- Jakob Ingebrigtsen won the 1500metres gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
- Ingebrigtsen and his two brothers were coached by their father, Gjert
- They claim they were abused by their father but he denies the allegations
Police have launched an investigation into claims that Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and his brothers were abused by their father and former coach.
Ingebrigtsen, the 1500metres gold medallist at Tokyo 2020, and his elder siblings, Henrik and Filip, accused their dad Gjert of ‘physical violence and threats’ in an explosive article for Norway’s VG newspaper last week.
Norwegian authorities have now announced that they have opened a criminal case, although Gjert, who denies the allegations, has not been charged.
‘This was not unexpected and my client is confident of the outcome of such an investigation,’ said the 57-year-old’s lawyer, John Christian Elden.
‘The fact that the police are opening an investigation does not mean that there are reasonable grounds to suspect Ingebrigtsen of anything criminal.
Norwegian police have launched an investigation into claims that Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen (pictured) and his two brothers were abused by their father and former coach
Gjert (left) helped guide his sons to international athletics glory before their split last year
‘It has been impossible for Ingebrigtsen to defend himself against the undocumented claims his sons made in VG. Ingebrigtsen is clear that the allegation of violence is unfounded.
‘Although a police investigation is of course a great burden both for Gjert Ingebrigtsen and the rest of his family in an already difficult time, it is also his only opportunity to be cleared.’
Gjert guided all three of his sons to become European champions before stepping down as their coach last year for medical reasons. However, it later emerged there had been a family rift and the brothers went public about their experience of being coached by their dad last week.
Gjert has denied the allegations and has not been charged despite the police investigation
Writing in VG, they said: ‘We have grown up with a father who has been very aggressive and controlling, and who has used physical violence and threats as part of his upbringing. We still feel discomfort and fear, which has been in us since childhood.
‘Somehow we have accepted this. We have lived with it and in adulthood we have moved on. At least we thought so. In retrospect, we realise that it was naive.
‘But two years ago, the same aggression and physical punishment struck again. It was the drop that made the cup run over.
‘We have known the fear of growing up with a father who is aggressive, controlling and violent. When we were smaller, we were a big group of siblings who were in this together. Now the situation is unbearable.’