Iceland moves to curb heavy pension fund influence over local companies

first_imgIceland’s pension funds should be forced to be more transparent over how they manage their ownership stakes in the country’s businesses, according to a working group appointed by the country’s government.The task force – chaired by Gunnar Baldvinsson, chief executive of the Almenni Pension Fund – has published a report recommending a series of measures to address the economic and competitive risks resulting from pension funds’ now wide-scale ownership of domestic companies.Iceland’s pension fund assets amount to around 150% of the country’s GDP — making its pension system one of the largest in the world relative to the size of its economy. Since the severe financial and economic crisis which hit the country in 2008, Iceland’s pension funds have increased their ownership of businesses in various sectors of the economy. This was partly due to the collapse of major banks but also because of foreign capital controls imposed by the government. The controls were only fully lifted last year, and had forced pension funds to invest their comparatively large asset bases domestically. Baldvinsson’s group has advised that pension funds should increase their target allocations to foreign assets in their long-term investment policies in order to reduce risk.Funds should also be required to establish policies outlining their roles as owners of enterprises, the group said.It went on to recommend that pension funds be obliged to publish a report at least once a year with information about their communication with companies in which they invest, including information on how they vote at shareholder meetings.The group also urged the government to consult on allowing a portion of an individual’s pension contributions to be allocated to housing savings.Baldvinnson told IPE the working group did not consider it necessary to propose any changes to Iceland’s Companies Act, but “rules should be imposed that require pension funds to establish a formal strategy about ownership policy”.Such a strategy should include articles about corporate governance for pension funds as shareholders; articles about competition issues and what pension funds intend to do to ensure competition in the market; and articles on communication with companies and participation in decisions at shareholders’ meetings, he said.Last June, Iceland’s then prime minister Bjarni Benediktsson appointed the working group, in consultation with the Council of Ministers for Economic Affairs, to examine the role of pension funds in the structure of the economy.Apart from examining the economic and competitive risks in pension funds’ high level of corporate ownership, the group was to say whether rules should be put in place or legislative changes made to corporate ownership and the involvement of pension funds in the management of commercial enterprises in order to reduce the funds’ stakes and ensure market competition.last_img read more

Fancy a Noosa beach house? That’ll be $14m, thanks

first_imgInside the property at 2 Belmore Tce, Sunshine Beach.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours ago“They flew up, loved what they saw and signed an unconditional contract on the spot,” Mr Offermann said.The pristine, white house has five bedrooms and six bathrooms and is on a 1258 sqm double lot with 41m of ocean frontage and a 23m pool.Records show the property was owned by Susan Wade, who bought one of the lots for $2.4 million in 2002.She then acquired the lot next door and built the current house on both of them. This property at 2 Belmore Tce, Sunshine Beach, has sold for $14m.A NOOSA beach house has sold for $14 million to an interstate buyer before it even had a chance to hit the open market.The sale of the luxurious, oceanfront property at 2 Belmore Tce, Sunshine Beach, marks the third highest sale in the region.Earlier this year, the home of tennis great Pat Rafter in Seaview Tce, Sunshine Beach, sold for $15.2 million to the founder of Betty’s Burgers. “Some people assume if the Sydney and Melbourne markets are going down that the Noosa market will follow, but we’re a regional market,” he said. The view from the property at 2 Belmore Tce, Sunshine Beach.Mr Offermann said he would soon be announcing another $10 million-plus sale in Noosa Heads, topping off a big few months of sales.He said the agency’s sales for the September quarter were up 58 per cent on the same period last year, inquiry levels were showing no signs of slowing and listings remained tight. “There seems to be a lot of people that just want to get out of Melbourne and Sydney for lifestyle reasons, traffic, frustrations, security concerns,” he said. “Most people that buy here already know friends or relatives that own property or live here.“They’re being introduced to the region by a holiday or an experience up here and going back to busy lifestyles and saying; ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the Noosa lifestyle everyday?’” The ocean view from the property at 2 Belmore Tce, Sunshine Beach. This property at 2 Belmore Tce, Sunshine Beach, has sold for $14m.That was soon followed by the sale of a property in nearby Webb Road, which set a new record for the region of $18 million.Tom Offermann Real Estate principal Tom Offermann, who negotiated the sale of all three properties, said it reflected the appeal and confidence in the Noosa property market, despite uncertainty around lending restrictions and cooling southern markets.Mr Offermann said he and his colleague, Nic Hunter, were still putting the finishing touches on the marketing material for 2 Belmore Terrace when they invited an interstate buyer on their books to have a preview inspection. This property at 2 Belmore Tce, Sunshine Beach, has sold for $14m.Mr Offermann said the housing downturn impacting the Sydney and Melbourne markets was not spreading to the Noosa region.last_img read more

