhagen to improve her training options, while also studying at Copenhagen Business School. This is a young woman who is goal-orientated, disciplined and focused. Lærke’s success is even more impressive, as she has been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which has been a challenge in the world of elite sport where there are circumstances, changes and conditions she cannot control. Lærke has, however, found a way to use judo constructively to manage her OCD. She is someone that many young people in the world of Danish judo look up to. Lærke is humble and grateful for what sport has given her and she is happy to give back to the younger generations.
Throughout her years as a junior judoka, Lærke has won a number of international medals and is already showing that she can transfer that talent to senior level with strong results at Grand Prix and Grand Slam tournaments. When she competed in Tokyo earlier this year, Lærke became the first Dane at the Olympics in 33 years and she is ready to chase that dream again in Paris.
Name: Lærke Marie Olsen
Club: Gladsaxe Judoklub