Tor Arne Hetland (born 12 January 1974) is a professional Norwegian cross-country skier.
|Tor Arne Hetland|
Tor Arne Hetland (right) and Jens Arne Svartedal
Hetland began his career in 1990, but only started competing in the World Cup in 1996/97, where he finished 11th in the long distance standings and 46th in the sprint, finishing 30th in the overall standings. The year after he did much worse, coming 42nd in the long distance, and 78th in the sprint, finishing 62nd overall. For the next three seasons he improved his overall standing and became a main contender in the sprint. In 1998/99 he came 2nd in the sprints, and 23rd in the overall, in 1999/2000 he came 4th in the sprints but had a better long distance season than the one before, and in 2000/01 he came 3rd in the sprints and 12th overall. In 2001/02 he came 13th in the overall standing, whilst finishing the sprint in 6th, and in 2003/04 he came 4th in the sprint, and claimed his first distance points, coming in 37th, and 14th in the overall. The season after, 2004/05 was Hetland's most successful year to date, winning the sprint title, and coming 3rd in the overall standings.
Hetland finished the 2005/06 FIS World Cup season in third place, 259 points behind Tobias Angerer, and 7 points behind fellow countryman Jens Arne Svartedal. He finished third in the sprints, 163 points behind Björn Lind, and 20 points behind Thobias Fredriksson. He was 20th in the distance standings, 632 points behind Angerer.
Hetland has had 23 podium finishes in his World Cup career, 10 in first place, 10 in second place and 3 in third place. He has podiumed at least once every year since 1996/97, except for 1997/98 and 1999/2000. The most podium finishes he has had in one season was in 2004/05 when he had five. He had four in 2005/06 and three for three consecutive seasons from 2000/01. Of his 23 podium finishes all but three have come in sprints. His first non sprint podium was in 1996/97, when he came second in a 50 km race. In 2000/01 he came third in a 15 km race and on 19 November 2005 he won his first distance race (15 km) in Beitostølen, Norway. The victory on this particular course was no great shock as the Beitostølen track is very flat as the tracks on the cross country circuit goes, and when taken into consideration that the Norwegian athletes, much like the larger teams like the Germans, and Russians, are expected to be in near top condition at the beginning of the season so as to secure team selection. His victory in the sprint event in Vernon, Canada on 12 December 2005, was his 100th career race.
Hetland has three World championship gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal. Three of his medals (one gold, silver and bronze) were won in the sprint event, his gold came at Lahti in 2001. His silver came at Oberstdorf in 2005 and his bronze at Val di Fiemme in 2003. In 2001 he won a gold in the 4 x 10 km relay, and his other gold medal came in the team sprint in Oberstdorf, which he won with Tore Ruud Hofstad. He has one gold medal and one silver medal from the Winter Olympics. He won the gold in the individual sprint event in 2002 in Salt Lake City, but did not do as well in Pragelato in the 2006 Winter Olympics, coming 10th in the individual sprint. He won his silver in the team sprint in 2006.
Hetland announced his retirement the week of 27 April 2009 to a lingering knee injury and asthma. He stated that he "...[felt]... like I am quitting like I am top".
Hetland's parents are farmers in Helleland in Eigersund municipality in southwestern Norway.
In August 2004 he married Guri Knotten, his partner of ten years.
He is the only athlete from the county of Rogaland who have won a Winter Olympic Gold Medal.
He speaks Norwegian, English, and German, and enjoys telemark skiing, golf, rock climbing, hiking, football, watching television, and is a certified scuba diver.