Reno reveal: Brisbane CBD penthouse goes from drab to fab after luxurious makeover

first_img Total spend: $500,000 The living room of the penthouse at 108/540 Queen St, Brisbane CBD, after the renovation.BEFORE: The bathroom in the penthouse before the renovation.AFTER: The bathroom looks completely different after the renovation.AFTER: Another angle of the bathroom.Every corner of the property at 108/540 Queen Street has been modernised and now oozes luxury and comfort.But despite this being Mr Russell’s third renovation, it was more challenging than he expected.“Renovating an apartment is a different ball game to renovating a house,” Mr Russell said.“From an access perspective, getting things up and down in a lift, carting materials, there was a lot of very hard work.“And it’s definitely more challenging with two children!”BEFORE: The living room in the penthouse before the renovation.AFTER: The living room after the renovation.Mr Russell bought the 576 sqm apartment in 2017 and said it was still in its original form, but he saw that it was well built, spacious and a whole floor apartment appealed to him.“It was actually bigger than the house we moved out of,” he said. “We always thought there was an opportunity to modernise it … and also change a little bit of the floor space.”Structural changes included making the kitchen bigger and incorporating more storage in it, and building in a sitting room outside the master bedroom so that it could be used as a media room or a fifth bedroom.BEFORE: One of the bedrooms in the penthouse before the renovation.AFTER: The bedroom after the renovation.The flooring and carpets were ripped up and replaced, the bathrooms re-tiled and every room repainted.“We lived in it for the first couple of years, but we decided to move out when the flooring and tiling had to be done, which was probably not something we anticipated doing because of the expense, but we wanted to get it done and thought it would be too difficult living through a renovation with two young kids,” Mr Russell said.He chose a rich palette of dark colours and soft creams to create the mood of the apartment.“We just didn’t want the plain, boring white-on-white kitchen, and there’s so much light in the apartment so that gave us the ability to go dark,” Mr Russell said.“The biggest thing with the kitchen was integrating the fridge and freezer — it really made the kitchen stand out and look much bigger and more workable.”BEFORE: The kitchen in the penthouse before the renovation.AFTER: The kitchen is unrecognisable..The kitchen, by Kobble Cabinets & Joinery, has been kitted out with the finest appliances, including an integrated Miele dishwasher/fridge/freezer, a Zip instantaneous hot/cold/sparkling water tap, an induction cooktop and dual ovens.Gold tap fittings and cupboard handles stand out against the sleek, black cabinetry and herringbone floors.The master suite is its own private retreat, with river views, an ensuite with double vanity and bath, and large walk-in wardrobe. There are three more bedrooms — two with ensuites.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus9 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market9 hours agoThe bathrooms were all completely refitted and re-tiled by Mastercraft tiling.Every living space and bedroom has direct access to the 360-degree wraparound, outdoor terrace.BEFORE: A living area of the penthouse before the renovation.AFTER: A living area of the penthouse after the renovation.AFTER: A sitting area in the penthouse after the renovation.Mr Russell said another upside of the apartment was the vantage point it offered for Riverfire and its proximity to the Howard Smith Wharves dining precinct.“We did walk down there pretty often and utilise that space,” he said.“I think its a very unique apartment. We’ve lived in the city for a number of years in apartments and had never seen anything of this size.”The property also comes with three secure car spaces plus a large lock-up storage area with power, an alarm system and access to a pool, sauna and gym facilities.It’s for sale now with Drew Davies of Place Ascot, with best offers due by June 12. RENO FACT CHECKcenter_img Time taken: 6-8 monthslast_img read more

