Henrik Larsen finds success far away from home


Freshman Henrik Larsen adjusts his scope on Saturday, February 17, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 4705 to 4653. Photo by Edward Justice | Staff

Keyera Jackson

Rifling may not be the first sport fans think of when UK sports are being discussed, but the small team has big numbers for UK.

Freshman Henrik Larsen has finished in first place in every event he’s competed in this season and holds the highest aggregate average (1188.8) and smallbore average (592.25) scores in the country. He ranks fourth among collegians in air rifle average score at 596.58.

“I expect high results for myself because I work hard and I know I can do it. I always want to do better and that’s the only way to increase your scores and get better,” Larsen said.

Larsen’s success did not start at UK, as he has been shooting since a very young age.

“My whole family on my father’s side has been shooters, and I was going hunting from when I was five so I grew up shooting,” Larsen said.

Larsen is far from home, which is a small town consisting of 5,000 people in Norway. The connection of people and his beliefs of rifling is how Larsen found his home at UK.

“I came from a different type of philosophy. Here, the focus is on mind and the mental aspect of the shooting, how to concentrate on stuff. But back home, it is just about focusing on the technique and doing the same things over and over again,” Larsen said.

Since coming to UK, Larsen has finished as the top individual in every match he competed in during the regular season. Not only does Larsen compete with the UK team but also in international competitions, but his top priority is still to be a student.

“I was hoping I could all shoot and not study at all but that’s not how it works,” Larsen said.

Larsen’s success is obvious for anyone to see, but what fans do not see is the training that goes on and the hours spent preparing for every match.

“A regular week I have training and workouts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And for us shooters, we are standing still and lifting a 12-pound weight. We can stand there for about 2-3 hours and we have to be very strong in our core muscles to keep the rifle steady, and also endurance to stay focused on a tiny target,” Larsen said.

Of course the way to win a match is to have the highest score, but Larsen has his own philosophy when he enters a match.

“I don’t think about the scores, of course I want to shoot high scores and I know it’s possible,” Larsen said. “I’m putting down a lot of work in the range and it’s probably around 20 hours a week.”

Larsen may have started the sport at a very young age, but he continues to train and compete because of his own internal motivation.

“That feeling when you are standing on top of the podium and you are hearing the national anthem, that’s what drives me. It’s an amazing feeling and I cannot describe it,” Larsen said.