Else-Marthe Sørlie Lybekk

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Else-Marthe Sørlie Lybekk
Portrait else-marthe-sorlie-lybekk 1.jpg
Personal information
Born (1978-09-11) 11 September 1978 (age 38)
Gjøvik, Norway
Nationality Norwegian
Height 1.78 m
Playing position Line player
Club information
Current club Nordstrand IF
Number 30
Senior clubs
Years Team
Snertingdal IF
Toten HK
Nordstrand IF
HC Leipzig
Nordstrand IF
National team 1
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–2008 Norway 215 (598)
1 National team caps and goals correct
as of 5 April 2010

Else-Marthe Sørlie Lybekk (née Sørlie, born 11 September 1978 in Gjøvik) is a retired Norwegian team handball player, world champion from 1999, gold medalist from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and bronze medalist from the 2000 Olympics.[1] She is also a triple European champion with the Norwegian national team, which she previously captained prior to the reign of fellow Gjøvik handballer Gro Hammerseng. She is the only player on the Norwegian team that received all the first five gold medals that the national team won up to the 2008 Olympics. Ending her career for Nordstrand in her second spell, she has previously played for Leipzig, Nordstrand, Snertingdal and Toten.

International career[edit]

2 November 1997, Sørlie Lybekk debuted in a friendly against Germany, marking the beginning of a long career for the Norwergian side. She participated in consecutive international championships from her debut in the 1998 European Championships until the 2008 Olympics, except for the 2004 European Championships where she was dropped after having suffered injuries preventing her from a necessary build-up, and the World Championships the following year. At the 2004 European championship she was not included in the main team, but was listed as home reserve. When Isabel Blanco injured her thumb during the championship, Sørlie Lybekk was called to join the team, and received a gold medal from the championship without playing.[2][3][4][5] Before the 2000 Olympics, she was named vice-captain for Kjersti Grini, and when Grini withdrew from the 2000 European Championships she captained her national team at the age of 22 at a difficult moment when many experienced players had recently retired. She remained in this position until the 2003 World Championship where Gro Hammerseng took over the captaincy. The tournament was disappointing for both the squad and Sørlie Lybekk, as they finished 6th in the tournament keeping them out of the Olympic tournament the following year.

The first highpoint in her international career is the victory in the 1999 World Championships held on home turf (alongside Denmark) where she was contributing to her nation's win mostly in the defensive side of the game. In the epic final against France her unforgiving defensive work cost her three two-minute suspensions meaning a red card, meaning she had to see her compatriots win the extra time playoffs from the bench. It was the first World Championship won by her country, a natural highpoint, but since the Olympic tournaments carry higher status in the sport, the win from the 2008 Olympics was an even higher point.[6][7] In the tournament Sørlie Lybekk, now 29, contributed with her international experience and calm, in both ends of the pitch. Norway went undefeated through the tournament, and scoring 7 goals in the final against Russia as well as making a profound impression throughout the tournament, she was selected into the All Star Team of the tournament (as pivot/line player).[8] The success sparked speculation that she would retire from international duty when she was on top of her long career.

Playing style[edit]

As a line player, Sørlie Lybekk is known for secure finishing when she dispatches from the 6-meter line, often after relentless fighting for positions in the most crowded area of the defense. Being a player used in both defense and attack, she applies the same hard-working style in defending her own goal. The playing style is efficient, but not as spectacular as other notable players in her generation of Norwegian handballers.


  1. ^ "2000 Summer Olympics – Sydney, Australia – Handball" Archived 2008-04-07 at the Wayback Machine. databaseOlympics.com (Retrieved on February 3, 2008)
  2. ^ Sørlie Lybekk vraketVG-nett (15.11.04)(in Norwegian) (Retrieved on August 25, 2008)
  3. ^ Vraket seg selvVG-nett (16.11.04)(in Norwegian) (Retrieved on August 25, 2008)
  4. ^ Sørlie Lybekk til EM Archived 2004-12-27 at the Wayback Machine. – NRKsport (16.12.04)(in Norwegian) (Retrieved on August 25, 2008)
  5. ^ - Jeg er klar, Marit! – Men Sørlie Lybekk er spent på mottakelsenVG-nett (16.12.04)(in Norwegian) (Retrieved on August 25, 2008)
  6. ^ "- Olympic Gold for Norway - crushed Russia 34-27". Norway Post. 23 August 2008. Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  7. ^ "- Women's Gold Medal Match - Match 42 / Norway vs Russian Fed.". Beijing 2008. 23 August 2008. Archived from the original on 26 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  8. ^ All-star team of the women's olympic tournament established Archived 2009-02-01 at the Wayback Machine. – International Handball Federation (Retrieved on August 24, 2008)

External links[edit]