Paramedics renovate their Kedron home with an eye for safety

first_img Bars on the original windows of the Queenslander at 11 Emerald St, Kedron were also removed to allow for an easy escape in an emergency. BEFORE The windows used to have fixed bars across them. AFTER The bars are gone and a fresh coat of paint lightens the room.And the couple had all the smoke alarms hardwired into the main power supply before it became compulsory on all new builds and renovations in 2017.With a young daughter at the time, the inground pool was also adapted to include a ledge around two sides.“Probably the paramedic hat came out,” she said. “We wanted the ledge so the children can stand there and still have their heads out of the water.”Other design features were insisted upon for personal reasons, like the Japanese toilet sink which has a wash basin built above the cistern so you can wash your hands with the water that then goes down to fill the cistern for the next flush. A Japanese-style toilet with a sink above the cistern.The front door and the front french doors downstairs were recycled from a local house. “The builder wasn’t happy, it’s harder to use misshaped doors.” AFTER The new downstairs living area with its recycled front door.And where the couple couldn’t decide on a design feature, a compromise of sorts was made, and the master bedroom ensuite is a case in point. AFTER The master bedroom ensuite.“My husband wanted the rain shower and I wanted a hand shower,” Ms Mander said of the shower that now has twin rain showerheads and a separate handheld shower.“It’s a bit of overkill but we wanted it to be our house.”The couple moved from Cairns to Brisbane to look after family and bought a two-bedroom cottage with two-street access on 384sq m in 2014.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa7 hours agoParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus8 hours ago BEFORE 11 Emerald St, Kedron from the front which faces Leckie Rd.They had plans drawn up to turn the property into a four-bedroom house with bedrooms and a living area in the original upstairs Queenslander and the main living area with a master bedroom on the new ground floor. AFTER 11 Emerald St, Kedron as it looks today from Leckie Rd.“We got three building quotes and there was probably $60,000-$70,000 between the quotes and we went with one in the middle range,” Ms Mander said. BEFORE The renovations also included building a tandem carport and garage which faces Emerald St.“The things that were frustrating were all the hidden costs, like the design fees, permits, soil testing, the disconnection of electricity. All these things add up.”The project, which began in March 2015, ran over budget after an initial estimate of $250,000 for the building work and $24,000 for the pool.“We had an overrun, the electrical work ended up being twice as much as what we thought, then there was landscaping, tree cutting. It probably hit around $350,000, but we wanted it to be as good as we could get. We were planning on living there forever.” AFTER The outdoor entertaining area at 11 Emerald St, Kedron.But four years ago, the couple transferred to Longreach in central Queensland and have been renting out their renovated Kedron home ahead of putting it on the market this year.The property is for sale through Robbie Lofaro of Harcourts Connections, with offers over $895,000 invited. Giant skate bowl home sells for millions This home at 11 Emerald St, Kedron is for sale for offers over $895,000 after a $350,000 renovation. LESSONS learned from years working as paramedics has informed the renovation of Kym Mander and Gavin Farry’s Kedron home. AFTER This Kedron property can be accessed from Emerald Street and Leckie Road.“Being paramedics, we wanted toilet doors that open outward,” Ms Mander said. BEFORE The toilet is getting ready for its makeover. AFTER The finished work with an outward opening door and its Japanese-style toilet sink.“Our builder wasn’t happy with that, but that wasn’t negotiable. Imagine if you collapse in the toilet how hard it is to get the door open when it opens inward.” Instant property mogul: 10 homes for just over $3 millioncenter_img MORE PROPERTY STORIES FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOKlast_img read more

Winter Storm Warning and Wind Chill Warning For WRBI Area

first_imgThe Winter Storm Warning for The WRBI Listening Area will be in effect Sunday (1-5) at 5 AM and extended to Monday (1-6) at 4 PM.A Wind Chill Warning is now in effect for The WRBI Listening Area Monday (1-6) at 4 AM through Tuesday (1-7) at 5 PM.Further details from www.noaa.gov* HAZARD TYPES…SNOW SUNDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHT FOLLOWED BY EXTREMELY COLD WIND CHILL READINGS MONDAY INTO TUESDAY.* ACCUMULATIONS…SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 4 TO 8 INCHES IS EXPECTED.* TIMING…SNOW WILL DEVELOP SUNDAY MORNING…WITH A BRIEF PERIOD OF FREEZING RAIN ALSO POSSIBLE. THE SNOW WILL MIX WITH RAIN AT TIMES ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON. THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL OCCUR SUNDAY LATE AFTERNOON THROUGH EVENING. SNOW WILL TAPER OFF AFTER MIDNIGHT…BUT WINDS AND RAPIDLY FALLING TEMPERATURES WILL LEAD TO HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS THROUGH EARLY MONDAY MORNING. ARCTIC AIR WILL SPREAD INTO THE REGION FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY.* IMPACTS…HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED DUE TO REDUCED VISIBILITIES AND SNOW ACCUMULATIONS. THE FRIGID CONDITIONS WILL BE DANGEROUS TO THOSE VENTURING OUTSIDE. PROLONGED EXPOSURE MAY CAUSE FROSTBITE.* WINDS…WINDS FROM MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY WILL BE WESTERLY AT 10 TO 20 MPH…WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH.* TEMPERATURES…TEMPERATURES WILL DROP BELOW ZERO ON MONDAY…REACHING VALUES OF 10 TO 20 BELOW ZERO ON MONDAY NIGHT. TEMPERATURES ON TUESDAY WILL BE NEAR ZERO TO 10 BELOW ZERO.* WIND CHILL READINGS…WIND CHILLS WILL BE BETWEEN 5 AND 15 BELOW ZERO ON MONDAY MORNING…FALLING TO 30 TO 40 BELOW ZERO FROM MONDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON.PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…REMEMBER…A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVEREWINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANTAMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLYTRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…KEEP AN EXTRAFLASHLIGHT…FOOD…AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF ANEMERGENCY.A WIND CHILL WARNING MEANS THE COMBINATION OF VERY COLD AIR ANDSTRONG WINDS WILL CREATE DANGEROUSLY LOW WIND CHILL VALUES. THISWILL RESULT IN FROST BITE AND LEAD TO HYPOTHERMIA OR DEATH IFPRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN.last_img read more

