译言: 美国,一个拥有3亿人口的国家,在今年的冬奥会上获得了9枚金牌,而挪威,一个只有470万人口的国家,也赢得了9枚金牌。这没有什么好奇怪的。历年来,挪威在冬奥会上获得的金牌和奖牌总数比其他任何国家都要多。

There must be many reasons for Norway’s excellence, but some of them are probably embedded in the story of Jan Baalsrud.

挪威在冬奥会上成绩是如此杰出必然事出有因,但是从强•巴尔斯路德(Jan Baalsrud)故事中我们或许能了解些许。

In 1943, Baalsrud was a young instrument maker who was asked to sneak back into Norway to help the anti-Nazi resistance.

1943年,巴尔斯路德还是名年轻的仪器制造员(instrument maker),有人要求他秘密潜回挪威来援助那里的反法西斯斗争。

His mission, described in the book “We Die Alone” by David Howarth, was betrayed. His boat was shelled by German troops. Baalsrud dove into the ice-covered waters and swam, with bullets flying around him, toward an island off the Norwegian coast. The rest of his party was killed on the spot, or captured and eventually executed, but Baalsrud made it to the beach and started climbing an icy mountain. He was chased by Nazis, and he killed one officer.

像大卫•豪沃思(David Howarth)的著作《我们孤独终老(We Die Alone)》中描述的那样,他的任务被告发了。巴尔斯路德乘坐的小船遭到德军的炮击,于是他跳进了冰封的水中,在德军的枪林弹雨中朝着挪威海岸线外的一个小岛游去。他的其他战友或者当场死亡,或者被捕后遭枪决,但是巴尔斯路德成功游到了小岛的海滩上,接着开始攀越冰山。他被纳粹追赶,而且他杀了一名军官。

He was hunted by about 50 Germans and left a trail in the deep snow. He’d lost one boot and sock, and he was bleeding from where his big toe had been shot off. He scrambled across the island and swam successively across the icy sound to two other islands. On the second, he lay dying of cold and exhaustion on the beach.


Two girls found and led him to their home. And this is the core of the story. During the next months, dozens of Norwegians helped Baalsrud get across to Sweden. Flouting any sense of rational cost-benefit analysis, families and whole villages risked their lives to help one gravely ill man, who happened to drop into their midst.


Baalsrud was clothed and fed and rowed to another island. He showed up at other houses and was taken in. He began walking across the mountain ranges on that island in the general direction of the mainland, hikes of 24, 13 and 28 hours without break.


A 72-year-old man rowed him the final 10 miles to the mainland, past German positions, and gave him skis. Up in the mountains, he skied through severe winter storms. One night, he started an avalanche. He fell at least 300 feet, smashed his skis and suffered a severe concussion. His body was buried in snow, but his head was sticking out. He lost sense of time and self-possession. He was blind, the snow having scorched the retinas of his eyes.


He wandered aimlessly for four days, plagued by hallucinations. At one point he thought he had found a trail, but he was only following his own footsteps in a small circle.


Finally, he stumbled upon a cottage. A man named Marius Gronvold took him in. He treated Baalsrud’s frostbite and hid him in a remote shed across a lake to recover.

终于有天,他偶然发现了一所小房子,一个叫马里厄斯•格伦沃尔德(Marius Gronvold)的人把他让进了屋内。格伦沃尔德精心治疗他的冻伤,并把他掩藏到湖对岸的一处偏僻的棚屋里养伤。

He was alone for a week (a storm made it impossible for anyone to reach him). Gangrene invaded his legs. He stabbed them to drain the pus and blood. His eyesight recovered, but the pain was excruciating and he was starving.


Baalsrud could no longer walk, so Gronvold and friends built a sled. They carried the sled and him up a 3,000-foot mountain in the middle of a winter storm and across a frozen plateau to where another party was supposed to meet them. The other men weren’t there, and Gronvold was compelled to leave Baalsrud in a hole in the ice under a boulder.


The other party missed the rendezvous because of a blizzard, and by the time they got there, days later, the tracks were covered and they could find no sign of him. A week later, Gronvold went up to retrieve Baalsrud’s body and was astonished to find him barely alive. Baalsrud spent the next 20 days in a sleeping bag immobilized in the snow, sporadically supplied by Gronvold and others.


Over the next weeks, groups of men tried to drag him to Sweden but were driven back, and they had to shelter him again in holes in the ice. Baalsrud cut off his remaining toes with a penknife to save his feet. Tired of risking more Norwegian lives, he also attempted suicide.


Finally, he was awoken by the sound of snorting reindeer. A group of Laps had arrived, and under German fire, they dragged him to Sweden.


This astonishing story could only take place in a country where people are skilled on skis and in winter conditions. But there also is an interesting form of social capital on display. It’s a mixture of softness and hardness. Baalsrud was kept alive thanks to a serial outpouring of love and nurturing. At the same time, he and his rescuers displayed an unbelievable level of hardheaded toughness and resilience. That’s a cultural cocktail bound to produce achievement in many spheres.

这种让人惊心动魄的故事也就只能发生在善于使用滑雪板和适应严冬环境的国度,但是它也表现了社会品质(social capital)的一种有趣形式,其中掺杂了柔弱和刚强。巴尔斯路德能活下来,是归功于人们对他源源不断的关爱和照顾。同时,他和他的拯救者们表现出一种难以置信却又冷静的坚忍不拔。这种文化的混合体必然能在许多领域产生巨大成就。