Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and his two brothers Henrik and Philip accused their father and former coach Gjert of abusing them on Friday, a charge he denied.
“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.
“We still feel a sense of discomfort and fear that we have felt since childhood,” the Norwegian brothers added.
The siblings were coached by father Gjert until the Covid-delayed Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 after which they ended the partnership.
“We had more or less accepted that. 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,” they said.
“But two years ago, the same aggression and physical punishment happened again. That was the last straw.
“From that moment on, we decided to break with our father. It then became impossible for us to continue working with him as a coach.”
Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, 23, is the most successful and the youngest of the three brothers, with a double world championship title in the 5000m in 2022 and 2023.
His brothers Henrik, 32, and Philip, 30, were European champions in the 1500m in 2012 and 2016.
Their father denied the accusations, assuring the newspaper in a message sent by his lawyer that he had “never resorted to violence” against them.
“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 Norwegian police said they were studying the facts to determine whether there were grounds to open an investigation into the allegations of violence.
After breaking with his sons, Gjert Ingebrigtsen caused a storm in Norwegian athletics by starting to train another runner, Narve Gilja Nordas.
He has been denied accreditation by the Norwegian Athletics Association for the World Indoor Championships next March in Glasgow and for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
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