UEFA dole out €236.5m to FAs

first_imgRelatedPosts UEFA changes venue of Player of the Season award ceremony, Champions League draw UEFA returning N259bn to broadcasters due to COVID-19 European Super Cup: UEFA in talks with Hungary following border closure European federation UEFA has released €236.5 million to help its 55 member associations meet the challenges raised by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.UEFA’s HatTrick funding is usually distributed to the national associations to cover running costs and to help develop mutually-agreed specific areas of domestic football. However, the executive committee has decided to allow each association to gauge its own priorities.President Aleksander Čeferin said: “Our sport is facing an unprecedented challenge. UEFA wants to help its members to respond in ways that are appropriate to their specific circumstances.“As a result, we have agreed that up to €4.3m per association, paid for the remainder of this season and next, as well as part of the investment funding, can be used as our members see fit to rebuild the football community.“Football will be at the heart of life returning to normal. When that time comes, football must be ready to answer that call.”Tags: Aleksander CeferinUEFAUEFA’s HatTricklast_img read more

Schmidt backs Henry to return

first_imgJoe Schmidt has backed Chris Henry to make a full recovery from his brain injury, and maybe even stake a claim for Ireland action in the Six Nations. Press Association Ulster flanker Henry suffered “a temporary blockage of a small blood vessel in his brain” on the morning of Ireland’s clash with South Africa on November 8. The 30-year-old is recuperating at home while still awaiting further tests to determine his exact situation, but may have suffered a mini-stroke. “Chris Henry suffered some weakness on the morning of the South Africa game and a viral illness was suspected, he recovered quickly and the initial diagnosis was of severe migraine,” read the IRFU statement. “Further tests however have shown he suffered a temporary blockage of a small blood vessel in his brain. “He is at home now and is well but needs further investigation and specialist opinion.” Doubts have been raised about his ability to return to rugby, but Ireland head coach Schmidt said he is “quietly confident” Henry will be back for club and country. “I really feel for Chris: this time last year he got injured at this point and missed the two big southern hemisphere teams we played,” said Schmidt. “The fact that he’s got some more tests to come, I wouldn’t really like to comment. “But I’d be quietly confident that Chris will come through the other side. “I’d be very hopeful that he gets his boots back on; and there may even be time for him to do that before the Six Nations. “The specialists will let us know a bit more once those tests have come through.” Ireland medics initially diagnosed a virus on the morning of the Springboks clash before suspecting a severe migraine, but specialists have since determined a more unusual condition. Henry now “needs further investigation and specialist opinion,” according to an Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) statement released on Monday. last_img read more

Cricket News Indian Players set to miss THIS forthcoming big event : Sources

first_imghighlights India and Windies are unlikely to participate in The Hundred. BCCI will come up with the final verdict tomorrow on World Cup. As per schedule, India will play against Pakistan on June 16 at Old Trafford, Manchester.  Indian players have actively participated in English county cricket including skipper Virat Kohli, who missed out on playing for Surrey last year due to injury.However, the BCCI doesn’t allow its players to participate in overseas T20 leagues and they remain exclusive to the IPL.The Hundred is also likely to clash with the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and several of West Indies’ international fixtures. The West Indies are hosting New Zealand for an ODI and T20 series in July and T20s against South Africa a few weeks later.”The Hundred won’t necessarily clash with the CPL. We have ongoing discussions with the CPL and will work together on that. But we do have to make sure the Blast fits in the right way leading into The Hundred and that our Test summer is scheduled correctly,” Harrison said.Meanwhile, it is not certain whether India will be participating in the forthcoming World cup in England. However, the final verdict will be out tomorrow as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still having a final word with its’neighboring nations. This remains to be seen if the International Cricket Council (ICC) backs India’s decision. (With Inputs) New Delhi: Players from India and the West Indies are unlikely to feature in The Hundred, England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) new 100-ball cricket format, its chief executive officer Tom Harrison said on Friday. The Hundred, which is slated to be launched in July-August 2020, will see eight-teams vying for the top honours.The contest would consist of 100 balls per innings with a change of ends after every 10 deliveries. Bowlers can deliver either five or 10 consecutive balls, with each bowler allowed a maximum of 20 deliveries per game.”I can’t commit to the involvement of India players. It’s a political conversation as much as anything,” Harrison was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.”It’s a difficult conversation. It’s not just the ECB and The Hundred that will be keen to get Indian players involved. Clearly, that’s a wider discussion,” he said. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Syracuse men’s basketball could have a versatile duo at point guard

first_img Published on November 14, 2016 at 2:19 am Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds While Boeheim said he doesn’t think he’ll use Howard and Gillon together all that much, both players cited the benefits of it. Howard said it would be useful against teams that press a lot like North Carolina and Louisville since having two players on the court that usually handle the ball could negate the opposing defense.“Playing with (Howard) makes the game easier on me because normally I have to do more things when it comes to making a play,” Gillon said on Friday. “But when I have somebody on the other end who can shoot, which he showed tonight, and that can handle the ball, it really gives me an outlet because you can drive and it spaces the floor as well at the same time.”Whether Howard and Gillon get more minutes together remains to be seen, but on Friday night, Boeheim said, “I thought they really played exceptionally well.”What was once perceived as a weakness entering the season has almost immediately transformed into a strength. Comments After eight and a half minutes against Colgate, Howard impressed with six assists and three points. But then came in Gillon, who put up four assists and two points in the next 6:36.“We bring different things to the table,” Howard said. “I get things started then he comes in, switches the pace up. … I think we feed well off each other”During part of last season, Howard had mononucleosis. His weight dropped to around 170 pounds. He struggled taking on defenders in the lane and he resorted to passing. But after an offseason in which he improved his jump shot and bulked up to 205 pounds, Howard is better suited to fully embrace the point guard role.Gillon’s instinct on the court is to find a way to the rim. While growing up, his father had him play football to try and make him tougher. Over the years, he’s improved his jump shot and grown more well-rounded as a point guard, averaging 3.8 assists per game last year at Colorado State and shooting 33.3 percent on 3-pointers.“He’s more like me at the same time. I’m just a little taller. He can facilitate, he can score,” Howard said. “… I can come in, keep the pace, get guys involved and he can do the same thing. I think we’re kind of a reflection of each other, just a little different.” For a minute and 38 seconds on Friday night, Syracuse flashed all of its potential at point guard. As head coach Jim Boeheim hinted earlier in the week, Frank Howard and John Gillon took the Carrier Dome floor at the same time.On the Orange’s second possession with the lineup, Gillon found Howard drifting into open space on the right wing and delivered him the ball. Howard sunk his second 3 of the season opener, topping his total from all of last year.On SU’s next possession, Howard penetrated, drawing the defense in and he found Gillon at the top of the key. Gillon knocked down the 3 and held one finger up in the air to celebrate.Howard and Gillon played together for a total of 4 minutes, 9 seconds in No. 19 Syracuse’s (1-0) season-opening win on Friday. Aside from playing together, something Boeheim said likely won’t happen much in the future, the two players’ skill sets provide a weapon at point guard that Syracuse has rarely had in recent memory. Against Colgate, they combined for 24 points and 15 assists.“It’s important for those guys to play well. It helps everybody,” Boeheim said. “… That’s a lot of assists out of one position and they scored as well.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe 6-foot-5 Howard has improved his shooting in the offseason and prides himself on being able to control the game from the point. He said he was affected by Boeheim telling him not to shoot much and often worried that if he shot, he’d be subbed out.Gillon, listed at just 6 feet, has a propensity to use his quickness to get to the rim. His speed also helps Syracuse in the full-court press, which Boeheim used while he was in the game on Friday.MORE COVERAGE: Tyler Lydon works through struggles after two-point performanceOshae Brissett becomes first member in SU’s 2017 classWhat we learned from SU’s win over Colgate Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Mikaelsen thriving at Wisconsin

first_imgIt is a difficult transition for any college student to move away from home and settle into a new place. The shift to a university means adjusting to a new home, new friends and a new lifestyle – this can be daunting to even the most well-equipped high school graduates.Now imagine experiencing this life-altering transition when your home is more than 4,000 miles away from campus, English is a new language and the sport you were recruited to play is not even your primary sport.Welcome to Julie Mikaelsen’s freshman year.Mikaelsen, a 6-foot-3 junior from Askim, Norway, did not even get her start in volleyball until she was 17. Growing up in Norway, her sport of choice was team handball.However, the head coach of the Norwegian Women’s National Volleyball Team, Mikaelsen’s father’s colleague, had other thoughts on her athletic direction.“‘You’re ruining your life playing team handball, you need to start playing volleyball!’” Mikaelsen imitated.After an initial rejection to the new sport, Mikaelsen joined the women’s national team with only a month’s experience with volleyball.She picked up the sport quickly, as she was named captain of the U19 national team in 2008. In that same year, she was named outstanding hitter of the Nordic Championships. “I realized volleyball is really fun, because when I played it at home, I didn’t think it was that fun,” Mikaelsen said.After realizing her passion for volleyball, she opted to attend Sand Vidaregaande School, a volleyball high school that was an eight-hour drive from Mikaelsen’s home in Askim. Students there lived in dormitory-style housing where studying and playing volleyball took up every free moment.Mikaelsen gained valuable volleyball experience at Sand Vidaregaande. In addition to improving at volleyball, Mikaelsen learned how to live on her own at an early age.Still, despite her familiarity with independent living, nothing could prepare her for her move to the U.S.“It was probably one of the toughest things that I have ever done in my whole entire life,” Mikaelsen said. “Everybody’s speaking English 24/7 and I’m still speaking Norwegian … suddenly everything was in English; that was really hard for me.”Although she spoke some English, it was not her first language growing up in Norway. The language barrier made communication with her teammates on and off the court difficult at first.According to head coach Pete Waite, Mikaelsen had trouble talking to players on the court, as she was tempted to shout instructions in Norwegian during bang-bang plays.Waite has been impressed with Mikaelsen’s transition to an American lifestyle and the English language.“She gradually, bit-by-bit, has gained total control of the language, and if you talk to her now, you don’t know where she’s from,” Waite said. “[She] could be just a Midwest kid.”Senior Bailey Reshel recalled how timid Mikaelsen was when she first joined the team. Reshel said it took Mikaelsen about a year to become comfortable with her new team and her new language.As a junior, Mikaelsen is one of the most vocal players on the team. “She thinks we’re all really, really loud people,” Reshel said. “You’ll hear her say, ‘I’m going to be an American today.’”Since arriving in Madison, Mikaelsen has improved significantly in her performance on the court as well as the English language. She has become a more consistent force on the front line, averaging 2.60 kills per set at a .302 hitting percentage, good for second best on the team. Mikaelsen was also named MVP of the InnTowner Invitational Tournament earlier this month. Part of her improvement has come from her training with Norwegian National Team during the past two summers. Waite said Mikaelsen enjoyed a lot of playing time at home as well as being a star player for the team.“She’s getting some good training with the national team, both on the beach and indoors,” Waite said. “She was really pleased [that] every time she goes back home, they notice what a big change she’s made in her confidence and her play.”While Mikaelsen has made huge strides since coming to Madison, she still misses Norway. Specifically, she misses the home-cooking of her parents and grandmother.“I try to make the same [food], but it’s not the same when I make it as when they make it,” Mikaelsen said.Mikaelsen has come a long way from her days playing handball in Norway. She has added English to her repertoire of languages that includes Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, German, Spanish and Portuguese, and has become a potent offensive threat for the Badgers.Just four years after learning volleyball, her goal now is to have an opportunity to play volleyball for her country after graduation.“That’s my dream,” Mikaelsen said. “I want to see if it’s possible for me to play in Europe … After a while, maybe play beach volleyball for the Norwegian National Team. That’s my goal.”last_img read more